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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.

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Record number 77518
Title Ontwikkeling in agrarische organisaties : organisatie-ontwikkeling in standorganisaties en cooperatieve verenigingen
Author(s) Raemaekers, H.M.
Source Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen. Promotor(en): P.B. Defares; J.D. van der Ploeg. - Wageningen : Raemaekers, H.M. - ISBN 9789090003559 - 347
Department(s) Psychology
Rural Sociology
Publication type Dissertation, externally prepared
Publication year 1983
Keyword(s) samenwerking - handelsvennootschappen - organisaties - theorie - bedrijfsvoering - bestuur - landbouw - nederland - landbouwcoöperaties - plattelandscoöperaties - economische samenwerking - landbouwschap - bedrijfseconomie - cooperation - trade associations - organizations - theory - management - administration - agriculture - netherlands - agricultural cooperatives - rural cooperatives - economic cooperation - board of agriculture - business management
Categories Agricultural Education
Abstract Farmers organizations, co-operatives and farmers unions, face changes in their organizational environment. Organization development is an effort to adapt and change the organization in order to meet environmental requirements in a purposeful way.

For the study under review attention is paid to the decision-making processes on individual and organizational level.

In chapter 1 a brief description is given of co-operatives and farmers unions in the Netherlands.
The rationale to start a study on this topic is briefly pointed out.

In chapter II is emphasized that the actual and futural situation in farmers organizations require the optimizing of decsision-making strategies.
The focus of this thesis is an attempt to provide a descriptive theory of how organizations, groups and participating individuals can improve their decision making strategies.
(We believe that the theoretical models presented in this book are applicable in a wider field, especially for the improvement of the decision-making process in organizations with a "voluntary" character (e.g. unions)).

In chapter III a theoretical reflection is presented of the principles of planned-change. A clear justification of the chosen starting points is necessary to avoid misunderstandings and to attain theoretical progression. Our conclusion is that diverse perspectives should be distinguished depending on the particular stage of the planned-change process.

The first stage, the fundamental theoretical anticipation when social change is conceived, should be described, assessed and analysed in such a way that the results are acceptable with reference to epistomelogical standards. (According to the views of Popper, Lakatos and Kuhn). For this reason a conceptual frame-work is presented in which diverse aspects of organization-sociology and psychology are integrated. The basic reasoning in this stage of scientific reflection has led to the choice of the following key-concepts: Activation (Etzioni), Mobilization (van Doorn), Participation (van Dyck), to be considered as prerequisites of social change.

The second stage, the anticipation of social change in a specific situation (diagnosis), should be described and analysed not only in such a manner that the results are acceptable from a scientific point of view but that they also can meet ethical standards with regard to the consequences of the diagnosis for the welfare of individuals and the society as a whole.
It is contended, that the above mentioned key-concepts do meet these requirements.

The third stage, the social intervention in order to engender social changes, is to be conceived as an intersubjective-process. Enhancement of receptivity and communicative interaction between all involved subjects is most relevant in this stage.

In chapter IV a description is given of the decision-making process on indiviudal level (Janis & Mann, Erikson and others). This description has led to a model of: "Stages in personal development with regard to participation in organizations with a voluntary character".

The distinct, hierarchically ordered, stages are:
- The search for trust (safety).
- The cognitive orientation.
- The identification with the organization in terms of personal involvement.
- The awareness of mutually shared group interests.
- The identification with organizational achievement.
- The vigilant awareness and information processing with reference to the
command and control stucture of the organization.
- The identification with the organization as an "organizational-project"
(ideological rooting).

This "participation-model" can be utilized for many purposes: Analysis, diagnosis, intersubjective discussion and planning of change-programs.

In chapter V strategic models for co-operatives and farmers unions are evaluated, in order to assess the most adequate approach for organizational development. In defining the focus, which seems most relevant for co-operatives, it is stressed that these organizations have to meet the requirements for "strategic flexibility".

To clarify this point, the strategic position of co-operatives is further elaborated upon. The concepts, most applicable here are: management style, procedures for co-operation, and a characterization of the futural organizational environment. It is further asserted, that the same aspects may hold for farmers unions and in an analogous fashion attention should be paid to a strategic policy. In addition deliberate attempts should be made to improve the zeal for citizenship of the participating farmers, so as to enhance the exertion of "political power and influence" on regional, national and international levels.

In chapter VI some generally accepted concepts of organization-development (Blake and Mouton, Hutte, Zwart, Beckhard and others) are discussed.

This preatise has led to a development model for farmers organizations. The model is based on both insights derived from the literature on organizationdevelopment and expertised derived from personal experience with the actual functioning of farmers organizations.

More in particular the model considers several successive stages in the organizational development:
1. The entrance-phase.
2. The first orientation at the meso-level of the organizational setting.
3. The mobilization of local elected leaders.
4. The follow-up of the mobilization of the local leaders.
5. The integration of the outcome of the previous stages within the organizational structure.
6. The second orientation aimed at problem solving regarding specific topics.
7. The mandate for further development, on the basis of acquired skills.
8. The "permanent" development: task-fulfilment in close co-operation with the board of the organization.

We believe that the merit of the model is due to the implicated phasic developmental process based on the harmonious alternation of differentiation and integration.

Finally in chapter VII some empirical data are presented. The empirical research took place at stage 3: "The mobilization of the local elected leaders".

First an explorative description is given of the actual degree of activation and participation of the local elected leaders.

Apart from the presentation of frequency distributions an explorative analysis was given by using factor-analysis of the questionnaire items, in order to determine whether mathematic transformation would coorroborate the theoretical concepts
as described in chapter IV. It was indeed shown that the factor structures found, are meaningful at the theoretical level.

In the next stage was further explored whether the meaningful factors could be hierarchically ordered according to the sequence as presumed in chapter IV. Applying the Guttman-scale analysis it was indeed shown that an ordering of five theoretical meaningful factors could be ascertained.

Some other findings are:
1 . Local leaders show a strong activation of personal involvement (in the organization) with regard to the local community and also to recognizable problems (here and now problems).
2. On the other hand a lower activation is shown with regard to less familiar complex problems such as: "the farmer and bio-industry", the workers-unions, and how to deal with "green" protest-groups.
3. There is great interest in skills which are of importance in the sphere of vocational expertise.
4. The local leaders consider their participation in the organization as a satisfactory psychological factor (entrance to information, respectable belonging to the community).
5. The desire for organizational effectivity is as yet not translated in terms of "goal achievement-behavior" by the local leaders. (see chapter IV, stage 5). Implicating that the change of management skills is conceived as a bothersome affair.

The second part of chapter VII presents the results of the empirical research based on the social intervention at the local level (see chapter VI, stage 3).

The discrepancy between before- and after-measurements was tested with the t-test for dependent samples (two- tailed). It was shown for case-wise arranged paired observations that for the most part the differences between sample means turned out to be highly significant.

By means of multiple-regression analysis was further explored which independent (or predictor) variables contribute to the most relevant changes.

Some findings are:

1. A significant progress is realized on the item of "organizational effectivity
2. Changes most frequently occur if the local leaders are young, have more interest in the organization, or when their farm and land is more extensive.

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