Background of the article: I have been working in the Institutes of Hotel Management for more than 34 years and still continuing to work. Whatever observed and felt, I have tried to sum it up in this article which may be referred by others to realise. The observations are solely of mine while working as the teaching member and as a principal in administrative capacity.
The Institutes of hotel Management in India were set up very early and are the oldest professional education institutes. These institutes are primarily skill education dominant. The skill of cooking, baking, serving food and housekeeping should be an integral part of the teachers/professors, as they pass on these skills to the students pursuing the course. In general, there are four core departments and those departments are headed by the professors who are expert in their concerned subject skills. Over the period, the professors/teachers feel possessive and focus only on their department. By this process, an individualistic approach develops within the educational institute which is not ideal for an organisation. The departmental professor become less interested about other departments and their progress. The hotel Management institute prepares a student primarily with all the four core area knowledge and skills to become a future hospitality manager. The primary requirement for all the departments is to work with coordination and with common objectives otherwise the Educational institute fails to produce good trained students.
Purpose of Team building in an educational Institute: The aim of team building is to create a strong unit of employees. It should promotean atmosphere of trust, motivation and clarity among the employees.Further the clear communication among the employees must be ventilated from the top leadership for a fair team building. Team Building is a term generally used frequently in a professional education organisation. The head or the leader in the professional Institute is responsible to lead the organisation towards its academic excellence, financial sustainability and its disciplined growth. But in many IHMs this aspect is found missing. The reasons are plenty for such deviations.
Probable hindrance to Team building-
I have tried to analyse those points and present them.The following points may be a possible disconnect to the ideal team building in IHMs.
• Qualifications of the faculty members and their selection method to IHMs.
Right from the beginning, the selection/recruitment of the teaching members is not ideal. The qualification of the faculty members is so basic that the teacher concentrates only think skill component.Knowledge component upgradation needs lot to desired. The basic qualification of the faculty members must be post-graduation so that the thinking process of the faculty should be innovative and focused towards the institutional goals.
• Absence of up-to-date, regular& adequate Industry exposure for teaching staff
The actual interdepartmental coordination is practiced in the commercial hotels. Unless the faculty works under that circumstances then it would be difficult to practise it in the Hotel Management Institutes. Otherwise it only remains as a self-centred approach for their own department.
• Absence of accountability of the teaching staff for quality education
The accountability of the faculty is never seriously questioned even if a number of students fail in the exams. Also no one questions the faculty if the placement of the students are not good. This sense of mind set makes the faculty carefree in imparting quality education.
• The Heterogeneity of the Hotel management course content
The subjects covered during the 03 years of study in HospitalityManagement is diverse though there are 04 core subjects. The other subsidiary subjects are generally taught by the internal faculty members. Incidentally the internal faculty are less competent to handle such subjects. Sixty percent of the course hours are skill content.
• Inadequate number of the skill faculty in the Institute
Majority of the Hotel management education Institutes have comparatively less number of skilled faculty. In other words, the student teacher ratio is very high. It’s not an ideal situation for professional learning. Further the workload on each faculty member is high, which does not promote quality education.
• Scanty opportunities for faculty future growth
In spite of less number of faculty, the promotional opportunities for the teaching members are very less. Faculty struggle long to get promotion. Sometimes they remain stagnant in the same position for 10 to15 years which is frustrating.
• No scope for innovative academic approach and persisting with obsolete curriculum
Few of the faculty who even try to work with an innovative approach in academic field are not encouraged. No autonomy for academic tie up with other university.
Above are the prevailing circumstances in the Hotel Management Institutes which throw challenges in building a facultyteam. Apart from those, there are few things which are pertinent to understand in the organisational context of IHMs which too pose threat to the team building. These are as below,
• Individualistic approach of the departmental in charges. The in- charge over emphasise the performance of his own department side-lining the other departments. This approach too does not facilitate the team building.
• The professional jealousy is another damaging aspect among the senior faculty members which is a hindrance for team building.
• Formation of invisible groups of faculty within the educational Institute. This is again a negative mind-set among the faculty members.Generally, such developments take place due to in appropriate and lethargic thinking within the faculty group.
• Trust deficit among the faculty members
• Poor communication among the team members.
• Confusion in understanding their own academic and administrative roles
Probable Suggestions for team building in IHMs.
A leader’s perspective
• Communicate always to eliminate confusion.
• Define roles and responsibilities of the employees and remind them regularly
• Set up a relationship with the team
• Keep the communication channel open one to one too.
• Make the decisions together.
• Celebrate the success together.
• Be an academic leader.