WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 365–384 | Cite as

Challenges of multinational crewing: a qualitative study with cadets

  • Michael Brenker
  • Sarah Möckel
  • Maike Küper
  • Sinah Schmid
  • Monique Spann
  • Stefan Strohschneider


As the maritime industry’s workforce has become thoroughly globalized, multinational crews have become the norm at sea. Little is known about how seafarers perceive and deal with working in multinational crews. This article sets out to generate a picture of the challenges of multinational crewing as they are experienced by young seafarers. Drawing on the transcripts of three focus group discussions with 15 German cadets, we conducted a content analysis to identify central challenges of multinational crewing as identified by our participants. Among these challenges are individual attitudes and expectations, collaboration and cohabitation, and language issues. We suggest measures to reduce the challenges related to multinational crewing, including the levels of preparation and follow-up procedures, teamwork and leadership, and human resource management. Among the measures discussed are structured debriefings for cadets after their first contracts and raising cultural awareness for those involved in selecting and hiring crews. Furthermore, we discuss the role of the captain in fostering team spirit among crew members and helping to overcome some immediate challenges of multinational crewing. We conclude by discussing limitations of our research and by proposing ways to further expand research on seafarers’ views on work and life at sea.


Multinational crewing Structured debriefings Cadets 


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Copyright information

© World Maritime University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Brenker
    • 1
  • Sarah Möckel
    • 1
  • Maike Küper
    • 1
  • Sinah Schmid
    • 1
  • Monique Spann
    • 1
  • Stefan Strohschneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group Intercultural and Complex Working WorldsFriedrich Schiller University, JenaJenaGermany

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