Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon Cleverley-Thompson, Ed.D

Second Supervisor

Daniele Lyman-Torres, Ed.D


For years hospitality industry professionals have demanded that those entering the field of hospitality possess the skills and competencies required to stay competitive (Chung-Herrera et al., 2003; Jiang & Alexakis, 2017; Johanson et al., 2011). Yet, higher education hospitality programs are criticized for becoming out of touch with the competencies needed in the hospitality industry (Chung, 2000; Jiang & Alexakis, 2017; Johanson et al., 2011). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how hotel general managers acquired leadership competencies that contributed to them becoming a successful hotel general manager in the Northeast United States.

Four themes emerged from the data analysis, (a) staying engaged by knowing employees, (b) work experience versus education, (c) leading through adversity, and (d) adapt or expire.

The results of the study provide new insight and tools for hotel general managers currently in the hospitality industry, and hospitality degree programs at colleges and universities in how to further adapt and learn within the ever-evolving hospitality industry. Understanding how the lived experiences of hotel general managers assisted in developing their leadership and managerial competencies may provide hotel general managers with the resources and ideas to strengthen their competencies within the hospitality industry.

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