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AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Rosita Kouwenaar, NUIG and RERC, Teagasc Advisors: Mr. Kevin Heanue, RERC, Teagasc, Athenry. Dr. Rachel Hilliard,

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Presentation on theme: "AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Rosita Kouwenaar, NUIG and RERC, Teagasc Advisors: Mr. Kevin Heanue, RERC, Teagasc, Athenry. Dr. Rachel Hilliard,"— Presentation transcript:

1 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Rosita Kouwenaar, NUIG and RERC, Teagasc Advisors: Mr. Kevin Heanue, RERC, Teagasc, Athenry. Dr. Rachel Hilliard, Department of Management/CISC, NUIG. Monday, March 2 nd 2009

2 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 OUTLINE  Rationale  Objective  Theoretical Basis  Methodological Approach  Preliminary Fieldwork and Results  Discussion  Future Work Monday, March 2 nd 2009

3 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Rationale  Monitor Farms (MFs) implement best practice in all farming systems (i.e. dairy, drystock and tillage)  A lot of data available on the technical performance of MFs compared to general population of farms  However, little is known about the impact of MFs on the general population of farmers including: - types of knowledge transferred - mechanisms of knowledge transfer and diffusion Monday, March 2 nd 2009

4 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Rationale Cont’d  The dairy system is one of the most important sectors in Ireland and in 2007 it had the highest FFI compared to other systems (NFS 2007 p.11)  Dairy monitor farms are studied, as they are the longest established and have the largest amount of available data  Each programme usually consists of MFs accounting up to 100 dairy MFs, i.e. accounts for up to 83% of all MFs (120 MFs in total) Monday, March 2 nd 2009

5 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Objective of the paper The purpose of the paper (i.e. for OLKC) is to reflect on the OL conceptual framework with the preliminary fieldwork in order to clarify hypotheses for main empirical work KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER PROCESS??? Monitor Farms Monitor Farms Monitor Farms Demonstration of Best Practice Client Farmers Knowledge/Technology transfer processes Diffusion to the wider community? ? ? ? Monday, March 2 nd 2009 ? ?

6 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 MF programmes Events held for information and technology transfer include:  Farm walks/Demonstration  Seminars  Media: Press articles and radio  News letters: from both Teagasc and industry partner  Discussion Groups  Clinics – Milk recording  Farm visits  Booklet  Courses to further enhance technology transfer. Monday, March 2 nd 2009

7 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Theoretical Basis  Knowledge transfer and accumulation is principally driven by learning – which is the general framework encompassing related concepts of knowledge, technology, adoption, etc.  Learning is the process that enables knowledge creation or skill acquisition through study, the transformation of experience or teaching. It also includes altering ways of thinking, ways of seeing, belief systems and routines. Finally, learning is essentially context dependent Monday, March 2 nd 2009

8 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Theoretical Basis Cont’d  Given the vast literature on learning, one mechanism used for this study corresponds to David A. Kolb’s (1984) model of experiential learning  Experiential learning is applied to MFs and involves three key components pertinent to farm management: (1) first and second order experiences; (2) Reflection; and (3) Dialogue  Transfer and learning activities fundamentally involve monitor farmers, Teagasc advisors, client farmers, partner industries, and the wider farming community – so a great deal of social network or interaction is taking place through MF programmes Monday, March 2 nd 2009

9 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Experiential Learning  First order experiences correspond past tacit experiences or knowledge, e.g., grazing techniques  Second order experiences develop when the first order experiences are challenged by uncertainty of and turbulence in the environment prompting reflection on their reconsideration and modification, e.g. grazing techniques in wet conditions  Reflection encompasses thinking about and analyzing problematic situation to identify possible solutions and actions to be taken  Dialogue corresponds to discourse during collective problem solving while avoiding imposing anyone’s point of view on the situation Monday, March 2 nd 2009

