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C. Schädel

Work-life balance among cruise ship crews

A quantitative research approach

ISBN: 978-3-8428-6239-5

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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Diplomica Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 09.2011
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 138
Abb.: 21
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


The concepts of work-life balance are a popular and in nowadays one of the most extensively discussed areas in organizational management as a consequence of its association with individual benefits, e.g. prevent burn-out, and organizational costs. The core aim of this study is to examine the impact of the unique working and living environment of cruise ships towards the physical and emotional exhaustion of their crews. In order to explain these, the study investigates traditional theories of Maslow and Herzberg, considers real life experiences of current and former crew members and takes a look on the most common statements of work-life balance. Although a lot of research work has been done in this field there seems to be a need to extend those to seafarers. In this paper a quantitative research approach has been used to expose knowledge about which factors influence, and to what extent they influence seafarers’ well-being in terms of the balance between work and life. 171 current and former crew members participated at an online questionnaire and four additional interviews have been conducted. Significant results were found throughout the study and its results indicated that even though some recreation facilities regulated by ILO, and provided by the cruise companies do already exist, there is a high need to continue developing practices to positively influence the relief of stress in order to ensure a balanced relationship between work and life at sea.


Text Sample: Chapter 2.1, The Meaning of Work: The facet ‘Work’ gains more and more importance in today’s society. People spend ever more time learning for a certain job, train important skills and working itself. According to the definition of the Oxford dictionary ‘Work’ has a multitude of meanings and values to different nationalities and individuals. So for instance a working period of one year of an average German employee consists of 104 days off (considered a five-day working week), an average of 13 days of bank holidays and 30 vacation days, summing that up an average working year lasts 218 days – not included in this calculation are the days of sickness, whereas a Japanese employee has the obligation of 236 days of full-time work, during a year. Also the average collectively agreed weekly working hours differ from nation to nation. In comparison with that onboard it is of no meaning from which nation crew-members originate from. All have to perform a 7-day working week for several months. According to Snir et al. ‘[…] work plays a central and fundamental role in the life of individuals[…]’. And since individuals are different from one another the degree of general importance of work differs from human to human. Work is important to the development and maintenance of a person’s identity. So success in a job can lead to an improved interpersonal relationship and mental health, within and without the working environment. Those relationships are part of most need theories, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which will be discussed later in this chapter. It also influences the perception of an individual within its social environment. Nevertheless working does not just represent the essential role of earning money to support the non-work part in a human’s life (financial wealth), it contributes to one’s sense of personal identity and gives individuals a sense of being tied into a larger society, of providing social contact and of having a purpose in life. And it is also an important component of character traits, such as decision making, satisfaction, loyalty, commitment etc. The importance of work as the central point of life can best be demonstrated by the ‘lottery theory’, where people have been asked to imagine the following: They would win a large sum in a lottery, enough to support themselves without any need to earn any more money. Than the question was raised, if they would continue working, or if they would not. Depending on the different occasions and different nationalities the majority of interviewees, namely 65-95%, stated that they would continue working, because fulltime inactivity does not look very attractive in forms of self-actualization, which represent the highest human desire. Psychological literature accounts that outcome with ‘the importance of work to individual mental and emotional well-being’. In the following two important theories concerning motivation at work will be examined. 2.2.1, Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs: The American psychologist Abraham Maslow is considered to be one of the most important founders of human psychology, who aspired mental health and investigated the human ‘self-realization’. His scientific work ‘Motivation and Personality’, published 1943 and extended in 1970, contained the 5 level model of human needs. His approach requires progressive satisfaction of these hierarchical needs. Even if his whole work was by far more complex, the ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs” became very popular in order to illustrate the motivational factors of human needs. ‘This hierarchical approach is underpinned by rigorous psychological theory of human motivation’. These needs are classified into a variety of categories, as shown in figure 1. Each level builds up on the fulfillment of the level below. Considering this model, humans tend to satisfy their needs of the lowest level before reflect upon a level of higher needs. That means as long as a desire of a lower rank not meet its approval, the desire of a higher level need does theoretically not exist. ‘Within the hierarchy of human needs, human well-being is bounded by the fulfillment of a given set of ascending needs. Human effort is exerted to achieve each level’. Physiological needs embody the basis of the hierarchy and are seen as essential to the existence of human beings, such as food, water and air. Maslow believed that, once a given level of need is satisfied, it does no longer act as a motivator. Therefore the highest need that humans aspire is self-actualization. ‘All behavior is therefore motivated by the ultimate desire to fulfill one’s own potential’. Needs are met through so called ‘satisfiers’, which differ from culture to culture and from individual to individual. A closer look on ‘satisfiers’/’motivators’ is given in the part of the ‘Two-Factor Theory’ by Herzberg, later in this paper. The most necessary need is classified as basic or physiological need and consists of food, water, air, sleep and sex. ‘Unsatisfied basic needs cause feelings of physical pain and illness, […]’. The second set of hierarchical needs is identified as safety needs. These needs represent the psychological stage rather than the physiological, including law and order, protection against dangers, regularly wage, and shelter. Within the approach used in this paper, the attainment of safety needs is not specifically dependent on the level of income. Indeed, other than basic needs, wage levels are not specifically important when talking about work-life balance onboard cruise ships. The next level is labeled as the affiliation needs. They take the form of family, friends, relationships, love, and communication. ‘Humans desire to belong to groups such as clubs, work groups, families or gangs. This level of needs incorporates the need to feel (non-sexual) love and acceptance by others’. Following and closely connected to the prior stage are the (self-) esteem needs. At this stage it needs to be differentiated between self-esteem and recognition of others. Once people achieved the belongingness to others they seek for acknowledgments from them. These needs are for example status, respect, recognition, financial wealth, success and influence. Finally, once the previous mentioned needs have been satisfied a person can become self-actualized. This need represents a continuous process within human life. It is self-fulfillment of one’s own potential, including, individualism, perfection, creativity and morality.

Über den Autor

Chris Schaedel was born in 1986 in a small town in Thuringia, Germany. After his A-levels in 2005 he traveled for a year through Asia and Australia. During that time he did several sailing trips along different coastlines and fell in love with the Ocean-Cruising. Chris successfully graduated the study course of International Cruise Industry Management at the University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven, Germany, in 2010. This 4yr Bachelor-program included a study-semester abroad at the Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, in the field of Tourism Management, as well as a nine month internship onboard a luxury cruise vessel. He participated at the 2nd International Cruise Conference in Plymouth, England. In the year 2010 he started his ocean going career onboard a German cruise ship.

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