Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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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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    Potato breeding in the Netherlands: successful collaboration between farmers and commercial breeders
    Almekinders, C.J.M. ; Mertens, L. ; Loon, Jan van; Lammerts Van Bueren, E. - \ 2016
    Farming Matters 32 (2016)Special Issue April. - ISSN 2210-6499 - p. 34 - 37.
    potatoes - table potatoes - plant breeding - netherlands - cooperation - farmers - genetic diversity - firms - agricultural law - new variety - organic farming - aardappelen - consumptieaardappelen - plantenveredeling - nederland - samenwerking - boeren - genetische diversiteit - firma's - agrarisch recht - nieuwe variëteit - biologische landbouw
    The Dutch potato breeding model, which involves a partnership between farmers and commercial breeding companies in a modern, Western context, is unique. While there are other examples of collaborative relationships between farmers and breeders in Europe, the Dutch potato breeding model stands out in terms of its long track record, the involvement of the private sector, and the institutional integration of the relationship which up to today facilitates access to genetic materials and financial benefit sharing.
    Designing hybrid learning configurations at the interface between school and workplace
    Cremers, P.H.M. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Martin Mulder; Arjen Wals, co-promotor(en): Renate Wesselink. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462576322 - 156
    intermediate vocational training - education - education programmes - higher education - organization of education - practical education - postsecondary education - vocational training - firms - companies - knowledge transfer - knowledge - netherlands - middelbaar beroepsonderwijs - onderwijs - onderwijsprogramma's - hoger onderwijs - onderwijsorganisatie - praktijkonderwijs - vervolgonderwijs - beroepsopleiding - firma's - kapitaalvennootschappen - kennisoverdracht - kennis - nederland

    In today’s knowledge society there is a demand for professionals who are able to create knowledge across boundaries of disciplines, professions and perspectives. Increasingly, challenges have to be addressed by experts from different fields who collaborate across different contexts. In addition, given the fast pace with which society changes, experts must continually construct and reconstruct their expertise in a process of lifelong learning. Institutions for higher and vocational education are challenged to educate these ‘knowledge workers’. They are responding, among others, by developing novel hybrid practices at the interface between school and workplace, the so-called hybrid learning configurations. By connecting education, research and professional practice they aim to address complex problems in society by fostering interprofessional collaboration and learning. We define a hybrid learning configuration (HLC) as ‘a social practice around illdefined, authentic tasks or issues whose resolution requires transboundary learning by transcending disciplines, traditional structures and sectors, and forms of learning’.

    While many educational institutions and other organizations are co-developing and experimenting with HLCs, the process followed is often one of trial and error. Practical expertise is becoming available but only in an ad hoc and fragmented way. Although research on situated and social learning offers relevant theories and concepts that are useful when designing an HLC, not much research has addressed the design of HLCs in a comprehensive way. This PhD research aims to address this lacuna. We investigate HLCs from an educational design research (EDR) perspective, which involves framing the HLC as a complex intervention. We are interested not only in the features or designed elements of such interventions, but also in the underlying principles or conjectures that are embodied in those features. In addition, we intend to provide support for interprofessional HLC design teams, which consist of, for instance, educational consultants, researchers, lecturers and other practitioners. In order to address these aims we studied six HLCs in the context of Dutch higher vocational education. One of the cases is a joint project of two Dutch institutions for senior secondary vocational educational (which are called ‘MBO’ in Dutch) and two universities of applied sciences (‘HBO’ in Dutch) in collaboration with two companies. The other cases are HLCs in different settings within the context of a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands.

    The aims mentioned above led to the following general research questions: 1. Which heuristics can underpin the design of a hybrid learning configuration? 2. In which ways can interprofessional teams be supported when designing hybrid learning configurations? Chapters 2 and 3 address the first research question and chapters 4 and 5 address the second question.

    Design principles for HLCs

    Chapter 2 focuses on the HLC as a whole. The central research question is: “Which set of principles can underpin the design of a hybrid learning configuration for educating the knowledge worker?” Based on a literature search and designers’ craft knowledge, a set of initial design principles was developed for an HLC at the interface between school and workplace. The intention was that four learning processes would be enabled by the HLC: self-directed learning, authentic learning, the development of a professional identity and collaborative creation of knowledge across the boundaries of disciplines, professions and perspectives.

