Distributed leadership and seafarers' emergency response in a simulated navigation environment
Authors: Delna Shroff
Abstract: Merchant shipping is an occupation with a high rate of fatal injuries caused by accidents and maritime disasters. Human error plays a massive role in accidents; however, the shipping industry lacks substantial human factors research. A human factor, particularly leadership, has been implicated in numerous maritime disasters. However, there is a tendency for most research to focus on holders of formal positions. A lot of previous work on leadership has been carried out on the assumption that leadership rests with a single leader. The current study adopts a practice-based perspective to examine distributed leadership among seafarers. A simulation is used to investigate the relationship between one form of distributed leadership i.e., planfully aligned leadership, and the emergency response of the team members in a simulated navigation environment. The results showed that planfully aligned leadership was a positive and significant predictor of the team’s emergency response as compared to authoritarian leadership. This study makes a shift from the unitary view of the leader to a more practice-based perspective whereby leadership is conceived of as a collective social process emerging through the interactions of multiple actors seems to be the need of the hour. It would be worthwhile to study different configurations of distributed leadership and analyze the factors that facilitate distributed leadership.
Keywords: Distributed Leadership, Planfully Aligned Leadership, Practice, Maritime, Emergency Response, Navigation
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