Anthropological fieldwork among crew members at four Danish international ships
One outcome of globalization is an increasing number of “boundaryless and borderless careers” (Morris & Wu 2009). This is particularly true in the case of international seafarers, who seldom are members of the same crew two voyages in a row but must cooperate with seafarers from many countries (Progoulaki & Roe 2011). This challenges social capital on board, i.e. the resources inherent in network cooperation associated with norms of reciprocity and trust (Putnam 2000: 19). Fragmentizing ‘blue’ social capital should however be restored, because work performance depends on the quality of cooperation among crew members horizontally, as well as between crew members and shipping company vertically. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork data from four Danish international ships, the purpose is to offer a new theoretical framework for analyzing cooperation among crews. Here our inductive empirical findings suggest that a balance between three types of social capital – bonding, bridging and linking – is needed to achieve a high-performance work system (Gittell et al. 2010). Hence, main actors within the shipping sector should take ‘blue’ social capital into account in order to increase work efficiency and economic performance.
Wmu - Journal of Maritime Affairs, 2012, Vol 12, Issue 2, p. 185-212