Framework for Success: Overcoming Contemporary Challenges of Western Expatriate Managers in the Chinese Hospitality Industry

Cynthia Mejia, University of Central Florida
Kelly Virginia Phelan
James Brian Aday


Exponential growth in the Chinese hospitality industry has fueled an overabundance of hotel job opportunities. The unintended consequences of an untrained workforce have posed a serious challenge to hospitality managers. Western hotel managers are hired for their special knowledge and expertise, and due to a lack of preparation and cultural training, they experience high assignment failure rates. Using the leveraging leader–member exchange theory, this qualitative study collected data from primary sources and revealed key emergent issues facing Western expatriate hotel managers working in China today. Productive culture-specific tactics for Western expatriate managers were offered to enhance team performance.