Date of Award
Master of Science
Food Science and Technology
Mary Jo Hitchcock
William A. Poppen, Michael Evans
An inquiry was conducted to investigate the need for technical, human, and conceptual skills in the foodservice industry and to investigate the role of baccalaureate degree programs in developing these skills for potential foodservice administrators. Technical, human, and conceptual skills are collectively referred to as administrative skills.
Courses in colleges and universities which emphasize administrative skills, were identified and used in the development of a Semantic Differential scale. The purpose of the Semantic Differential scale is to measure the meaning of specific concepts by various people by having them judge the concept against a series of descriptive scales. The Semantic Differential scale developed for this study was used to compare the attitude of educators and foodservice industry executives toward technical, human, and conceptual skills.
A modified Likert scale was developed for assessing baccalaureate degree programs in meeting industry needs for technical, human, and conceptual skill development. Responses to the scale can be made in terms of both direction, positive or negative, and intensity, strongly or slightly.
A profile sheet was included with the scales. The scales and profile data were answered in their entirety by the fifteen educators and thirty-four industry executives responding to the survey.
To test for significance of difference, the null hypothesis that no difference exists between the attitude of educators and industry executives toward the three administrative skills was assumed. The mean scores of educators and industry executives from the Semantic Differential scale were analyzed by a two-way analysis of variance. Based on the results of the ANOVA, the null hypothesis was rejected.
In order to isolate where the differences in attitude between the two groups were, t test analysis for independent samples was conducted. Null hypotheses that there is no difference between the attitude of educators and industry executives toward technical skills, toward human skills, and toward conceptual skills were assumed. The null hypothesis that there is no difference between the attitudes of educators and industry executives toward technical skills was rejected at the .05 level. The null hypothesis that there is no difference between the attitudes of educators and industry executives toward conceptual skills was rejected at the .05 level.
Results of the Likert scale revealed that educators and industry executives felt that human and conceptual skills are more important than technical skills for foodservice administrators. Therefore more emphasis should be placed on human and conceptual skill development in baccalaureate degree programs as opposed to technical skills. Although both groups felt human and conceptual skills were more important than technical skills for foodservice administrators, their view of college graduates was different. Educators felt that baccalaureate degree programs prepared students for managerial positions in the foodservice industry whereas industry executives felt. students were prepared as technicians.
To test for significance of difference, the null hypothesis that no difference in attitude exists between educators and industry executives that baccalaureate degree programs in foodservice administration are meeting industry needs for technical, human, and conceptual skill development was assumed. The null hypothesis was rejected.
Since each unique course or concept on the Semantic Differential scale represented a specific administrative skill, the difference in attitude toward technical and conceptual skills may only be a matter of intensity as educators generally scored courses higher than industry executives. Furthermore, the differences between the two groups could also be attributed to the way they define the administrative skills, their perception toward graduates, or both.
By their own admission, both groups believe a communication gap exists between them. A coalition between educational institutions and the foodservice industry is highly recommended to remedy this problem. Further research of this nature is also recommended to better define administrative skills and the type courses necessary to develop these skills.
Brady, John E., "Technical, Human, and Conceptual Skill Development for Potential Foodservice Administrators in Four-Year Degree Programs. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1983.