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'If you are a good leader, I am a good follower'

Working and leisure relationships between Danish and Filipino seafarers on board Danish ships.

Fabienne Knudsen

Research Unit of Maritime Medicine 2004. 117 s. ISBN 87-90866-09-6
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

The majority of the crews are multiethnic, and most of the foreigners working on Danish ships are Filipinos. The topic was chosen partly because it preoccupied the Danish seafarers, partly because there was a total lack of knowledge about the experiences of foreigners working in Danish ships. The report is based on 109 interviews with seafarers and other key figures, 80 questionnaires and participant observation. The aim was partly to delineate the interaction at work and leisure time and its influence on the (working) environment, partly to offer practitioners new angles from which to see their practices, partly to conclude in some recommendations. The ethnographic method and the concept of culture are discussed in two opening chapters. The analysis shows a reciprocally reinforcing relationship between structural differences (qualifications, wages, conditions of appointment, hierarchical position) and cultural differences such as the understanding of social relations. The Danes seem to be trapped in a dilemma, having to get along with colleagues who, being cheaper, are regarded as a threat to their future employment. As for the Filipinos, they are marginalised in several ways, which seems to be an obstacle to providing the feedback most Danes would prefer. The analysis reveals that the cooperation can turn into good or vicious circles, mainly depending on the leadership aboard and ashore.