New Visiting Research Fellow for AY 2011-12

Ms. Hanne Borgersen, Industrial PhD Research Fellow of the Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen (UiB), Norway, recently arrived as Visiting Research Fellow at SDRC effective October 2011 to April 2012. Her project, “Authentic Leadership in the Maritime Industry,” is being conducted in conjunction with human resource (HR) activities in Grieg Shipping Group. Consisting of three separate studies, it is for a specific phase of Study 2 that Ms. Borgersen will establish contact with social science researchers in the Philippines. This study is guided by a leadership concept rooted in humanistic psychology (“authentic leadership”); and by previous research indicating that good leadership is characterized by effective interpersonal skills, and that leadership development processes should be aligned with organization development interventions to succeed. The study will be a qualitative exploration of how Filipino Marine Masters experience their leadership role onboard Norwegian-owned vessels, and how they describe their emergence as leaders in the international shipping industry.

Safe shipping and loss prevention is an important priority in preparing for the next generation of maritime standards and safe shipping across the world. However, there is a lack of studies pertaining to leadership as an antecedent to safety on board, even though a number of studies have found that leadership behavior is a critical factor that is closely linked to the safety climate (safety perceptions and attitudes) in organizations. An accumulating body of research has also linked safety climate to risk perception, unsafe work behavior, rule violations, and accidents and injuries at work. Previous research has indicated that human factors and social processes are key contributors to maritime accidents, while emerging research indicates that the authentic leadership concept— which involves owning one’s personal experiences (values, thoughts, emotions and beliefs) as well as acting in accordance with one’s true self (expressing what you really think and believe, and behaving accordingly)—may provide a suitable framework for increased knowledge of the human element in workplace safety. Hence, the PhD project will explore authentic leadership as an approach to the next generation of safety critical training and development initiatives in the shipping industry.

Ms. Borgersen obtained her masteral and undergraduate degrees in Work and Organizational Psychology from the University of Bergen, and is currently an HR consultant with the Grieg Shipping Group. She has also worked as a saddler and harnessmaker in Oslo, and has been a divemaster in Khao Lak, Thailand. As Visiting Research Fellow, she will be working together with SDRC Research Fellow and Behavioral Sciences faculty member Ms. Myla M. Arcinas, who will provide the sociological lens and Organizational Development (OD) perspective of looking at “Authentic Leadership in the Maritime Industry”.