A research approach to training: A case study of mystery guest methodology

Denise N. Anderson, David L. Groves, Julie Lengfelder, Dallen Timothy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Tests and analyzes a total quality management (TQM) methodology known as the mystery guest approach. The method involved the development of a research-based approach to employee training by involving employees in the problem-solving and strategic planning process. In this case study university student subjects were asked to participate in a focus group format which utilized the critical incidents, importance/performance analysis and planning effectiveness evaluation technique. Participants were organized to take a trip from Bowling Green, Ohio to Quebec City, Quebec with the itinerary including four major points of interest along the way and five on the return. Each point of interest was evaluated as a tourism experience for families. Findings revealed that participants developed their problem-solving skills and improved their decision-making abilities. It became apparent to the researchers that a research approach in training has the potential to be used in organizations to build employee loyalty, understanding and confidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Focus groups
  • Holidays
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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