Service Sector Management (SSM)
Our Service Sector Management (SSM) research spans five distinct subject areas. Strong links with our partners in the public and private sector mean we can ensure the economic and social relevance of our work, maximising quality and real-world impact.
Recent and ongoing projects have involved collaborations with universities across the UK, Europe, North America, East Asia and Africa. Much of that research has been supported by funding from the European Commission, UK Research Councils, Regional Development Agencies and business consultancy.
The research produced under the SSM theme directly contributes to what is taught on the University’s EPAS-accredited BSc programmes in Tourism Management and Hospitality Management, whilst more broadly helping to attract international undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral students.
Studies undertaken in the Service Sector Management theme have been published in a wide range of internationally-renowned journals including Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, International Journal of Hospitality Management, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, European Journal of Marketing and Journal of Business Research, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Cell Biochemistry and Function, Food and Function, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Appetite.
Research activity in SSM is linked to the following areas
- Events Management
- Facilities Management and Food and Nutrition
- Access Gastronomy - Funded by European Commission, this project aims to help food and drink tourism SMEs develop and improve their accessibility, particularly for those with sensory impairment. Through secondary research and focus groups, the needs of people with sensory impairment have been identified and the results have been used to develop and deliver accessibility training for SMEs (Seonyoung Kim).
- Awareness and prevention of trafficking and sexual exploitation of children - This project provides ‘upstream’ training to raise awareness and prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in the international tourism, hospitality and events sectors. Based on research with external partners, the project develops awareness and provides formal prevention training to students on ITHE management programmes at Hallam. The international student profile provides an impetus to drive an international change in culture in the travel and tourism industry so that it is no longer seen as 'someone else's job' to take action to prevent the sexual exploitation of children (Ray Nolan).
- Psychological need satisfaction from recreational gambling participation -Funded by Unibet plc, this project used confirmatory factor analysis to identify a range of psychological needs which are satisfied through online recreational gambling participation: mastery, detachment, self-affirmation, excitement and affiliation, with significant variations across different gambling types: sports, horse racing, slots, poker and casino table games. The results were used to inform UK government policy and responsible gambling practice (Peter Schofield)
- Responsible gambling behaviour - Bid submitted to Gamble Aware (formerly the Responsible Gambling Trust); decision expected on 31st January 2017. This project examines the impact of a 'selective product blocking’ intervention as a responsible gambling tool in a remote gambling operation. In partnership with Unibet plc and using CMC interviews, case by case impact assessment and quantitative behavioural measures, the results will be used to inform UK government policy and responsible gambling practice (Principal Investigator: Peter Schofield)
- Hotel service failure and recovery - Funded by the Forte Group, this project identified optimal service recovery strategies for different types of hotel service failure using procedural, interactive and outcome actions. The results identified a significant variation in recovery strategy effectiveness on customer satisfaction, perceived justice and loyalty in relation to failure type and failure severity. They also showed that successful recovery can be achieved using strategies appropriate to the failure type and severity without necessarily correcting the failure or automatically resorting to compensation. The findings were used to produce policy recommendations and inform operational decision making (Principal Investigator: Peter Schofield)
- Compulsive purchase behaviour - Study 1 challenged the impulsive-compulsive paradigm by validating a new model with compulsive and self-control impaired spending dimensions, which more closely reflect the disorder’s ego-dystonic character, routed in an anxiety-based reactive mechanism. Study 2 developed a new seven-item screening tool and tested for cultural invariance in compulsive purchase behaviour dimensions across British, Chinese, Czech and Spanish consumers using structural equation modelling. The findings indicate that compulsive buying results from both compulsive and self-control impaired impulsive elements which are characteristic of behavioural addiction (Peter Schofield)
- Political voting behaviour and party loyalty in the UK - Using the online British Election Survey (BES) data for 2010 and 2015, Study 1 established the relevance of the three factor theory of satisfaction within a political context, by demonstrating that, controlling for party loyalty, government under performance on 'basic' factors (with a non-linear and asymmetrical relationship with satisfaction) has significant direct and indirect impacts on voting behaviour. Study 2 identified the factors which significantly influence loyalty to particular political parties and the variation in factors across Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties (Peter Schofield)
- Collaborative innovation in destination marketing - This project examined Glasgow City Marketing Bureau's innovative event-leveraged destination marketing strategy. Through in-depth interviews with senior managers from the DMO and its stakeholders, the UK market leader's critical success factors were identified and the findings were used to produce DMO policy recommendations (Peter Schofield, Phil Crowther, John Heeley)
