Dogan Gursoy, author of more than 180 journal articles, reads industry news and follows current events to spot his next research topic.

WSU Carson College Professor Ranks Among Most Prolific Hospitality and Tourism Researchers Worldwide

By Eric Hollenbeck

Dogan Gursoy, Taco Bell Distinguished Professor in the School of Hospitality Business Management, was named one of the most prolific researchers worldwide in hospitality and tourism over the last 20 years.

A new study on scholarly research and influence in hospitality and tourism, published in the March 2021 issue of the International Journal of Contemporary Management, examined and ranked researchers in the field from 2000–2019. The paper’s authors analyzed 14,227 articles in 12 top-tier hospitality and tourism journals, looking at factors such as number of publications, journal type, and collaboration style.

With more than 75 papers published in top-tier research journals, Gursoy’s research places him in the group of top-10 millennium scholars. In addition, he received the Lifetime Research Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, the premier association for hospitality and tourism educators.

Gursoy says the recognition is confirmation that hard work, countless hours spent on research, and creativity are not wasted.

“I could not become a top ten researcher in the field without the help of my mentors, current and former PhD students, and research partners. I sincerely thank each of them for helping me become a better person and a better researcher,” he says.

Setting the bar for hospitality research impact

Gursoy has spent the entirety of his 20-year career in higher education at WSU’s School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business. He has published more than 180 research papers in the field of hospitality and tourism, covering hundreds of topics focused on the latest and emerging trends.

In addition to being one of the top researchers in his field, Gursoy is in the top 20 of most cited researchers at WSU. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management and has presented his work at hundreds of conferences around the world. His editorial, co-authored with Professor Christina Chi, on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry is the journal’s most-read article of all time.

Gursoy has been in the hospitality and tourism field, in some form or other, for most of his life. As a teenager, he worked in restaurants and hotels. Later, he worked for Tourism Transport Tours Ltd., the local operator for Thomson Travel (now known as TUI UK), which was one of the largest tourism companies in the world. He eventually worked his way up to a management position.

Soon, his reputation preceded him, and Gursoy began to receive job offers from other companies that included funding his education. Gursoy capitalized on those opportunities, earning his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

“Going to school was a lot easier than working,” he says jokingly, referring to the long hours and unpredictability of the seasonal tourism industry. In 2001, he moved from industry to academia and research.

Although it’s not uncommon for Gursoy to spend 50–60 or more hours each week teaching, researching, advising, and taking care of everything else that requires his attention, he says his career at WSU has afforded him comfort and stability. And it allows him to continue making significant contributions to his field, not only through research and scholarship but also through advising and mentoring up-and-coming researchers.

Mentoring future research leaders

Teaching and mentoring are extremely important, says Gursoy. “That’s why we are here. Without the students, we wouldn’t exist.”

Gursoy supports and makes himself available for the students he advises, but he also pushes them “to their limit” to help students achieve success.

Oscar Chi (’21 PhD), assistant professor of hospitality and tourism at the University of Florida, says he was first inspired by Gursoy as an undergraduate student in the School of Hospitality Business Management.

“Early on in my academic career, he took time to share his insights on industry and career paths. His guidance over the years is why I asked him to be on my PhD committee,” says Chi.

Gursoy sums up his mentoring philosophy in a simple statement: “You have to be better than me.” Just like a caring parent, Gursoy hopes nothing more for his advisees than for them find success in ways that eclipse his own work. That is work in which to be proud, he says.

Researching tomorrow’s problems today

Gursoy’s work covers a wide-range of industry topics. He steadily reads industry news and current events to spot the next interesting research topic.

Recent notable research contributions include studies on artificial intelligence, customer attitudes toward dining and travel during the pandemic, carbon offsetting in tourism, and autonomous vehicles for travel and tourism.

“As a researcher, I’m trying to find solutions to problems not only right now but also in the future,” he says.

Helping put WSU on the map

“The accomplishments of professors like Dr. Gursoy are critical to the college’s strategy to be recognized as regular contributors of rigorous and influential research,” says Debbie Compeau, senior associate dean for faculty affairs research in the Carson College of Business.

“His ongoing contributions help to make the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management one of the top five in the country,” adds Compeau.

“It is a great honor to be recognized as a top ten hospitality researcher in the world, and it is my sincere hope my research contributes to the knowledge development in my field and provides useful insights to other researchers, industry partners, and policy makers,” says Gursoy.