Dennett, Adam (2013) An Investigation of Work, Life and Community On-board Cruise Ships: A Hospitality Perspective. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research provides a sociological understanding of front line hospitality staff, focusing particularly on waiters and pursers that are employed on cruise ships. Its purpose is to evaluate the complexities and richness of their work and social experiences as they negotiate, create and justify their identities and community formations in the unique and under-researched environment of a cruise ship. Conceptually, the research investigates the inevitable and inextricable links between identity, work and community to explore their perceptions of themselves, others and their world.

To comprehend some of the complexity of work and life, the study uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods through online questionnaires and interviews. The methods used are both guided and to some extent restricted because of the lack of co-operation from the firms involved towards carrying out research on cruise ship workers. An online questionnaire, able to reach a mobile and transient population, is exploratory and descriptive in focus offering a preliminary opportunity to highlight key indicators of relationships and patterns in a field where there has been little research. To further develop understanding, data was gathered from twenty semi structured interviews and was analysed thematically and metaphorically.

The broader thematic analysis identified how space, time and the system of the ship had an impact upon one‟s occupation and relationships, while the deeper metaphor analysis was able to creatively gather an “insider‟s” view of the participant‟s work, community and cruise ship environment. What is clear, from this study, is that all participants created a ship-based identity, which was different from how they perceived themselves on land. Being an environment that is unique, workers have to adapt, adopt and sacrifice - their previous identity has to be reshaped to meet the criteria of the place and system of the ship. Waiters were significantly more likely to define themselves and their world based upon their occupational perceptions and relationship with management, while pursers reflected upon their social and personal opportunities as a tool for self definition.

The outcomes of the research present an exploratory, in-depth account of the working lives of hospitality workers on cruise ships. The findings will be of value and relevance to cruise ship operators when tackling social issues relating to the employment of cruise ship workers.

Adam_Dennett,_complete_thesis_May2013.pdf - Accepted Version

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