    These initial design principles were evaluated from the perspective of the participants by analysing interview data from students, lecturers, educational consultants and business representatives. This resulted in the following set of seven refined principles that underpin the design of an HLC: fostering authenticity; creating a learning community; utilizing diversity; inter-linking of working and learning; facilitating reflexivity; enabling organization; enabling ecology. These principles can be used as heuristics for guiding the design and development of hybrid learning configurations in contexts that have similar goals and aligned tenets.

    Fostering self-directed lifelong learning in HLCs

    Chapter 3 elaborates further on the design principle ‘facilitating reflexivity’. Since knowledge workers have to redefine and reconstruct their own expertise in an on-going fashion, they should be able to reflect on and pro-actively develop their professional competence. This capacity for self-directed lifelong learning is an essential asset for them and should therefore be developed or enhanced in an HLC. The main research question in this chapter is: “Which design guidelines underpin an intervention that would foster students’ capacity for self-directed lifelong learning while working on ill-structured, authentic professional tasks?”

    An intervention was designed, implemented and evaluated during two iterations of a hybrid learning configuration, which was embedded in a one-semester elective course at a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands. Evaluation methods included interviews with students and the course facilitator, questionnaires, and students’ logs and reports. This resulted in the following five intervention design guidelines: provide opportunities to engage in two or more cycles of self-directed learning; provide educational support; pay attention to emotional and motivational aspects; treat self-directed lifelong learning as a social learning process; position self-directed lifelong learning as a self-evident and integrated part of the course.

    The intervention appeared to be usable and effective. At a basic level, the students developed their capacity for self-directed lifelong learning. We concluded that further research is needed to investigate conditions for realizing higher levels of proficiency in self-directed lifelong learning throughout the curriculum and beyond.

    Utilization of design principles for HLCs

    The focus of chapter 4 is the utilization of the set of design principles that was generated in chapter 2. Research has shown that while knowledge of design heuristics can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of design work, design teams often have difficulty articulating the rationale for their design. In addition, it is important to facilitate ideation and nourish creative spirit while utilizing the design heuristics to create a novel learning environment. In this study we explored an intervention for supporting the creative utilization of the set of design principles for HLC. The intervention was based on boundary-crossing theory and design thinking methods, with a particular focus on prototyping. It consisted of a ‘guidebook’ in which the design principles were explained, and a workshop. The corresponding research question was: “What is the perceived effectiveness of a boundarycrossing intervention (based on a set of research-based design principles) for (re)designing hybrid learning configurations?”

    Four design teams of different HLCs in the context of a university of applied sciences used the guidebook and attended the workshop while (re)designing their HLC. The intervention was evaluated by way of questionnaires that were filled out by members of the design teams. The results show that the design teams perceived this intervention as being relevant, consistent, practical and effective. The intervention appeared to provide a conceptual framework for understanding and designing features of a hybrid learning configuration and a vocabulary to communicate design ideas. It, thereby, supported the creative utilization of the design principles. Further research could explore other, complementary ways of facilitating the design of hybrid learning configurations.

    Cross-boundary learning during the design and implementation of an HLC

    Chapter 5 concerns cross-boundary collaboration and learning processes within an interprofessional design team of an HLC. These teams often consist of actors from different educational institutions and other organizations, such as companies or (non) governmental institutions. When team members bring their different perspectives into the collaboration, they are likely to experience boundaries. Boundaries can be defined as ‘discontinuities in action or interaction’. They can hinder cooperation, but they can also provide opportunities for learning. This led to the following research question: “In which ways could a better understanding of boundaries enhance learning?”

    In this study, transcripts of interviews with members of an HLC-design team were analysed using concepts of boundary crossing theory. This theoretical framework provided a lens through which different ways of boundary crossing, learning mechanisms and processes became visible. We established that boundaries are highly personal and subjective constructs. We found that if boundaries are detected and if the related practices are made explicit, this allows for further analysis of these boundaries. Our analysis yielded a number of possible ways to enhance trans-boundary learning in HLC design teams. We also concluded that boundary objects and brokers can play an important role in transboundary learning processes.

