How Power and Control Drive Behaviour & Identity Modification Among Cruise Ship Workers: A Qualitative Study
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This study explores the workplace experiences of maritime hospitality officers on cruise ships. The study aims to evaluate the complexities and common influences of both work and social experiences of cruise ship officers as they negotiate, create and modify their identities in the cruise ship workplace.
The qualitative approach adopted, used semi-structured interviews in a phenomenological paradigm of enquiry, dissecting the connections between power and control of the cruise ship setting as a panoptic environment by drawing on Irving Goffman’s [1922-1982] ‘total institution’ control, where behavioural performances and emotion management modify identities as acts of compliance to the highly regulated environment. The study develops connections between concepts of emotional labour, organisational citizenship behaviours and social identity to explain how compliance is demanded both on and off duty leading to behavioural, emotional and identity modification.
The thematic analysis reveals how cruise ship officers create a cruise ship-based identity or Lifeworld, which is different from their perceptions of themselves in their Homeworld. Being an environment that is unique, cruise ship officers have to adapt and adopt new identities as they sacrifice previous identities, adjusting themselves to meet the exacting and continuous organisational demands of the cruise ship, its passengers and co-workers.
The study offers insights hitherto unconsidered by the limited research that exists on cruise ships. Using an exploratory, in-depth account of the working lives of hospitality workers on cruise ships, the study reflects on several important considerations for tackling work-based emotion and behavioural performance issues relating to the employment of cruise ship officers.
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