How Ship Managers Perceive the Operational Efficiency of Shipping Companies: A Qualitative Inquiry


  • Saravanan Venkadasalam Akademi Laut Malaysia, Malaysia


Business process, Business strategy, Semi-structured interview, Narrative analysis, Deductive encoding


In this study, we investigated ship managers' perceptions of shipping companies' operational efficiency. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five respondents: two from Malaysia and three from Singapore. Further, we constructed four new themes from the interviews, consisting of fifteen categories and eighty-eight new subcategories. In general, this paper proposed two new conceptual frameworks and an improvised physical-efficiency model. This paper is the first to analyze the shipping efficiency qualitatively in this region to the best of our knowledge.


Arthur, J. “Effects of Human Resource Systems on Manufacturing Performance and Turnover.” Academy of Management Journal 37, no. 3 (1994): 670–87.

Asariotis, R., H. Benamara, J. Hoffmann, A. Premti, R. Sanchez, V. Valentine, G. Wilmsmeier, and F. Youssef. “Review of Maritime Transport 2015.” United Nations. Geneva: United Nations Publication, 2015.

ASEAN Secretariat. “ASEAN Statistical Yearbook 2018.” 2018.

Broadberry, S.N., and R. Fremdling. “Comparative Productivity in British and German Industry 1907-37.” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 52, no. 4 (1990): 403–21.

Caplice, C., and Y. Sheffi. “A Review and Evaluation of Logistics Metrics.” The International Journal of Logistics Management 5, no. 2 (1994): 11–28.

Chang, H.-J., and L.-C. Liao. “Using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) Model to Evaluate the Operational Efficiency.” African Journal of Business Management 6, no. 37 (2012): 10143–58.

Flux, A.W. “Industrial Productivity in Great Britain and the United States.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 48, no. 1 (1933): 1–38.

Førsund, F.R. “A Comparison of Parametric and Non-Parametric Efficiency Measures: The Case of Norwegian Ferries.” Journal of Productivity Analysis 3, no. 1–2 (1992): 25–43.

Gökgöz, F., and D. Çandarli. “Data Envelopment Analysis?: A Comparative Measurement for Turkish Pension and Mutual Funds.” International Journal of Economic Perspectives 5, no. 3 (2011): 261–81.

Greenhalgh, T., J. Russell, and D. Swinglehurst. “Narrative Methods in Quality Improvement Research.” Quality and Safety in Health Care 14 (2005): 443–49.

Gutiérrez, E., S. Lozano, and S. Furió. “Evaluating Efficiency of International Container Shipping Lines: A Bootstrap DEA Approach.” Maritime Economics & Logistics 16, no. 1 (2014): 55–71.

Ha, Y.S., K.J. Chung, and J.S. Seo. “An Analysis of Korea-ASEAN Trade and Its Implications for the Shipping Industry in Korea.” Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics 32, no. 2 (2016): 63–71.

Iqbal, B.A., and M.N. Rahman. “Contribution of ASEAN-6 SMEs to Economic Growth of ASEAN.” Economics World 3, no. 11–12 (2015): 258–69.

Isobe, T., S. Makino, S., and D. Montgomery. “Technological Capabilities and Firm Performance: The Case of Small Manufacturing Firms in Japan.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management 25 (2008): 413–28.

Kim, D.H., K.H. Lee, B.S. Bae, and S.W. Park. “Productive Efficiency of the Sandfish Arctoscopus Japonicus Coastal Gillnet Fishery Using Stochastic Frontier Analysis.” Fisheries Science 77 (2011): 35–40.

Kirkley, J.E., D. Squires, D., and I.E. Strand. “Assessing Technical Efficiency in Commercial Fisheries: The Mid-Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 77, no. 3 (1995): 686–97.

Kompas, T., and T. N. Che. “Efficiency Gains and Cost Reductions from Individual Transferable Quotas: A Stochastic Cost Frontier for the Australian South East Fishery.” Journal of Productivity Analysis 23 (2005): 285–307.