    Conclusions in a broader perspective

    In chapter 6 we frame our conclusions from the four studies in a broader perspective. The first aim of our research was the development of heuristics for the design of HLCs. Given this aim, we developed a set of design principles for an HLC and guidelines for an intervention that fosters the capacity for self-directed lifelong learning. We positioned these principles and guidelines in a ‘conjecture map’ (Sandoval 2014), which shows the relationships between design heuristics, their embodiment in features of an intervention, the intended mediating processes, and the desired outcomes. Our overall conclusion is that framing the set of design principles or guidelines in multiple conjecture maps, rather than representing them as causal chains of design propositions, can provide guidance and support for designing and researching complex educational interventions such as HLCs.

    Our second aim was to provide support or ‘design knowledge’ for interprofessional HLC design teams. We addressed that aim by developing and testing an intervention that supported the creative utilization of a set of design principles for HLC. In addition, we provided guidance for enhancing learning across boundaries that could be experienced in an interprofessional design team. We positioned this design knowledge in a broader framework, the ‘ecological framework for conceptualizing teacher knowledge for technology-enhanced learning design’. This framework seems to be useful in contexts beyond technology-enhanced learning, and, so, we consider it relevant to the design of HLCs. We conclude that design teams of HLCs can be supported by using an appropriate framework for design knowledge and by adjusting or expanding this framework for the design of complex interventions by interprofessional design teams.

    Further research and practical implications

    Our studies led us to the following recommendations. While we focused mainly on learning processes that should occur within HLCs, further research could be directed towards the students’ learning outcomes. Moreover, our findings suggest that selfdirected lifelong learning should be developed and practiced throughout an education programme. To achieve this, curricula in higher education should offer opportunities for students to experiment and follow their own path, alongside prescribed activities with fixed learning outcomes. In the six HLCs that we studied, student learning was foregrounded. However, an HLC also involves other stakeholder types, such as lecturers, researchers, citizens, and entrepreneurs. Therefore, further research could shed light on supporting and evaluating multi-stakeholder learning processes and learning outcomes of all types of stakeholders. Our research on supporting interprofessional design teams focused on the utilization of design knowledge in early stages of (re)design of an HLC. Further research and development could yield ways of support in further stages of the design. In light of this we recommend crossing the boundaries of areas of design science outside the educational context. This will allow us to learn from each other and capitalize on what is already known.

    In our study, design principles for HLC were ‘reified’ and disseminated by way of a guidebook. Further investigations could reveal other ways of documenting and communicating design knowledge, for instance via the construction of a database containing principles or guidelines and their associated features in different contexts. Boundary crossing theory appeared to provide a lens through which boundaries and related learning processes became visible. The elements of boundary crossing theory can be translated into guidelines or tools for enhancing cross-boundary learning in interprofessional HLC design teams and, perhaps, for other types of ‘hybrid teams’ as well.

    This thesis intends to contribute to the knowledge base for designing hybrid learning configurations. This is done with the intention that this contribution will be utilized and developed further by researchers and practitioners who are committed to educating future professionals in an ever-changing world.

    DairyBISS Baseline report
    Buizer, N.N. ; Berhanu, Tinsae ; Murutse, Girmay ; Vugt, S.M. van - \ 2015
    Wageningen : Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation
    dairy farms - firms - businesses - profitability - extension - training - private sector - development - ethiopia - melkveebedrijven - firma's - bedrijven - rentabiliteit - voorlichting - opleiding - particuliere sector - ontwikkeling - ethiopië
    This baseline report of the Dairy Business Information Service and Support (DairyBISS) project presents the findings of a baseline survey among 103 commercial farms and 31 firms and advisors working in the dairy value chain. Additional results from the survey among commercial dairy farms are described in an additional report. The findings validate the main strategies of the project. Farms and firms are interested in joining a dairy business platform that includes members from the entire value chain. While currently there is gap between the demand and supply of good quality business information and advisory services, there is a willingness to pay for advisory services. Among advisors there is a need for training on technical topics along the dairy value chain and there is an interest in forming an advisor network to share experiences.
    Environmental innovation in chains and networks : assessing determinants and performance implications in Dutch food and beverage firms
    Grekova, E. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Onno Omta, co-promotor(en): Harry Bremmers; Jacques Trienekens. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572232 - 150
    milieubeheer - ketenmanagement - firma's - bedrijven - prestatieniveau - innovaties - voedselindustrie - dranken - nederland - environmental management - supply chain management - firms - businesses - performance - innovations - food industry - beverages - netherlands

