Publication Date

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Paul W. Cascella


Exposure, Higher Education, Hospitality, Industry Attitudes, Self-efficacy, Socioeconomic Status

Subject Areas

Educational leadership; Educational evaluation; Educational administration


The hospitality and tourism industry struggles with high employee turnover, and many hospitality management students graduate and subsequently leave or choose not to enter the industry. Scholars have found it beneficial to study students’ industry attitudes, career goals, demographics, and career decision self-efficacy to further understand how these variables influence students’ perceptions, engagement, and retention. This quantitative study measured these variables as well as prior industry exposure, which is based on the Social Cognitive Career Theory. Results of an online survey of hospitality students in the Western United States (n = 315; response rate 79.9%) suggested that students’ prior industry exposure was a factor in self-efficacy and attitudes. Results also indicated that elements of students’ socioeconomic status and race were factors in students’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and industry exposure. Recommendations were offered regarding how hospitality management programs can fine-tune their curricula, professional development, and career services programing based on the demographics of their students. Recommendations also included increasing partnerships between universities and industry recruiters to benefit students as they transition into professional roles and to maximize recruitment and retention efforts.