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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 423637
Title Beyond fragmentation and disconnect: Networks for knowledge exchange in the English land management advisory system
Author(s) Klerkx, L.W.A.; Proctor, A.
Source Land Use Policy 30 (2013)1. - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 13 - 24.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.02.003
Department(s) Knowledge Technology and Innovation
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) agricultural extension - innovation systems - consulting firms - services - information - england - farmers - transformation - consultancies - capabilities
Abstract The growing multifunctionality in agriculture, combined with privatisation of previously public agricultural extension services, has resulted in a pluralistic land management advisory system. Despite benefits in terms of increased client orientation and greater advisor diversity, it is argued that these changes have resulted in the fragmentation of the land management advisory system and a reduction of interaction within the advisory system and between the advisory system and science. Hence, concerns have been voiced as regards the capacity of the advisory system to be able to incorporate new knowledge, resulting in a growing interest in how advisors obtain and construct the knowledge necessary for offering adequate advisory services to their clients. In this article we explore how advisors within the English land management advisory system (land agents, applied ecologists and veterinarians) develop and optimise their knowledge by engaging in different kinds of networks (centralised, distributed and decentralised), each of which employs a different type of social capital. Key findings suggest that to obtain the knowledge needed to solve complex queries of clients, advisors use distributed networks and draw upon informal ‘communities of practice’ within their own advisory profession characterised by bonding social capital, but also draw upon broader ‘networks of practice’ involving multiple advisors from different advisory professions, which rely on bridging social capital. The employment of decentralised networks which rely on linking social capital, to solve complex queries or develop new services, for example through contacts with scientific institutes, appears to be less developed, despite brokering activities of the professional associations. Whereas fragmentation and disconnect due to competition and epistemological differences do play a role; they do not appear to prevent overall knowledge exchange among advisors within and across different professions. Assumptions of a collapse of interaction within the land management advisory system are not supported by the evidence, as there appears to be much bonding and bridging social capital. However, to optimise interactions between professions, and between advisors and the science system, either informal brokers or formal brokers in the form of professional associations or other organisations could play a bigger role.
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