Is equity in communication amongst multi-nationals analyzable in an emergency situation?
This paper is part of my doctoral thesis, which in part, focuses on multi-national communication between ship and shore in crisis-situations and my interest is in how communication influences maritime operations. In this paper, I present the findings of my pilot study of a conversation between ship and shore, where a ship calls an emergency line, reporting that the rudder is presumably lost. My tentative study shows that communication plays an active role in both creating employee's social relations and influencing their performance, which jeopardizes the outcome of a crisis-situation. Method This paper presents the results of a single case analysis. It includes a telephone recording of communication between ship and technical personnel at shore surrounding an emergency situation in a Danish shipping company. The conversation has been transcribed and submitted to language analysis using discursive psychology. Conclusion The outcome of this call between ship and shore resulted in a wrong decision costing the shipping company an unnecessary amount of money. I will show how the participants i.e. through linguistic structures in their communication, collaborated in constructing (national) identities that became more important to the participants than the current crisis, herby becoming the main cause of human error in the situation. I believe that if employees receive communication training and tools for how to reduce orientation towards i.e. nationality and optimize concentration on the task at hand, the possibility of human error and eventuality of a dire breech of safety will be minimized considerably. This training would enable all employees in the Danish maritime sector regardless of nationality, equal opportunity to communicate and perform their tasks safely, adequately and without extra cost. Although this study has a small range of data, it will be the basis for my further research, due to the reason that it points at the possibility that communication is an overseen part of the human element in maritime operations.
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9th International Symposium on Maritime Health, 2007