Llangco, Mark Oliver Salariosa (2017). Filipino seafarers on-board cruise ships: Shared viewpoints on working lives. Doctoral dissertation (Social Sciences), Cardiff University, UK. (Accessible: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/105510/2/Llangco%202017%20Filipino%20seafarers%20onboard%20cruise%20ships.pdf)

Abstract: Cruise ship workers and cruise ship employment are commonly described in popular literature as the stories of either ‘perfect workers in a dream job’ or ‘exploited workers on sweatships’. However, these popular portrayals tend to overlook the social and economic complexities of the work and the diversity of subjective experiences amongst cruise sector seafarers. To address this gap, this study investigates the social representations of the working lives of seafarers on-board cruise ships. Using the case of Filipino seafarers, one of the nationalities with the largest proportion of workers in the cruise ship sector, this study explores how workers in a globalised industry make sense of their employment experiences in relation to their lives. Q-methodology, a systematic research approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods in studying perspectives, was used to identify shared viewpoints on the working lives of cruise ship employees. Participants were asked to rank-order a set of 48 statements, which represent a range of occupational, organisational and work-related issues that they faced throughout their employment experience, along a fixed grid of agreement/disagreement taking the shape of an inverted pyramid grid (Q-sorts). Participants were also interviewed to elicit the rationales and narratives behind their sorting decisions. Factor analysis of 99 completed Q-sorts yielded four factors which were interpreted as ‘work-views’ or shared and holistic viewpoints on working lives. The accounts of ‘Good-fit’, ‘Troubled’, ‘Professional’ and ‘Ambivalent’ workers capture a more nuanced social representation of the working lives of cruise ship employees than those commonly presented in popular literature. These accounts of the working lives of cruise sector seafarers are discussed, in terms of the concept of work orientation, to highlight the workers’ multiple motivations and expectations of cruise ship employment, and to illustrate the embeddedness of work attitudes in social relationships on-board and in the communities of origin.

Mark Oliver Salariosa Llangco <LlangcoMS> is with the Seafarers International Research Centre, Cardiff University, UK.

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