Attractive working conditions… 

Here is an excerpt from a Norwegian University study, author Espen Jan Kolbræk, which I find tremendously interesting, especially in some particular parts more than others. I see room for a lot of improvement in many areas based on a greater understanding. It is my firm belief, that all employees, needless of rank, must be seen as an asset to any company, not only as a necessity to do their business. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in the econommic climate today. 

This thesis explores management and well-being on ships in the Norwegian merchant marine.

These vessels appear as closed institutions which in many ways represent societies in miniature. One goal of this study is to reflect upon different perspectives on ship management, and on many of the challenges that captains face today. About two-thirds of the Norwegian merchant fleet consists of foreign seamen.

Thus, the ships can be seen as cultural meeting places. Ethnic diversity, isolation, and a high level of work pressure make the institutionalization of such organizations challenging and special. 

This places great demands on the leadership aboard.

But the shortage of Senior Officers also puts pressure on the shipping companies to make their ships and their working conditions attractive, in order to recruit skilled labor. 

This study concludes that it requires knowledgeawareness in combination with situational-awareness to achieve this. Healthy institutionalization processes seem to be very important for the well-being of crews, which requires leadership on the part of both Senior Officers and shipowners. To illustrate the various perspectives, a somewhat eclectic theoretical foundation has been chosen, much of which, however, is embodied in Selznick's theories of leadership and institutionalization.

The analysis sheds light on the correlations between leadership and job satisfaction, and how this should be viewed in the context of the total institutions that the merchant ships really are. The thesis seeks an understanding of ship-masters' perception of their workplace, and their views on leadership. By bringing to light ship-masters' positive and negative experiences, it has also been an ambition to identify some key factors that contribute to their well-being.


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