Shaping Collective Functions in Privatized Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems: The Positioning and Embedding of a Network Broker in the Dutch Dairy Sector

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    Abstract

    This paper examines new organizational arrangements that have emerged in the context of a privatized extension system. It investigates the positioning and embedding of a network broker aimed at enhancing interaction in the privatized agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS), to assess whether tensions reported in other sectors also manifest in agriculture and inform theory and policy on collective functions in pluralistic extension systems. It employs a case study approach using semi-structured interviews, observations, a closed questionnaire and secondary data analysis. Results show that a demand-driven way of working may prevent network brokers losing their neutrality in farmers' eyes, but that a network broker nevertheless can be perceived as disruptive by extension service providers. Furthermore, it appears hard to make the network brokerage function self-sufficient. The paper shows that a social dilemma manifests, that is, the collective benefits are recognized, but private interests do not support the brokers' continued existence. This prompts consideration of the need for continued public support. Public support for network broker appears to be needed, but possible (market-disturbing) interference with the activities of private extension service providers prompts critical examination of the mandates of publicly funded network brokers
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81-105
    JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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