• A study designed to investigate stakeholder reaction to a proposed internet portal designed to manage student accommodation at a major language school chain in the UK

      Hussain, Zahid I.; Kelly, R. (2016-04)
      The company, a market-leading language school chain with five schools in the UK, struggles in the successful provision of UK homestay accommodation for its students. Although a complex problem, it is caused mainly by the students’ pre-arrival expectations of their accommodation quality, and a complicated and only partially-adequate booking process, making for an inefficient process. A proposed solution to the problem is an accommodation internet portal. This paper describes a study that investigated stakeholder reaction to the proposed solution with the aim of enabling the company’s management to understand what is necessary to achieve stakeholder ‘buy in’ and thus benefit from the Portal’s efficiencies, and ultimately to decide on whether to sponsor the Portal’s development. Focus groups and interviews were used to investigate the participants’ understanding of stakeholder theory, to categorise them as stakeholders, to elicit their reactions to the proposed Portal idea, and to gather suggestions on its features and the potential issues its introduction might cause. Despite there being a range of views regarding the introduction of the Portal, the results showed that if correctly implemented the Portal’s radical transformation of the accommodation booking process would lead to significant organisational efficiencies. The conclusion recommends that for the company to benefit from the potential efficiencies of a portal, its management introduce a hybrid portal where users can select the level of engagement they have with it, that the company consults its stakeholders on the design of the Portal, and that the change process is managed carefully and effectively.