A social sustainability model for maritime labour force based on card sorting, fuzzy AHP & QFD method

Osman Arslan*, Tuba Kececi, Murat Selcuk Solmaz, Hasan Bora Usluer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Within the context of the ongoing implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development-Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), actions toward economic, environmental, and social sustainability were aimed to be promoted. As a key stakeholder, the maritime industry's role in handling global sustainability is increasingly recognized. Social sustainability, one of the components of sustainable development, is a major concern in the maritime field for protecting the crew and providing a safe working environment. However, it is surprising to note the lack of research addressing the social sustainability of the maritime labour force in the literature. This study aims to propose a social sustainability model for the maritime labour force. The model was constructed using Card Sorting, Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchical Process (FAHP) & Quality Function Deployment (QFD) Methods. Because it discloses the expectations of the maritime labour force and the requirements that can meet these expectations, the authors have been prompted by the QFD method's frequent use in the literature and the fact that it generates the best answers to customer expectations. With the QFD method and House of Quality (HoQ) used to determine the requirements that can meet customer expectations, the requirements that can correspond to the expectations of the maritime labour force have been determined. The use of the card sorting program during the determination of the indicators has been an important point in terms of displaying a scientific approach. In addition, it is aimed to eliminate linguistic ambiguities by using the FAHP method of weighting expectations in the House of Quality method. The results revealed that work-life balance, social benefit, education and training, safety and healthy working environment at sea were the most critical expectations of seafarers, and the wage policy was less important among other expectations from the social sustainability perspective. Moreover, health and safety of people, social insurance and benefits, medical coverage and medical benefits, repatriation, understandable contract, quality and quantity of food, setting up a land-sea-land career management system, short deployment and flexible working time and, establishment of a crew welfare department were found to be the most critical requirements. The study highlights possible implications on managerial aspects and can be used as a practical guideline for decision-makers seeking to implement sustainable development in their organizations. This paper is among research studies' first to apply a hybrid approach and propose a social sustainability model for the maritime labour force. Due to the positive social and environmental effects this study will have, it will not only help seafarers, marine operators, the maritime sector, national and international economy, but also all world societies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101018
JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


This article was produced from Osman Arslan's PhD thesis titled “The Social Sustainability Model for The Maritime Labour Force” written at Pîrî Reis University, Institute of Science and Engineering.

FundersFunder number
Institute of Science and Engineering


    • Card sorting
    • Fuzzy AHP
    • Labour force
    • Maritime transportation
    • QFD method
    • Social sustainability


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