Digitalisation in the New Zealand Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System: Initial understandings and emerging organisational responses to digital agriculture

Kelly Rijswijk*, Laurens Klerkx, James A. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Digital agriculture is likely to transform productive processes both on- and off- farm, as well as the broader social and institutional context using digital technologies. It is largely unknown how agricultural knowledge providing organisations, such as advisors and science organisations, understand and respond to digital agriculture. The concept of ‘organisational identity’ is used to describe both initial understandings of, and emerging responses, to digital agriculture, which together show how organisations ‘digi-grasp’, i.e. make sense of and enact digitalisation in their organisations. The understanding is described using aspects of identity change (i.e. the nature, pace, source and context of digital agriculture), while the responses are outlined through the various attributes of organisational identity (i.e. capabilities, practices, services, clients, partners, purpose and values). We explore this question in the context of New Zealand through 29 semi-structured interviews with different types of agricultural knowledge providers, including farm advisors, science organisations, as well as technology providers. The findings show that digitalisation is often understood as farm-centric, despite being considered disruptive both on- and off-farm. These understandings influence an organisation's digitalisation responses to digital agriculture. The responses were often ad-hoc, starting with adapting organisational capabilities, practices and services as their clients and partners require, rather than a strategic approach allowing for more flexibility of roles and processes and changing business models. The ad-hoc approach appears to be a response to uncertainty as digital agriculture is in early stages of development. This indicates that agricultural knowledge and innovation system should better support agricultural knowledge providers in digi-grasping and developing a digitalisation strategy, by anticipating possible futures and reflecting on the consequences of these for value propositions, business models and organisational identities of agricultural knowledge providers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100313
JournalNJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Advisors
  • AKIS
  • Digital agriculture
  • Digitalisation
  • Organisational change
  • Organisational identity
  • Research organisations
  • Smart farming

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