“Blue” social capital and work performance: Anthropological fieldwork among crew members at four Danish international ships

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Abstract

One outcome of globalization is an increasing number of seafarers, who seldom are members of the same crew two voyages in a row and must cooperate with seafarers from many countries (Progoulaki and Roe WMU J Marit Affairs 10:7–23, 2011). This situation challenges the level of social capital on board, i.e., the resources inherent in network cooperation associated with norms of reciprocity and trust (Putnam 2000: 19). Fragmentized “blue” social capital should, however, be restored, as work performance depends on the quality of cooperation among crew members horizontally, as well as between crew members and the shipping company vertically. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork data from four Danish international ships, the purpose of this paper is to offer a new theoretical framework for analyzing cooperation among crews. Our inductive empirical findings suggest that a balance between three types of social capital—bonding, bridging and linking—is needed to achieve a high-performing work system (Gittell et al. Organ Sci 21(2):490–506, 2010). Hence, the main actors within the shipping sector should take “blue” social capital into account to increase work efficiency and economic performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWMU - Journal of Maritime Affairs
Volume12
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)185-212
ISSN1651-436X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Blue social capital
  • Robert D. Putnam
  • Cooperation among seafarers
  • Work efficiency
  • Safety on board
  • Bridging social capital
  • Linking social capital
  • Bonding social capital
  • Anthropological fieldwork

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