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'Between a rock and a hard place': the implications of lost autonomy and trust for professionals at sea

Sampson, Helen ORCID:, Turgo, Nelson ORCID:, Acejo, Iris, Ellis, Neil ORCID: and Tang, Lijun ORCID: 2019. 'Between a rock and a hard place': the implications of lost autonomy and trust for professionals at sea. Work, Employment and Society 33 (4) , pp. 648-665. 10.1177/0950017018821284

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This article describes changes associated with increased bureaucratisation and surveillance in the regulation and management of the 21st century shipping industry. Drawing upon 303 ‘real-life’ vignette-based interviews, it describes how these transformations are experienced by contemporary navigating officers, and engineers, working on commercial cargo vessels. The article draws attention to the dysfunctional effects of distrust in organisations, describing how lost trust and associated fears impact on the decision-making process of officers thereby inducing a degree of organisational paralysis. This finding may be of particular significance to employers who have introduced punishment-centred bureaucratisation in order to improve organisational efficiency and who are concurrently undermining it.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0950-0170
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 2 December 2018
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 11:35

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