Kuwahara, Y., S. Nagata, A. Taguchi, T. Naruse, and S. Murashima. “Measuring the Efficiencies of Visiting Nurse Service Agencies Using Data Envelopment Analysis.” Health Care Management Science 16, no. 3 (2013): 228–35.

MacDonald, S., and N. Headlam. Research Methods Handbook: Introductory Guide to Research Methods for Social Research. Manchester: Centre for Local Economic Strategies, 2008.

Managi, S. “Maritime Shipping Industry and Productivity in Japan.” Maritime Economics & Logistics 9 (2007): 291–301.

McKinnon, A. C., and Y. Ge. “Use of a Synchronised Vehicle Audit to Determine Opportunities for Improving Transport Efficiency in a Supply Chain.” International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications 7, no. 3 (2004): 219–38.

Mentzer, T. J., and P.B. Konrad. “An Efficiency / Effectiveness Approach to Logistics Performance Analysis.” Journal of Business Logistics 12, no. 1 (1991): 33–62.

Miles, Miles B., A. Michael Huberman and Johnny Saldaña. Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook (3rd Edition). London, England: Sage Publications, 1994.

Mitroussi, K. “Ship Management: Contemporary Developments and Implications.” Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics 29, no. 2 (2013): 229–48.

Nguyen, T. T. “An Investigation of the Vietnamese Shipping Industry and Policy Recommendations for Profound Participation into ASEAN Integration.” Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics 32, no. 2 (2016): 81–8.

Odeck, J. “Efficiency Measurement of Ferries Serving Road Networks in Norway: A Stochastic Frontier Approach.” Maritime Economics and Logistics 10 (2008): 409–28.

Pascoe, S., T. Hutton, I. Van Putten, D. Dennis, T. Skewes, É. Plagányi, and R. Deng. “DEA-Based Predictors for Estimating Fleet Size Changes When Modelling the Introduction of Rights-Based Management.” European Journal of Operational Research 230, no. 3 (2013): 681–87.

Rosli, M.M., and S. Sidek. “The Impact of Innovation on the Performance of Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprises: Evidence from Malaysia.” Journal of Innovation Management in Small & Medium Enterprise 2013 (2013): 1–16.

Rostas, L. “Industrial Production, Productivity and Distribution in Britain, Germany and the United States.” The Economic Journal 53, no. 209 (1943): 39–54.

Samuelsson, A., and B. Tilanus. “A Framework Efficiency Model for Goods Transportation, with an Application to Regional Less-than-Truckload Distribution.” Transport Logistics 1, no. 2 (1997): 139–51.

Saunders, Mark, Philip Lewis, and Adrian Thornhill. Research Methods for Business Students (5th Edition). Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2009.

Sharma, K. R., and P. Leung. “Technical Efficiency of the Longline Fishery in Hawaii: An Application of a Stochastic Production Frontier.” Marine Resources Economics 13, no. 4 (1998): 259–74.

Smith, A. D., D.M.W.N. Hitchens, and S.W. Davies. “International Industrial Productivity?: A Comparison Of Britain, America, and Germany.” National Institute Economic Review 34, no. 4 (1982): 13–25.

Sowlati, T. “Efficiency Studies in Forestry Using Data Envelopment Analysis.” Forest Products Journal 55, no. 1 (2005): 49–57.

Talas, E., A.K. Çelik, F. Çakmak, F.A. Kocacan, and A. Karaibrahimoglu. “Relative Efficiency Measurement of Enterprises Operating in the Oltu Stone Industry Using Data Envelopment Analysis.” International Journal of Business and Management 8, no. 6 (2013): 115–27.

Yeung, G., and V. Mok. “ISO 9000 Certification and Technical Efficiency of Foreign-Financed Manufacturing Firms in Southern China: A Stochastic Frontier Approach.” Journal of Economic Studies 35, no. 5 (2008): 385–404.




How to Cite

Venkadasalam, S. (2022). How Ship Managers Perceive the Operational Efficiency of Shipping Companies: A Qualitative Inquiry. International Journal of Economics, Management and Accounting, 30(2), 429–449. Retrieved from