Knowledge capture to inform sustainable maritime operations

Andrei Kuznetsov (Plymouth Graduate School of Management, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK)
John Dinwoodie (Plymouth Graduate School of Management, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK)
David Gibbs (Department of Geography, Hull University, Hull, UK)
Mark Sansom (Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Falmouth, UK)
Harriet Knowles (Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Falmouth, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 3 July 2017



The purpose of this paper is to report an explicit taxonomy of maritime operations (MO) to guide harbour masters (HMs) of smaller ports in planning more sustainable operations.


This research presents strategies for building theory to promote more sustainable port management in a two-stage research design. Starting from a base taxonomy in research Stage 1, ethnographic content analysis (ECA) of a sparse prior literature on MO generated a tentative taxonomy. In Stage 2, interviews to capture tacit practitioner knowledge refined the tentative taxonomy into a credible practitioner-informed final taxonomy.


ECA offers researchers a powerful tool to analyse complex operational problems. In this paper MOs are represented in an explicit taxonomy.

Practical implications

A final taxonomy of MOs guides sustainability strategy formulation by HMs and assists them to protect vital commercial revenues which serve supply chains and local communities.


An explicit final taxonomy of MO is derived using a novel methodology. The taxonomy guides sustainability strategy formulation and underpins subsequent planning of sustainable development policies.



Kuznetsov, A., Dinwoodie, J., Gibbs, D., Sansom, M. and Knowles, H. (2017), "Knowledge capture to inform sustainable maritime operations", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 7, pp. 882-897.

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