    Challenged by the increasing scale of environmental degradation and corresponding stakeholders’ pressure, firms are increasingly integrating environmental concerns into their operations and into the relationships with external partners. Mainly through the theoretical lens of the Resource-based view and its spins-offs, this dissertation focuses on environmental innovation and environmental management (EM) that involves supply chain partners as means of promoting sustainable industry growth, using the Dutch food and beverage processors as a subject of the study. In–house environmental innovation and supply chain-oriented EM have a promising potential to induce sustainable growth in the industry because they are increasingly connected not only to improved environmental but also to an improved economic performance. However, the implications of environmental innovation and supply chain-oriented EM for the firm performance are not clear-cut and require further investigation. Prompted by the promising potential of environmental innovation and supply chain-oriented EM, the current research agenda focuses on their determinants: internal organizational capabilities and external factors (such as the roles of public policies, consumer demand, and other stakeholder pressures). Therefore, the present dissertation aims to investigate determinants of environmental innovation and of supply chain-oriented EM and their impact on firm performance.

    Chapter 2 illustrates in a dynamic perspective how changing institutional pressures and internal organizational factors influence the development of chain-oriented EM. Overall, institutional pressures are proven to be an important determinant. However, pressures on different levels vary considerably with respect to their impact. We found that pressures from supply chain partners and increasingly from long-term public–private environmental covenants significantly influence the implementation of supply chain-oriented EM. Interestingly, regulative institutional pressure from public authorities appeared to have no impact on supply chain-oriented EM. These findings are of particular interest as they suggest that Dutch public policy has chosen to rely on a responsibility culture, initiative, and self-organization, rather than on direct steering. This policy setting seems to work since our data evidence a progress in the implementation of supply chain-oriented EM. Furthermore, the findings show that food processors with more developed EM systems, associated with the presence of continuous improvement capabilities, are more likely to advance their EM by implementing supply chain-oriented EM. In course of time, as firms increasingly consider the implementation of supply chain-oriented EM as appropriate behaviour, institutional pressures become less influential and internal organizational factors become crucial to enable the implementation of supply chain-oriented EM.

    Chapter 3 offers further insights into organizational capabilities for supply chain-oriented EM. Prior research rarely considered how firms use their existing capabilities and the capabilities developed within their environmental strategy to come up with new and better ways to reduce the environmental impact. We investigate whether the integration of environmental concerns within the firm can provide an additional impetus to the implementation of supply chain-oriented EM, when combined with innovative orientation. In this context, we assess performance implications of capabilities for supply chain-oriented EM. Compared with the past research, we consider supply chain-oriented EM as an organizational capability for the integration of supply chain partners into EM, not as a set of environmental practices. The findings show that the development of supply chain-oriented EM is supported by both capabilities of innovative orientation and environmental integration and is accelerated by their combination. Furthermore, integration capabilities on in-house and supply chain levels appeared to be interconnected. The capability to integrate environmental concerns within the firm induces the integration of environmental concerns in the supply chain relationships. Finally, it is shown that the overarching capability to engage supply chain in EM pays off. This capability is induced by the implementation of interconnected environmental practices that involve supply chain partners (green purchasing, environmental collaboration with customers, and eco-design).

