The thesis is concerned with investigating the area of occupational commitment to marine engineering of students from various levels of higher education in maritime institutions. From a general description of socioeconomic change and its relationship to the seafaring profession, the study focuses on the case of Taiwan. A review of literature on commitment demonstrates that commitment may vary as the social-economy changes over time. As technology changes, ships' officers, more specifically marine engineers, are required by shipowners to be educated to degree level. The emphasis in this study is upon the commitment to the shipping industry of young engineering students at university. The theoretical model established takes individual intentions, willingness to study, and occupational commitment, as the dependent variables while students' demographic backgrounds, personal needs and values are taken as the independent variables. The theoretical model is tested with the aid of data from questionnaires administered to a sample of engineering students from various levels of academic institutions. The SPSS statistical package, including factor analysis and chi-squares, is employed on the data analysis. One result is that traditional Chinese cultural values, including "studying is superior to all other professions", and the current entrance examination system for Taiwanese universities, predominate in students "willingness to study", which in turn, affects the occupational commitment of engineering students. Another result shows that the "willingness to study" of students in seafaring-oriented departments is not related to their "occupational commitment". Marine Engineering at sea is not perceived as being able to satisfy the higher level needs of graduates. To overcome this disparity, the job characteristics of ships' engineer officers need redesigning to create a more challenging work context for graduate marine engineers. If, for whatever the reason, the job of the seagoing marine engineer cannot be redesigned to satisfy graduate engineers then the only alternative is to recruit non-graduate seagoing engineers from five year junior colleges.

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