Functions, performances and perceptions of work on ships
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014

The demands for greater efficiency and increased profitability in shipping have increased with hardened competition. In recent years major reductions in manning have been made. When the STCW Convention was revised in 1995, this led to changes in terms of the organization of work on board. By using a functional approach, it became possible to handle current demands that all tasks on board are founded on competency-based skills. This article reports the results from an investigation of work functions performed on board ships. The aim was to investigate how these functions are performed today and how marine officers perceived this. Main questions were as follows: How do officers handle the working situation with a reduced crew? Which job functions do they have and how are these performed? How do officers experience the work situation on board? Field studies, involving participant observation and interviews on various types of vessels were conducted and issues were illuminated and analyzed from a socio-technical perspective. The results revealed some specific areas. Reduced crews highlight the need for the right kind of knowledgeable people. Not everyone can be good at everything, maybe not even within their own profession. The predominating issue is about the increased administrative work and the lack of skills development. A continuous professional development should be part of the work and a planned activity. Vessel crews are trying to create flexible solutions for performing the work on board. They are doing this in various ways, depending on the number of the crew, the leadership and the specific vessel culture.


Ship work

Work organization

Function-based manning


Margareta Ljung

Högskolan Väst

Margareta Lützhöft

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Maritime Operations

WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

1651-436X (ISSN) 1654-1642 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 2 231-250


Tillämpad psykologi



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