    Chapter 4 advances the understanding of the impact of supply chain-oriented EM on firm performance by introducing in environmental research the problem of appropriation of benefits created by the partners. Grounded in the Resource based view spin-offs, we claim that supply chain-oriented EM can enhance the performance of the focal firm not only directly, but also indirectly. The indirect relationship implies that supply chain-oriented EM stimulates the focal firm to implement more environmentally sustainable processes that in turn contribute to firm's performance. We found that supply chain-oriented EM involving customers can induce in-house environmental innovation that results in strong performance improvements. Interestingly, supply chain-oriented EM involving suppliers brings about weak performance improvements as a result of appropriation of the advantage realized by suppliers. Therefore, supply chain-oriented EM involving suppliers has a limited value and potential for Dutch food processors. Possibly, supply chain-oriented EM involving suppliers can induce process changes among suppliers, not focal firms. In this context, Chapter 4 illustrates the necessity to integrate the characteristics of supply chain actors into the research on the implications of supply chain-oriented EM. The findings regarding the impact of supply chain-oriented EM on the sustainability of internal operations have a link with firm performance. Supply chain-oriented EM that involves suppliers was shown to induce no significant improvements in environmental sustainability of operations among food processors. Unlike supply chain-oriented EM involving suppliers, supply chain-oriented EM involving customers has an indirect effect on the firm performance via environmental innovation.

    Firm’s network can be seen as a rich source of knowledge. Having access to knowledge and resources of the partners in supply chains and networks does not imply that a firm can appropriate (i.e. capture) corresponding benefits that could enhance environmental sustainability of in-house operations and performance. The exploitation of external knowledge requires the development of organizational capability to realize the value of new external knowledge, assimilate it and ultimately exploit it – absorptive capacity. Chapter 5 brings absorptive capacity into the discussion regarding the role of external partners in environmental innovation. Environmental innovation can also rely on internal knowledge sources. Development and accumulation of internal knowledge can be supported by the continuous improvement capability vested in the EM system. Therefore, Chapter 5 informs the discussion of the roles of internal and external knowledge for environmental innovation by considering organizational capabilities for knowledge sourcing: absorptive capacity to exploit external knowledge and continuous improvement to develop and accumulate internal environmental knowledge. The findings demonstrate that Dutch food processors develop environmental innovations relying on both external knowledge in their network tapped with the help of absorptive capacity and on internal knowledge built within the EM system with the help of continuous improvement capabilities. These findings challenge the presence of a substitution effect between internal and external knowledge. We expand the research on the determinants of environmental innovation by considering not only different knowledge sources but by providing insights into the knowledge sourcing process.

    Overall, the dissertation evidences an increasing importance of internal organizational capabilities to enable sustainable industry growth. Internal organizational capabilities appeared to be decisive to induce environmental innovation and supply chain-oriented EM. Also the appropriation of benefits created in cooperation with external partners and exploitation of external knowledge require certain organizational capabilities. In the earlier periods of corporate environmentalism, external pressures were of primary importance to induce the reduction of the environmental impact. Nowadays, the increasing role of organizational capabilities implies that a lot of power is concentrated in the hands of managers. For public policy, these findings suggest a focus on the development of instruments to stimulate the accumulation of organizational capabilities and capacity building.

