John SitkaFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


John R. Duryea


Affective Learning Objectives, Emotional Intelligence, Maritime Education, Maritime Junior Watch Officers, Mentoring Novice Decision Making


Adult and Continuing Education Administration | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The tanker Exxon Valdez and cruise ship Empress of the North were each involved in a major incident involving poor decision making by the junior officer on watch, resulting in the grounding of their vessels. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative study was to describe the decision-making process of 15 maritime junior watch officers in a high-resolution simulation in adverse-condition scenarios. Data collection utilized observations, interviews and a self-efficacy assessment. For data analysis I used the constant comparative method applied to the data, developing codes, which were analyzed and reduced to 3 key themes: (a) the Decision-Making Process, (b) Factors in Decision Making, and (c) Motivations and Solutions to Decision Making. The findings suggested that working or short-term memory; emotional intelligence; self-efficacy; and skills, rules and knowledge were major factors of how successfully novice decision makers made their decisions. At least 2 of these factors are within the affective domain. The results indicated that maritime educators who utilize teaching aids and methods that stimulate the affective domain as early as possible in the education process will be promoting growth in the decision-making skills of students. The results also indicated that implementation of a mentoring program within the maritime industry and making it a part of the normal practice for new officers will continue to foster strong decision-making skills. To that end, curriculum for leadership and managerial skills courses required in maritime education should include benefits of a mentoring program and how such a program should be implemented.