Vol 63, No 1 (2011)
Original article
Published online: 2011-04-29

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Should I stay or should I go? Motivational profiles of Danish seafaring officers and non-officers

Miia Haka, Daniel F. Borch, Chris Jensen, Anja Leppin
IMH 2011;63(1):20-30.


Background. Other studies have shed light on specific types of seafarers’ job stressors and job satisfaction. However, so far there have not been any systematic attempts to capture the motivational profile of seafarers when it comes to both work demands and work resources. The purpose of this study is to explore the motivational profiles of seafarers in the Danish merchant fleet by identifying factors which motivate or demotivate seafarers to stay in their specific profession. Furthermore, we examine if there is a difference in work motivators and demotivators between Danish seafaring officers and non-officers.
Material and methods. A questionnaire was sent out to 560 Danish-speaking seafarers with a Danish postal address; 346 seafarers returned the questionnaire, equalling a 61% response rate.
Results. The work motivators which were identified were: duration of home leave, level of responsibility, and level of challenge. The main demotivating factors that were identified were: being away from home, shipping company´s HRM, and regulatory requirements.
Conclusions. The results contribute to a deeper understanding of how seafarers perceive their occupation, and help to identify areas and aspects which might need change if employers want to retain their workforce in the long run. Overall, the results show that most of the job demands and job resources that seafarers perceive are psychosocial. When it comes to the best aspects of seafaring, over 70% of the answers were related to psychosocial factors rather than organizational or structural factors. In relation to the perceived worst aspects in seafaring, about 85% of the responses fell into psychosocial categories. The differences in the motivational profiles of officers and non-officers showed the importance of not only looking at the seafaring profession as a whole but also considering the different characteristics of various jobs onboard.
(Int Marit Health 2011; 62, 1: 20–30)

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