Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management


Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Robin B. DiPietro

Second Advisor

Charles G. Partlow


Employees in the hospitality industry continuously judge their peers and leaders in order to evaluate their work environment. Group and individual evaluations are systematic, as the restaurant industry is characterized by high labor intensiveness that typically involves substantial social interactions and task interdependence. As a consequence, employees come up with quick and broad conclusions about the characteristics of the people that they work with or for.

Along these lines, two of the most significant constructs that govern the social perceptions or evaluations of individuals and groups are people’s perceived warmth and competence. The warmth construct informs people whether a person or group has positive or negative intentions, while the competence construct indicates whether such person or group is capable of carrying out their intentions (Cuddy, Glick, & Beninger, 2011). These two core constructs in social perception provide fundamental clues about the characteristics attributed to persons or groups when they perform tasks and interact with others (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007).

The current study’s goal is to examine the influences of restaurant general managers’ and co-workers’ perceived warmth and competence on employees’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment, two constructs that were previously shown to reduce employees’ turnover intentions and improve job performance (Ghiselli, LaLopa, & Bai, 2001; Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002; Nadiri & Tanova, 2010; Yang, 2010). The current study demonstrates that employees’ perceptions about their co-workers and restaurant general managers have indeed significant relationships with employees’ job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intentions in a casual dining restaurant setting. Moreover, this study was able to confirm several relationships among various employees’ job attitudes and restaurant performance metrics (as measured by restaurants’ sales, cost of sales, and customer satisfaction).

In sum, the current study’s findings suggest that it is important for casual dining restaurant owners and operators to find ways to hire, compensate and train warm and competent hourly employees and general managers, since co-workers’ and general managers’ perceived warmth and competence are significantly associated with employees’ job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intentions. Moreover, satisfied and committed employees were found to be related with key restaurant performance measures, such as increased sales and customer satisfaction, meaning that the more employees are satisfied with their jobs and committed to their organization, the more likely restaurants will benefit from increased sales and customer satisfaction.