University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes

Digital nomads? Impacts of virtual working environments on hotel managers’ financial decision-making

Sheffield Business School

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr N Haynes , Dr A Ali Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Traditionally speaking the view of the hotel general manager’s role was to act as “Mein Host” which suggested the need for a physical presence in the hotel. However, the rise of the virtual working environment, driven by mobile technologies, is causing a shift in the expectations and realities of where hotel general managers are expected to conduct their “work”. Recent research within the field of revenue management has confirmed that hotel managers are increasingly making pricing decisions from their mobile devices at home or even on holiday (Egan & Haynes, 2019) due to the integration of these devices with revenue management and other financial systems. This means that financial decision-making is increasingly taking place in the context of a fluid location that is often set apart from the physical location of the hotel. A recent study on the use of dashboards, which are often accessed remotely by hotel general managers (Egan and Haynes, 2019), suggests that there is a need to look further at their use in financial decision-making given the dominance of financial decision-making in overall hotel performance (Lamest and Brady, 2019).
Hoteliers are using mobile technologies to change and introduce new business processes by creating efficiencies that would lead to improvements in the bottom line. Anecdotal evidence suggests that mobile technologies should “bolster both employee and manager productivity with better, timelier, and convenient access to critical information to make decisions” (Kim, Connolly & Baum, 2014, p.419) However, there is little research on the practicalities of how hotel general managers use mobile technologies within virtual working environments to make financial decisions remotely or the impact of this on the quality of the decisions made, particularly with reference to accessing the financial data required for decision-making. Kimes (2017) also argues that from a practice-based viewpoint the use of mobile technology within hotel revenue management, closely allied to financial decision-making, remains a work in progress.

Therefore, this research would address this important gap in knowledge and encourages the development of a new substantive theory to explain hotel financial decision-making processes with this new virtual working environment. The focus would be on exploring whether the virtual working environment through the use of mobile technologies enhances or detracts from the quality of manager decision-making when it comes to financial decision-making and the factors that influence this.

The aim of this research would be to investigate the impacts of virtual working environments on the quality of financial decisions made by hotel general managers.

A qualitative methodology that included grounded theory or case study approaches would be considered, potentially involving in-depth interviewing or shadowing as data collection techniques. Kim, Connolly & Blum (2014, p.441) suggested that future research on mobile technology within hotels should embrace qualitative approaches to help “provide more robust insights”.

To apply for a self-funded PhD, you will need to meet our entry requirements and provide:
1. fully completed Sheffield Hallam University application form
2. research proposal (4-6 sides of A4 in length).
3. transcript of marks from your highest qualification (we require a dissertation mark of 60+).
4. copy of your award certificates
5. two references, one ideally from an academic source. References must be supplied as recent letters on headed notepaper or on the reference section on the University’s application form.
6. Where English is not your first language, we require evidence of your English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency. An IELTS score of 7.0 overall (with all component marks of 6.5 or higher), a TOEFL test with an overall score of 100 internet based (minimum component score of 23 in listening and reading, 26 in writing and 22 in speaking) or SHU TESOL English Language qualification (final overall grade of A with all components graded at B or higher) or a recognised equivalent testing system. Your test score must be within the last two years.
Information on entry requirements, tuition fees and other costs can be found here

How to apply
Please submit your application to [Email Address Removed]

Applicants wishing to be considered for:
• February 2020 entry: submit your application by 12pm November 22nd 2019
• May 2020 entry: submit your application by 12pm February 22nd 2020
• October 2020 entry: submit your application by 12pm June 22nd 2020

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The applicant will need to fund their own tuition fees, research costs and living expenses. Information on tuition fees, research and other costs can be found at


Chen, M., Knecht, S., & Murphy, H. C. (2015). An investigation of features and functions of smartphone applications for hotel chains. ENTER2015, Lugano, Switzerland.
Egan, D., & Haynes, N. C. (2019). Manager perceptions of big data reliability in hotel revenue management decision making. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 36(1), 25-39.
Jeong, M., Lee, M., & Nagesvaran, B. (2016). Employees’ use of mobile devices and their perceived outcomes in the workplace: A case of luxury hotel. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 57, 40-51.
Kim, J., Connolly, D. J., & Blum, S. (2014). Mobile technology: An exploratory study of hotel managers. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 15(4), 417-446.
Kimes, S. E. (2017). The future of hotel revenue management. Cornell Hospitality Report, 17(1), 3-10.
Lamest, M., & Brady, M. (2019). Data-focused managerial challenges within the hotel sector. Tourism Review, 74(1), 104-115.
Search Suggestions

Search Suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.