Breaking A Communication Barrier


The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that by 2050, minority groups will make up nearly half the U.S. population. With an increasingly diverse workforce including immigrants with limited English proficiency, communication barriers can be a challenge to effective management.

In the May issue of the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, authors Juan M. Madera, Mary Dawson, Jack A. Neal, and Kristin Busch of the University of Houston studied the use of visual aids to guide workers in the foodservice industry, and found that the use of pictures can improve job performance, satisfaction, and commitment:

2JHTR07_Covers.pdfGiven the diverse workforce of the hospitality industry, language difficulties continue to create communication barriers for both employers and immigrant workers. As a result, these barriers have negative effects on job performance and organizational attitudes. In an effort to provide solutions, this article examines the effect of using pictures on job performance, task satisfaction, and job commitment when communication barriers exist in a food industry operation context. The results of this experimental study demonstrated that the performance of workers who used pictures when producing a dish was evaluated higher on dimensions of time, quality, and accuracy than that of workers who did not use pictures. Additionally, the participants who were given pictures reported higher task satisfaction and commitment than those who were only provided an abstract recipe.

Click here to read “Breaking A Communication Barrier: The Effect of Visual Aids in Food Preparation on Job Attitudes and Performance,” and browse the complete May 2013 issue of the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.

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