- Assessing the walkability of urban public space with GIS technology - Funded by the EPSRC, this project used GIS technology to elicit community views about the design of a public health walk in the city of Salford. The results provided hard-to-reach groups with a voice in the planning process and informed the design of the health walk in line with community needs and priorities (Peter Schofield, Adele Doran, Ray Nolan)
- The experiences of mountaineer tourists - The study has collected phenomenology-based ethnographic data during a mountaineering expedition in Nepal. The study explores the constraints on people’s participation in commercially organised mountaineering tourism, their constraint negotiation process and the influence of self-efficacy on this process. The perceived benefits from their experiences are also examined (Adele Doran)
- The experiences of female mountaineer tourists – The study has collected data through a survey specifically focusing on women's experiences of commercial mountaineering tourism. The survey explores the constraints on women's participation in mountaineering tourism, their constraint negotiation process, the opportunities for empowerment through participation and the perceived benefits from their experiences. Using structural equation modelling, the study has empirically verified four theoretical constraint dimensions: intra-personal; inter-personal; structural; and family constraints, and four negotiation dimensions: prioritisation; preparation and planning; adaption; and determination (Adele Doran)
- Sustainable tourism and protected areas - This study evaluates sustainable tourism in the evolution of protected areas. It adopts and applies evolutionary tools and concepts from the field of historical institutionalism, such as path dependency and path creation, co-evolution, layering and conversion. Subsequently, the research has uncovered a complex and nuanced view of evolution of sustainable tourism and its relationships with other policies and contexts (Vicky Melon)
- National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and the ‘No Compromise’ funding model. This in-depth, longitudinal case study of three UK NGBs comprised 24 interviews with key executives and athletes. Each funding cycle, administered by UK Sport and guided by the ‘No Compromise’ framework, creates winners and losers, with some NGBs forced, by a dramatic and immediate removal of funding, into a turnaround situation. Such turnaround management is restricted by the prohibitive nature of their ‘ring-fenced’ funding streams leading to an overly operation and short range response, which destabilises the long term development of their sport. Our longitudinal study charts the developing responses of the three NGBs from funding removal and then over an 18 month period henceforth (James Bostock, Phil Crowther, Rory Ridley-Duff)
- Stalking the deep-fried mars bar: the history of the Scottish diet stereotype. Funded by the Wellcome Trust (Medical Humanities Research Fellowship), this project is investigating the history of the current stereotype of the Scottish diet, which is often associated with unhealthy, deep-fried foods. This stereotype is known to have negative effects on eating habits in Scotland. The research is looking at the ways in which Scottish diet and nutrition have been portrayed in the media, government policies and reports, food advertising, and books such as recipe books. The project draws on documents in archives and libraries across Scotland, in London and online, and also involves interviewing experts who work, or have worked, in the area of Scottish food and nutrition (including in government, NHS, community organisations, industry, and journalism) (Principal Investigator: Christine Knight)
- Arguing about GM: An analysis of the use of science in the GM-food debate in traditional and social media. Funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Sheffield. Although genetically modified (GM) crops may improve food security, there is strong consumer resistance to GM-agriculture. The media have been implicated in fuelling such resistance. Furthermore use of social media has spawned a networked peer community of individuals who have potentially greater access to expertise and information, and the means to propagate information and misinformation. The aim of this studentship is to understand how the discourse around empirical science is manipulated by the media ecology and to critically evaluate media reporting of the science (Principal Investigator: Margo Barker)
- A consumer survey of attitudes towards genetically modified food. Funded by Plant Production and Protection (P3) University of Sheffield. Consumer engagement about GM-food has focused on changing perceptions of risks and benefits. However, food acceptance has social, cultural and emotional roots. We surveyed a nationally representative sample of UK residents to determine acceptance of GM-food vis-à-vis rational beliefs about its risks and benefits, attitudes to science, green behaviour, emotional response to GM-food, understanding of GM-science, socio-cultural attitudes about food and demographics. We found an affective belief in the sanctity of food interplayed with rational thought about food, science and the environment to determine acceptance (Principal Investigator: Margo Barker)
- Attitudes to breastfeeding in public - This project examined attitudes in the UK to breastfeeding in public by analysing comments on news media websites in response to a story of a woman asked to cover up while breastfeeding in Claridge's hotel. While the majority of comments supported discreet breastfeeding in public, many respondents felt that it is always inappropriate citing sexualisation of the breast and onlookers’ embarrassment or disgust in justification. The second phase of this project, using a large scale questionnaire survey, aims to assess more systematically how widespread those views are (Cecile Morris, Craig Hirst)
- Inulin type fructan chain integrity in bread making and effect of fructan enriched breads on satiety and energy intake - This project examined the satiety inducing properties of a particular type of fibre: inulin type fructan (ITF) as a tool for weight management. Baking of 12% ITF enriched breads resulted in modest ITF depolymerisation for the shorter ITF chains but the longer chains remained intact. Although there was evidence of increased gut fermentation with ITF enrichment, there were no significant differences between bread types in reported satiety or energy intake. These preliminary results indicate that ITF enriched bread may be a suitable staple food to increase fibre intake however longer intervention trials are required to assess the impact of ITF enriched breads on energy intake and body weight (Cecile Morris, Tony Lynn)