    Color green for dollars: constraints and limitations for establising Chamaedorea palm firms in Veracruz, Mexico
    Musalem Castillejos, N. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Leontine Visser, co-promotor(en): Gerard Verschoor. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570207 - 200
    bosproducten anders dan hout - marketing - vercommercialisering - firma's - chamaedorea - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - plattelandsontwikkeling - bosbeleid - mexico - non-wood forest products - marketing - commercialization - firms - chamaedorea - sustainability - rural development - forest policy - mexico
    Interest in Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) has grown with increasing awareness of tropical forest deforestation and amplified recognition for the need to add value to forest resources. However, NTFPs continue to be regarded by many as marginal goods incapable of competing with timber as a viable economic alternative use of tropical and subtropical forests. In Mexico, several NTFPs are exploited in various ecosystems helping conserve forested areas, providing “the poor” access to cash in moments of uncertainty and relieving pressure on timber resources. Nonetheless, the benefit for conservation is highly debated and remains undecided as yet. NTFP proponents suggest that the development of commercial enterprises can be of significant benefit for forest users by providing a direct link between producers and markets, organizing markets as well as the development of infrastructure. This thesis explores actors’ practices to understand the different forms of organization, processes of interaction and negotiation between actors involved in the use and commercialization of NTFPs. The analysis of these practices seen through observation and accounts of the actors’ life-histories, everyday practices, the arrangement of individual actions within different production and commercial activities, serve to elucidate the multiple facets/aspects of different actors in the market for NTFPs in diverse commercial, social, economic and political arenas. By doing so, this thesis captures the experiences of actors in the Chamaedorea market; an important NTFP product marketed worldwide. These experiences are fundamental in answering the main research question: How are Chamaedorea palm commercial initiatives built in Veracruz, Mexico, and what are the main limitations for their consolidation and access to the markets? Focusing primarily on the analysis of key actors in the Mexican market, from production up until the export market, this thesis offers a detailed account of how diverse efforts to access markets are constructed and argues that it is important to focus on organizing practices and problem-solving capabilities of actors, needed to circumvent bottle-necks in the design and development of NTFP firms, a point often ignored or taken for granted in the literature on NTFPs. Taking on an actor-oriented perspective, detailed ethnographies and actor’s life-stories introduce actors’ struggles and various arrangements/strategies in establishing firms, yielding an interesting insight that would be unnoticeable if these processes developed smoothly. The contribution of this thesis to the debate on how NTFPs firms are constructed and maintained, proposes a reconsideration of NTFPs policy initiatives in developing markets and enhancing benefits to forest users, a major nuisance of current NTFPs policies worldwide.
    Open innovation in the Food Industry: An Evidence Based Guide
    Omta, S.W.F. ; Fortuin, F.T.J.M. ; Dijkman, N.C. - \ 2014
    Wageningen : Food Valley (1 1) - ISBN 9789082221206
    innovaties - voedselindustrie - firma's - netwerken - economische samenwerking - kleine bedrijven - bedrijven - europa - europese unie - richtlijnen (guidelines) - bedrijfsmanagement - innovations - food industry - firms - networks - economic cooperation - small businesses - businesses - europe - european union - guidelines - business management
    Consumenten en voedselveiligheid; Wat is acceptabel en wie is verantwoordelijk?
    Wagenberg, C.P.A. van; Mihaylov, E.S. - \ 2012
    Den Haag : LEI, onderdeel van Wageningen UR (LEI-nota : Onderzoeksveld Markt & ketens ) - 29
    voedselveiligheid - consumenten - regering - voedselketens - voedingsmiddelenwetgeving - risicofactoren - firma's - Nederland - food safety - consumers - government - food chains - food legislation - risk factors - firms - Netherlands
    Consumenten in Nederland lijken de huidige risico's voor voedselveiligheid acceptabel te vinden, omdat het vertrouwen in de voedselveiligheid al jaren stabiel hoog is. Ze maken zich vooral zorgen over chemische risico's, zoals residuen van hormonen, pesticiden en antibiotica. Daarnaast zien consumenten een kleinere rol en minder verantwoordelijkheid voor zichzelf voor voedselveiligheid, dan de rol en verantwoordelijkheid zoals overheid en bedrijfsleven die aan consumenten toedelen.
    Inleiding Groningen. Ruimte voor innoverende ondernemers.
    Kooij, P. - \ 2011
    In: Nederlandse ondernemers 1850-1950. Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe en Overijssel Zutphen : Walburg Pers (Nederlandse Ondernemers 1850-1950. Serie van 6 opeenvolgende delen (van 2009 t/m 2014 jaarlijks in het najaar te verschijnen) over de 300 kleurrijkste Nederlandse ondernemers. ) - ISBN 9789057306587 - p. 24 - 28.
    ondernemerschap - nederland - geschiedenis - biografieën - firma's - particuliere sector - industriële samenleving - regio's - entrepreneurship - netherlands - history - biographies - firms - private sector - industrial society - regions
    Zesdelige reeks waarin per regio de biografieën van de 50 belangrijkste ondernemers en ondernemersfamilies worden gebundeld. Leidende figuren uit de periode dat Nederland omschakelde naar een industriële samenleving.
    Space and economics : An introduction to regional economics
    Heijman, W.J.M. ; Schipper, R.A. - \ 2010
    Wageningen : Wageningen Academic (Mansholt publication series vol. 7) - ISBN 9789086860975 - 266
    regio's - economie - locatietheorie - vestigingsplaats van de productie - geografische verdeling - economische theorie - ruimtelijke evenwichtsanalyse - productie - firma's - europa - regionale economie - regions - economics - location theory - location of production - geographical distribution - economic theory - spatial equilibrium analysis - production - firms - europe - regional economics
    The subject area Regional Economics is becoming more and more topical. This means that in economic analyses the production factor 'space' is of increasing importance. This study book aims to integrate space in the area of General Economics in an analytical way. Models and their applications play a major role in the book's approach. The subject of regional economics contains two broad fields. The first is the theory of location, including the basic principles of the economic theory of land use, which has a microeconomic character. The second subject is regional economic development, including spatial equilibrium theory, which is mainly macroeconomic in nature. In the book, both fields will be elaborated in detail. Basic principles of economics are included as background information in order to study the latter advanced subjects addressed in the book. Another important feature of the book is its European character which is rather unique. In fact the majority of the applications here are from Europe. Regional statistical data and maps available in Eurostat have been used abundantly. The spreadsheet programme Excel is used as a convenient tool for the computation of model results. The description of major applications of Excel is included in the book, which makes it self contained.
    Econometric analysis of the performance of cooperatives and investor owned firms in the European dairy industry
    Soboh, R.A.M.E. - \ 2009
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Alfons Oude Lansink; Gert van Dijk. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789085855538 - 133
    zuivelcoöperaties - firma's - zuivelindustrie - efficiëntie - prestatieniveau - econometrische modellen - econometrie - analyse - economische analyse - internationale vergelijkingen - europa - dairy cooperatives - firms - dairy industry - efficiency - performance - econometric models - econometrics - analysis - economic analysis - international comparisons - europe
    Keywords: Cooperatives, IOFs, European dairy industry, logistic regression, stochastic frontier analysis, inter- and intra-firm efficiency, catch-up component, data envelopment analysis, hyperbolic technical efficiency, overall efficiency, scale efficiency, bootstrapping.

