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Shipboard Employees Management Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2020


The case study focuses on a scenario that comprises of Charles Xavier, who strongly believes that employees working in the ship have to be happy and full of passion. The case study presents a state where Xavier, the captain, tries to initiate some strategies so that he would create happiness, passion, and satisfaction among all members of the crew. Some of the strategies that Xavier employs included empowerment of the chief officer by entrusting him with the management of the deck crew so that the chief officer would be ready for his future position or role. Another strategy, which Xavier employs, is motivation of employees by arranging parties for them every weekend so that they could experience relieve and rejuvenate These strategies focused the concept of a happy ship, which the captain of the ship desired and thus worked very hard to achieve it. Therefore, the essay examines the effectiveness of the strategies employed by Xavier Charles, the captain, in the management of the ship’s crew.

General Management Theory

The general management theory that Xavier used in the ship, included concepts and ideas that comprise delegation of duties, the division of labour, discipline, initiative, and teamwork. Xavier designed these concepts and ideas in a manner that would assist the crew in achieving proper control and organization in the ship in terms of leadership. By entrusting the chief officer with the role of management of the deck, Xavier was delegating his duties and roles with the intention of empowering him to learn and prepare for future roles. Additionally, Xavier believed that the concept of delegation of duties would be helpful in motivating the crew and reinforcing them in performing their duties. However, the strategy employed by Xavier was not effective, as it did not conform to the requirements of the management theory.

The chief officer felt that the workload was more than he could bear. As a result, he started delegating some duties to the juniors who looked at the issue of delegation as an act of dictatorship and autocratic. Autocratic management style does not value employees since it dictates their duties, operations and performance (Gennard & Judge, 2005). Therefore, the strategy failed to achieve the desired goal of enhancing productivity and happiness. Consequently, Xavier failed to use the management theories to properly control, plan, command, and oversee the duties of the employees in the ship. Since management theories help managers and supervisors to oversee and effectively plan the duties of an organization, Xavier would utilize them in enhancing teamwork and enthusiasm among the crew. Furthermore, the fact that he entrusted the chief officer with the duties of the deck staff implies that Xavier did have insufficient knowledge in the management of the ship.

Leadership and motivation

As the captain of the ship, Xavier played the role of motivating and ensuring that employees in the vessel were treated well. Additionally, he demonstrated the right leadership so that the employees would follow and emulate. However, he did not provide the required leadership and control over the employees in the ship; but instead, he gave directives and commands to his junior, the chief officer, who control the staff.

According to Shields (2007), it is important for an organization to employ a management theory that motivates its employees by addressing their needs. Therefore, the captain did not exercise the right type of leadership, but on the contrary, he exercised autocratic style of management that affected the passage of information between the management and the crew. From the case study, it is evident that issues of displeasure were everywhere in the ship since the management and the employees were conflicting.

Managers and supervisors have a requirement to provide a type of leadership that encourages good communication between the employees and the management. Additionally, the concerns raised by employees and subordinates need adequate attention from the management as they determine the attitude that employees of an organization develop towards the management. Krausert (2009) explains that organizations need to appreciate their employees and enhance their morale so that they can increase productivity. In the case study, Xavier did not provide the platform where employee concerns would receive the right attention from the management.

The ineffective nature of management that did not provide relevant attention to the employees is clear when the master tells the chief engineer to manage his own crew when he tried to raise the matter in a meeting. Therefore, it is obvious that the management was unwilling to listen to any of the challenges that the employees encountered in the course of duty. In trying to solve the problem, Xavier chose Sunday parties as a way of boosting employee morale, a proposition that he decided without consulting his supervisors or the employees.

Human Behaviour and Group Behaviour

The ship composed of many individuals who have different traits. The traits presented by these crewmembers required diverse ways of management. However, instead of employing a good leadership style, which would cause a favourable interaction and good communication, the captain used an autocratic style of management. The style comprised of directives and commands issued by the superiors to the junior employees in the vessel.

