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Monday, June 3, 2013

Life Satisfaction as a Predictor of Optimism in Hotel and Tourism Students


It is hard to be motivated if you are not optimistic about life. The greatest asset students have is their optimism and the desire to create the lives they seek. In college optimism keeps students focused and working on their long-term goals which are often broken down into little steps of studying and making choices over their lives. Research helps shed some light on how optimism and life satisfaction work together to create higher levels positive outlook in hotel and tourism education.

Employee’s perceptions are an integral part of developing their approaches to the work environment and their personal lives. Perception leads to behavioral rituals employees use to navigate their environment (Kagitcibasi, 1992). The rituals will run throughout their working lifetimes unless they are questioned or adjusted by important new self-understandings.  

When employee viewpoints are optimistic by nature they have the benefit of developing stronger rituals that help them achieve their goals. When a person has an optimistic outlook, they can develop better strategies for perception, problem-solving, interpretation, decision-making and even relationships with other employees (Oner-Koruklu, 2010).  It is these positive self-images and optimistic outlooks that help employees and organizations become more productive.

Life satisfaction comes when a person believes they can influence their environment and have positive beliefs about their likelihood to achieve goals. Life satisfaction can be defined as the ability of a person to develop a point of view about life quality under their own judgments (Rode, 2004). It can be seen as a process in which individuals try and reach their own goals and make concrete conclusions about their chances.

Optimism and satisfaction are similar by nature but slightly different by definition. If one is optimistic about their future opportunities as well as come to their own conclusion that their quality of life is high they will have two important components for career development. It is important to help students develop this optimism and satisfaction to sustain them in the development of their careers once they leave college. 

Research conducted by Unuvar, Avsaroglu & Selahattin (2012) of college students in the school of Tourism and Hotel Management  at Selcuk University in Turkey during the spring semesters of 2010 and 2011 assessed life satisfaction and optimism. The goal was to predict optimism by life satisfaction and determine how this impacts student’s outlook. 

Results: 

-Females had higher levels of life satisfaction and more optimistic than men. 

-There is an association with income level increases and life satisfaction and optimism.

-When income levels raise so does life satisfaction and optimism. 

-Students in the tourism industry have a medium level of life satisfaction.

-Positive levels of optimism from students.

-There is a positive relationship between optimism and satisfaction.

Analysis: 

College students in the Hotel and Tourism Management programs have high levels of optimism about their future work arrangements and a moderate level of life satisfaction. The research helps to highlight that optimism is a particularly strong and potent part of motivation to continue studies and work toward career options. Maintaining and growing optimism may help in maintaining levels of effort and motivation. Programs should understand how their language, teaching methods, and approaches influence this optimistic viewpoint. 

Kagitcibasi, C. (1992). Nsan ve nsanlar. Basm. Istanbul, Evrim Yaymcilik.
Oner-Koruklu, N. (2010). Ki ileraras leti im ve Etkili leti im. Ankara, Pegem Akademi.

Rode, J. (2004). Job satisfaction and life satisfaction revisited: a longitudinal test of an integrated model. Human Relations, 57 (9).

Unuvar, S., Avsaroglu, S. & Ulsu, M. (2012). An evaluation of optimism and life satisfaction of undergraduate students in the school of tourism and hotel management. Asian Social Science, 8 (12).

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