Recreation: Changing Research Patterns
Major Research Initiatives
A Multi-Ethnic Comparison of Angeles National Forest Recreation
A report by Drs. Chieh-Lu Li, Harry Zinn and Alan Graefe (Penn State University) and Jim Absher (PSW) focused on recreation use by ethnically diverse National Forest visitors and examined the relationships among cultural background, perceived service quality, satisfaction, and related variables. Using purposive sampling at sites known to be heavily used by individuals of particular ethnic backgrounds (Hispanic, Asian and White) 1,172 Angeles National Forest (ANF) visitors were contacted over the summer of 2002.
Results showed that cultural, service quality, and other measures differed among the ethnic groups. For instance, Asians and Hispanics were more willing to endorse Hofstede's power distance (a cultural measure) but Hofstede's masculinity dimension showed no significant differences. Other differences and similarities are noted for socio-demographic, trip details, previous experience and crowding measures. Service quality and trip satisfaction measures showed that Asians were likely to perceive lower service quality than Whites or Hispanics. Because Asians perceived lower service quality, they also tended to be less satisfied than White or Hispanic visitors to the ANF.
Using a structural equation model analysis, perceived service quality and satisfaction were highly positively correlated, and perceived lower service quality led to less satisfaction. Further analysis discusses the mediation effects in the model, especially those of service quality and experience and show that they play an important role in the relationship between culture and satisfaction. The reasons for these findings are somewhat complex and discussed at length in the report. Nonetheless, the results show that managers need to understand the diverse cultural background of visitors they serve, so as to customize their services to an increasingly diverse clientele to achieve high customer satisfaction.
Overall, results suggest that managers should ensure diverse opportunities by providing extensive day-use oriented facilities, use multiple language brochures and signage to create an "ethnic-friendly" ambience, and provide informational programs tailored specifically to these groups.
Publications and Products related to this subject:
Li, C. 2003. A multi-ethnic comparison of service quality and satisfaction in national forest recreation. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. PSW-00-CR-11272137-061. State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State University. 140 p.
Li, C.; Zinn, H.C.; Chick, G.E.; Graefe, A.R.; Absher, J.D. 2004. Hofstede's cultural measure in a national forest recreation context. Proceedings of The Second International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitor Flows in Recreational and Protected Areas; 2004 June 16-20; Rovaniemi, Finland. [available at http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut] p.151-156.
Li, C.; Zinn, H.R.; Graefe, A.R.; Absher, J.D. 2003. A multi-ethnic comparison of service quality and satisfaction in national forest recreation. Unpublished report. Riverside, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 56 p.
Research conducted by: