Co-production of Knowledge in Multi-stakeholder Processes: Analyzing Joint Experimentation as Social Learning

E. Akpo, T.A. Crane, P. Vissoh, C.R. Tossou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Changing research design and methodologies regarding how researchers articulate with end-users of technology is an important consideration in developing sustainable agricultural practices. This paper analyzes a joint experiment as a multi-stakeholder process and contributes to understand how the way of organizing social learning affects stakeholders’ ownership of process outcomes. Design/Methodology/Approach:A learning group composed of the different stakeholders of the oil palm seed system in Benin was set around a joint experiment. We use a detailed account of the group dynamics to understand the social process. Findings: The way the process is designed and conducted has a great effect on the ownership by the participants. Methodological steps taken in this research process showed its efficacy to produce quick and positive feedback mechanisms. Stakeholders’ perspectives on what constitutes a quality oil palm seedling varied widely. Participants, mainly nursery holders, learned new production practices. Representatives of the research center learned a mismatch of recommendations with users’ contexts. Field observations further to the process indicate changes in practices among stakeholders that would be sustainable. Practical Implications: Beyond focusing on outcomes, initiatives in multi-stakeholder processes should also document and analyze social processes in order to better understand the mechanisms by which such processes foster socio-technical change, as well as identify potential institutional barriers to such processes. Originality/Value: Through a detailed analysis of group dynamics, this paper addresses an important knowledge gap in participatory agricultural development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-388
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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