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This study explores the philosophy of higher education within hospitality management education in Ireland. The central aim of this study is to develop a model to assist educators examine and improve their philosophy of hospitality education. The study reveals the positive contribution that the philosophy of education can make to educators of hospitality management and the hospitality industry. The purpose and role
of educational philosophy is both a fundamental and valid concept for those involved in
higher education and hospitality management education. The study reviews current literature in the tield of educational philosophy and
hospitality management education. An in·depth qualitative study based on semistructured
interviews of staff of hotel schools and departments in Ireland was completed. From this research, a proposed model for the philosophy of hospitality education was developed. Feedback from participant organisations in the study
extended the qualitative research undertaken, and in doing so, retined the proposed model.
The study identifies that the educational environment for hospitality education has
become a world of supercomplexity and rapid change. Diversity exists in changing
student profiles, approaches to learning and increasingly competitive programme
offerings. The costs and resources required to deliver such programmes have also risen.
The philosophy of education provides direction in approach to educators and support for
strategy to manage in such an environment.
The study concludes that the current philosophy of hospitality management education is
largely based on accepted wisdoms and traditions. Current school and programme
structures are not questioned beyond current realities and remain unchallenged.
The study recommends that there is a need to challenge convention in order to remain
competitive. Issues to be challenged arc the purpose of hospitality education, human
capital (knowledge and skills) and approaches to learning. Freedom and limitation fonn
the polarities of philosophy. Partnership represents a strategic component of philosophy
for survival. Several relationships were identified between these issues which reflect the
underlying basis of the proposed model, where these issues represent key components.
Postmodem theory offers a questioning approach to develop a new and more useful phi losophy for hospitality education that searches beyond the past.
O'Connor, C.:Rethinking Philosophy:a Proposed Model Aimed at Improving the Philosophy of Education Within Hospitality Management in Ireland. Masters Dissertation. Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2003.