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The human resource strategies of Chinese state crewing agencies with special reference to labour export and the experience of Chinese seafarers

Zhao, Zhiwei 2011. The human resource strategies of Chinese state crewing agencies with special reference to labour export and the experience of Chinese seafarers. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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The Chinese shipping industry is one of the fastest developing sectors in the Chinese economy. However, few studies have explored the changes within it, especially concerning its human resource element - seafarers - and the newly formed crewing agencies through which they are employed. This research seeks to explore the contemporary experience of Chinese seafarers and especially how this is impacted by the management strategies of Chinese crewing agencies. In doing so, it contributes to debates about changes in Chinese society - that is, whether the economic reform has led to a new market economy in China. The idea of the emergence of a modernized, free Chinese seafarer labour market is critically examined through research into the employment and labour supply strategies of two ship crewing agencies, which have been reformed to different degrees, and the experience of the seafarers who work for them. The research utilises qualitative methods, with twenty-two managers and fifty seafarers being interviewed extensively, supplemented by documentary research. It seeks to explain why China's seafaring labour export is far lower than people have expected. It is seen that it is difficult to characterise China's seafarer labour market as a free market. The state has limited the liberalization of the market by granting foreign manning qualification to less than sixty state-owned crewing agencies. It is seen that institutions at higher levels still intervene in the operation of the agencies, with their management consequently showing a lack of market orientation to different extents, which constrains the development of China's labour export. It is also difficult to characterise the movement of Chinese seafarers in the labour market as free movement. The argument that Chinese economic reform leads to the transformation of Chinese seafarers into freelancers, which implies a substantial increase of seafarer export due to the attractiveness of working in foreign shipping companies, is too simplistic. In addition, the wages of Chinese seafarers working in the global labour market are lower than the international benchmark rates and are not necessarily higher than the payments by domestic shipping companies. This weakens the willingness of Chinese seafarers to work in foreign shipping companies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISBN: 9781303196140
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:30

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