10 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 What is the Organisation?  Organisation is defined at a system level within which two or more persons consciously coordinate activities or forces. The Open organisational system is able to respond to environmental changes to promote learning and its viability  Overall organisation then consists of MFs as well as farmers concerned in the wider community  Figure illustrated in the next slide Monday, March 2 nd 2009

11 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Social Structure comprised of norms, culture and behaviour Monitor Farms EAS Participants such as monitor farmers, advisers, and anyone involved in MF programmes Goals and routines Technology both artefact and codified knowledge Environment Wider farming community MFs and the wider farming community as an open organisational system Monday, March 2 nd 2009

12 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Why Organisational Learning?  Generally, organisational learning refers to the study of the learning processes of and within organisations, at several levels of analysis (e.g., individual, group, social, network, etc.)  For MF programmes, we’re interested in the learning processes used by monitor farmers and the wider farming community to adapt to environmental changes Monday, March 2 nd 2009

13 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Methodological approach  Participant observation is one of the hallmarks of qualitative research and it consists in observing through regular participation in the naturally occurring activities of the social groupings being studied (e.g., DG meetings and open day events taking place on MFs) to provide the key characteristic or dynamics of the research setting  This method can pick up subtle attitudes, behaviours, or informal discussions among farmers and advisors  Participant observation was the general method used while visiting 15 MFs and a survey was conducted in the last 6 MF visits Monday, March 2 nd 2009

14 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Preliminary Fieldwork  Programmes with Dairygold and Glanbia  15 MFs visited in southern ROI based on availability and able to make contact with  Fieldwork took place between June and November 2008  Out of 15 visits, 2 were DG meetings and 13 were MF open day events  DG meetings took place on MFs and hosted by its owner  Open days events are accessible to the public  Knowledge pushed: 1) grass land management; (2) artificial insemination (AI) – genetics/ herd disease risk control; and (3) Labour saving management by farming smarter. Monday, March 2 nd 2009

15 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Preliminary Results  Observation of the DG meetings helped determine a few things: - one specific topic is addressed (e.g., meeting about grass land management and budget) to reinforce learning through reflection and discourse on issues raised - Problem oriented - Entire process is evidence of experiential learning  Observation of MF open days: - Topics covered are much wider, i.e. Involves all three knowledge that Teagasc’s trying to push - Different farmers attend for different reasons, i.e. Visit for specific knowledge or technology - Vast information is being exchanged while visitors observe monitor farmers’ experience results (i.e. Learning while observing – social learning)  The main contribution of the survey was to identify the number of Teagasc non- clients attending open days, which was very few compared to clients. Acknowledge that it cannot be representative of the general population Monday, March 2 nd 2009

16 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Discussion  In terms of methodology used, participant observation was useful in gathering characteristics of both DG meetings and open day events. However, it is not the appropriate method to capture fully farmers’ perception on these events in helping them learn  Difficult at getting learning issues through a survey method  Evidently, DG meetings encompass both codified and tacit knowledge information but this distinction may not be as obvious while only observing open day farm walks. Although it is obvious that during the latter codified knowledge is being shared. Monday, March 2 nd 2009

17 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 What’s next?  It is likely that different outcomes arise from alternative knowledge transfer mechanisms associated with MFs. There’s a need to identify whether visiting farmers have changed their routines and behaviours as a result of MF events by conducting interviews for instance  Knowledge implemented by Teagasc is codified so is this the only one transferred through MF programmes? What about knowledge transferred beyond the programme, i.e. Farmer-to-farmer, would there be also tacit knowledge?  Given the concept of OL and the use of MFs as an organisational open system, three levels of analysis are possible: group, social and network level. Which one will it be?  An idea to conduct this project is to do a case study of dairy MF while focusing on a specific technology, e.g., grass land management, by tracking its trajectory within the wider farming community Monday, March 2 nd 2009

18 AESI Annual Student Competition 2008 Monday, March 2 nd 2009


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