Organizations need to understand and address different needs presented by employees who have divergent personalities (Shields, 2007). Consequently, the style occasioned poor communication and led to a breakdown in the operations of the ship. The captain was not attentive and responsive to the needs of the subordinate or supervisors whenever they raised an issue that concerned the crew, but dismissed the concerns and chose his own ways to solve problems. The style of management created a gap between the management and the crew who developed a negative attitude towards the management and strategized on how to exit the ship.

As the captain, Xavier should understand that teamwork, good relationship, and flexibility are among the major components that would enhance the management of operations in the ship. However, he did not incorporate these components into the leadership style that he chose. When some crewmembers developed a good relationship and teamed up as friends, he dismissed the association and called it an informal grouping.

Essentially, the association would be instrumental in enhancing teamwork and promoting the activities of the vessel. In addition, by discouraging associations in the ship, dismissing employee concerns, and using autocratic management style, Xavier was orchestrating bad relationship among employees. According to Krausert (2009) smart organizations employ socialization programmes to enhance teamwork and promote productivity in their workforce. Flexibility is a very important component as it encourages employees to engage in a number of duties and reduces issues of sticking to one’s job specifications. Conversely, the master of the ship discouraged flexibility and encouraged the crew to stick to their job descriptions. When the chief engineer raised the concern before the crewmembers, the master quickly dismissed it and told him to manage his own department.

Conflict Resolution

From the case study, there exists a conflict among employees. The management issues directives and the crewmembers perceive the directives as dictatorial and domineering. As a result, the crewmembers started developing a negative attitude towards the management and strategized to exit. Although a certain level of conflict is required in an organization to facilitate its operations, numerous conflicts lead to low performance and bad relationships among employees (O’Rourke & Collins, 2008).

Instead of trying to develop good relationships with the crew, the captain issues directives and later devised his own ways of solving the problem in the ship. It is imperative to note that good managers and leaders listen to their subordinates and address the concerns of employees. However, Xavier the captain dismissed the attempts to inform him of the prevailing state of affairs.

In the case study, the main cause of the conflict is the communication breakdown occasioned by poor leadership and management of the crew. The autocratic management style used by the captain discourages any kind of communication and forces employees to stay as solitary beings. Additionally, the management style discourages suggestions and ideas from the junior staff since it makes the suggestions from employees to appear as form rebellion against the management. Poor communication and bad management styles lead to communication breakdown and result in a conflict (Shields, 2007). Therefore, the captain failed to institute the right communication channels that reduce conflicts in the ship, but used old-fashion management styles, which worsened the magnitude of conflicts in the ship.


Good communication is a critical requirement for the success of an organization, as it helps in building good relationship among employees. When organizations employ good communication, which facilitates efficient passage of information from the management to the employees and from the employees to the management, conflicts among employees reduce (Krausert, 2009). Effective communication system ensures that some underlying problems and employee grievances get solutions at early stages, and hence, cases of conflicts reduce. In the case study, the ship crew had poor communication system that did not facilitate good communication among the crew.

The captain used orders and directives instead of using direct correspondence or meetings with the employees. After delegating operations to the chief officer, Xavier should have undertaken frequent supervision other than leaving everything in the hands of the chief officer. Therefore, the main cause of problems in the ship transpired due to poor communication between the crew and the management.


Good management of employees enhances development and growth of an organization because employees are the determinants of an organization’s success or failure. In the case study, the captain failed to institute the right leadership and management style in the ship thus leading to dissatisfaction among employees. Additional, autocratic management style that the captain chose is outdated because it has a number of shortcomings. Xavier dismissed any attempts from his juniors, who wanted to give him information concerning the affairs of the ship. However, Xavier devised his own solutions to the problems in the ship. As a result, the crew started looking for exit avenues. Therefore, the strategies employed by Xavier in the management of the crew were not effective in achieving goals and objectives of management of employees.


Gennard, J., &.Judge, G. (2005). Employee Relations. London: CIPD Publishing. Web.

Krausert, A. (2009). Performance Management for Different Employee Groups: A Contribution to Employment Systems Theory. London: Springer. Web.

O’Rourke, J., &.Collins, S. (2008). Module 3: Managing Conflict and Workplace Relationships. London: Cengage Learning. Web.

Shields, J. (2007). Managing Employee Performance and Reward: Concepts, Practices, Strategies. London: Cambridge University Press. Web.

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