Michael Riley is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Surrey. He retired from his positions as Professor of Organisation Behaviour and Director of Postgraduate Research at Surrey Business School in 2009. His research, teaching and writing span generic organisation behaviour, human resource management, research methods, hospitality and tourism and he has supervised PhD students in these areas.
He has been involved in projects in the UK, Falkland Islands, Hungary and Romania. Themes that permeate his work are a desire to explore how organisational knowledge relates to personal development and identity, and a concern to understand how service industry labour markets actually work.
His prior career in international hotel management enables him to offer students insights into the issues that concern the global industry. He has visiting professor positions at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and the Technical University of the Netherlands, Breda, and has taught in Switzerland, Jordan and Dubai. He has a PhD from the University of Essex and an MA from the University of Sussex.
The authors argue that the theory of the downward-sloping supply curve for labour is relevant to explanations of labour market behaviour in tourism. The paper is founded on the work of Sharif (1986, 1991, 2000), who questioned the definition of subsistence and argued that, in certain conditions, the initial slope of the curve would be downwards. The authors ask whether tourism development could provide these particular conditions. An important distinction is made between the perception of management of the market being in surplus or abundance. If the downward-sloping supply curve is the case, then the distress selling of labour that it implies would have implications for the quality of tourism products and for the capacity of tourism to alleviate poverty.
This paper looks at the way skills and knowledge are valued by management in tourism and hospitality firms and at how that valuation is reflected in the configuration of human resources management (HRM) and the structure of labour markets. Based on a resource view of the firm and using the concepts of human resource architecture, it is argued that tourism and hospitality are not just examples of the internal spot-market mode in which acquisition dominates employment strategy, but rather constitute a special case in which the nature of labour productivity intervenes. The authors argue that labour is, in the main, separated from quantitative concepts of productivity and adds value only in qualitative terms. This sets up a dichotomy for human resource strategy between economic imperatives and the desire for quality. The resolution of that dichotomy, it is argued, is aggravated by the way individuals value their human capital, which has the effect of segmenting a general unskilled labour market and creating rigid occupational identities. This is the background against which modern ideas of HRM, such as employment flexibility, have to contend.