ON-FARM INNOVATION IN THE AUSTRALIAN WOOL INDUSTRY : A SENSEMAKING PERSPECTIVE

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Abstract

In agricultural innovation, the success of widely used technologies is often assumed to have been inevitable. Conversely, the blame for the failure of new technologies that researchers, policy makers and extensionists consider superior to existing solutions is often placed on farmers. However, these assumptions can be challenged by taking a social-constructivist view of on-farm innovation to examine how and why farmers made sense of new technologies and how this sensemaking shaped their use of these technologies over time. The present study took such an approach in its analysis of Australian woolgrowers’ adoption, abandonment, implementation and use of new wool-testing technologies that highlighted the social and dynamic nature of innovation on-farm. On-farm innovation in this case was an evolving, dynamic process that changed over time as woolgrowers made sense of new technologies. The primary message to agricultural innovation researchers, technology developers, policy makers and extensionists is that successful on-farm innovation requires the active, ongoing engagement of industry participants. In order to engage industry participants in the innovation process, sensemakers’ personal identity frames and social context, and how these interpretation frameworks relate to the new technology need to be understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-312
JournalExperimental Agriculture
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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