Tourism literature has presented the effects of leadership style on staff efficiency yet few have examined the causal relationship between leadership style and newcomer outcomes at the hotel workplace context. This study examined the underlying mechanism regarding how transformational leadership can facilitate hotel newcomers to exhibit better performance and retention. Using the structural equation model, this study tested research hypotheses using valid data collected from 234 hotel newcomers with their supervisors from 63 tourist hotels rated above four-star in Taiwan. Based on emotion in feedback system theory, this study noted that hotel newcomers displayed higher supervisor-triggered positive affect due to the transformational leadership of their supervisors. In turn, this led to newcomers’ high performance and motivation to continue working. Adapting social exchange theory, this study found that transformational leadership has led to the development of a higher perceived supervisor support, which facilitated better performance among newcomers at hotel organizations.
One of the critical challenges faced by organizational managers is the task of providing support to newcomers so that they can quickly adapt to a new work environment (Haueter, Macan, & Winter, 2003; Morrison, 1993; Saks & Gruman, 2018; Yan, Francesco, Wu, & Wang, 2017). Especially in the hospitality industry, tourism organizational managers have high expectations of newcomers, who must be able to quickly learn their work roles and contribute toward increased performance and service quality (Song, Chon, Ding, & Gu, 2015). Past studies have indicated that supervisors can help newcomers in the process of adjusting to a new work organization and increasing their performance in the early stage (Chen & Klimoski, 2003; Wondra & Ellsworth, 2015; Yuan, Li, Mai, Ye, & Yu, 2017). Moreover, in accordance with the principle of social exchange theory (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005), individuals are likely to voluntarily exhibit beneficial behaviors based on the treatment they received from their hotel supervisors. An increasing number of empirical studies on hospitality organizations have reported that supervisors display certain leadership behaviors to motivate their employees and change their behaviors at work (Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Chen, Zhu, & Zhou, 2015; Tuan, 2018). For this reason, transformational leadership is considered as comprising leadership behaviors that can change hospitality organization employees’ behaviors and attitudes, which are associated with hotel employees’ work stress, organizational citizenship behaviors, service performance, workplace deviance, and other attitudinal and behavioral outcomes (Chen & Wu, 2017; Grant, 2012; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Patiar & Wang, 2016; Uen, Wu, Teng, & Liu, 2012; Yukl, 1999).