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Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the study described in this report calls into question the principle that the best way for a brand to ensure that an affiliated hotel conforms to standards is to own that property. Instead, a comparison of opportunistic behavior at 49 brand-owned hotels with that of 247 hotels owned by a third party found that the brand-owned hotels report higher levels of opportunism on the part of hotel managers directed at brand headquarters. The study also revealed conditions that tend to limit opportunism, which is defined as using guile to pursue self-interest. Opportunism is limited when it is easy to monitor hotel performance, and when the brand is able to use opportunism as a form of retaliation. On the other hand, contrary to expectations, the study found no effects of ownership when combined with either emphasis on relational norms or transaction-specific assets to limit hotel opportunism. Ironically, the data indicate that having a third-party owner involved in the arrangement tends to stifle opportunism in the individual property.


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