- How meaning and value is attributed and evolves in the food marketplace - This research examines the institutional and socio-cultural shaping of brand images and food consumer identity projects and lifestyles. One strand of this research examines how food retailer brands and discount grocers acquire meaning and social significance, how stigma in the food marketplace is transformed and negotiated, and how marketplace meaning and value evolves over time. A second strand examines how food discourses and consumption practices, such as healthy eating diffuse through the marketplace and are negotiated by the public and consumers (Craig Hirst, Paul Beresford)
- Ethnicity and Diabetes Risk - This project compares responses to a glucose 'challenge' between Chinese and European subjects matched for age, leanness, physical activity and gender. The project, run over two years, combines laboratory work to assess glucose response and insulin, salivary amylase with a questionnaire survey to assess dietary intake and physical activity patterns (Trevor Simper, Dave Broom, Caroline Dalton)
- Physical activity and glycaemic response - In response to the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes in the UK, this project examined the responses of three healthy groups of people: a) low activity; b) moderate activity; c) high activity to an Oral Glucose Challenge (OGTT). The results represent the first data set to show the clear significant difference in response by level of activity in healthy individuals (Trevor Simper, Cecile Morris, Tony Lynn, Ciara O'Hagan)
- Effect of bilberry juice on indices of muscle damage and inflammation after a half-marathon - In relation to the emerging evidence that polyphenols accelerate recovery from exercise, this study examines the effects of polyphenols in bilberry juice on inflammation and muscle damage in a group of recreational runners competing in the Sheffield half-marathon. The race elicited a substantial increase in inflammation and muscle damage, but bilberry juice failed to accelerate recovery. Different fruits vary in the types of polyphenols they contain and it is possible that the profile of polyphenols determines whether a fruit is effective. Current work is focused on comparing the relative efficacy of fruit juices with different polyphenolic profiles on recovery of muscle function after a bout of resistance exercise (Tony Lynn, Mayur Ranchoras)
- The influence of exercise on appetite - This study explored the effects of a bout of exercise on multiple markers of appetite in habitually active versus habitually inactive participants of varying demographics. A tightly controlled, laboratory-based intervention phase was uniquely followed by a relatively extended free-living observation period in which any potential compensatory ingestive behaviours or activity may have occurred. Of particular interest was how this work carefully stratified participants into males, females not using hormonal contraceptives, and women taking oral contraceptives. The findings show that habitual physical activity level in men, and habitual physical activity level and the use of oral contraceptives in women predict how an acute bout of exercise impacts on subsequent energy intake. This has implications for how exercise might be used to support weight management in different population sub-groups (Joel Rocha, Jenny Paxman, Dave Broom, Caroline Dalton)
- Motivational interviewing in groups for weight management - Motivational Interviewing has proven to be an effective approach for front line health care especially where volitional behaviour of the patient is involved. This novel investigation compared the effects of normal on-to-one treatment with group motivational interviewing on a one year long weight management programme and found a marginal improvement in results and a marked improvement in retention of participants (Trevor Simper, Jeff Breckon, Karen Kilner)
- Training students in motivational interviewing - This is the first study to evaluate the influence of motivational interviewing on final year trainee nutritionists' counselling skill development. Nutritionists are tasked with helping people to change their behaviour and not simply advising about nutrients etc. This study has a pre-post design showing the development of students consultation skills through a series of motivational interviewing workshops with a video feedback/coaching session (Trevor Simper, Jeff Breckon, Karen Kilner)
- Training Macmillan cancer workers in motivational interviewing - This project assesses the impact of motivational interviewing on the empathy and resilience levels of a mixed group of cancer care workers (doctors, nurses, auxiliaries). Empathy and resilience are highlighted within the literature as essential qualities in the cancer care workforce. Measures of empathy (using the helpful responses questionnaire) and resilience (using the resilience scale) are taken at pre-, immediate post- and one month post-motivational interviewing workshop stages to assess the impact of training over time (Shirley Masterson, Trevor Simper)
- Weight locus of control and body mass index - This project seeks to identify whether socio-economic status, body mass index and locus of control are inter-related (Matthew Keeble, Trevor Simper)
- The identity of secondary services in organisations - This research seeks to understand facilities management from a practitioner perspective. It takes an interdisciplinary approach by linking organisational storytelling with frameworks from folklore to increase our understanding of social and human relations (Patricia McCarroll)
- The application of socialisation models to facilities management - Culture is a basic outcome of human interaction and is the chief differentiating factor of most organisations. Culture is passed on to new employees through a socialisation process, which determines their level of ‘cultural fit’. This research investigates existing theoretical socialisation models and their applicability to the service industry, particularly in the context of facilities management (Toyin Aderiye)