    In this study we measure the performance of cooperatives and investor-owned firms in the European dairy processing industry. Comparing the performance between cooperatives and investor-owned firms requires accounting for differences in their mission and objectives. Traditionally, cooperatives were established by farmers to gain access to markets, balance market powers and have a secured and sustainable income. Generally, there is a consensus in the economic literature that a cooperative can be defined as a (members)user-owned and (members)user-controlled organization that aims to benefit its (members)user. Cooperatives are transaction oriented, the members provide themselves with services they could not secure otherwise. In addition member are owners and determine the mission and strategy of cooperatives equally as the owners of the cooperative enterprise. Our study takes into account the consequences of members’ strategies for the cooperatives’ organizational structure and subsequently the significance of structure on (technical and economical) efficiencies. Although the theoretical literature emphasizes the difference in economic behavior between cooperatives and IOFs, the empirical studies have failed to follow up with theoretical approaches. The failure of the empirical studies to apply the models proposed by the theoretical literature seems to be due to either the inaccessibility of data, the inability to take into account the interests of all the various types of members and stakeholders of the cooperative, or the difficulty in testing the various hypotheses in practice. An empirical analysis of differences in financial indicators between IOFs and cooperatives in six European countries shows that cooperatives are less profitable but operationally more efficient, they have higher material costs and lower debts than IOFs. Furthermore, cooperatives display a substantially greater variation in financial indicators than IOFs. Stochastic Frontier Analysis is used to measure and compare the efficiency and production technology of cooperatives and IOFs. Cooperatives are found to have a more productive technology than IOFs, but they use their production potential less efficiently. A further empirical analysis of technical efficiency using Data Envelopment Analysis shows that explicit accounting for the objectives of cooperatives generates different outcomes compared with treating cooperatives as if they were IOFs. The results of the empirical analyses in this study promote the conclusion that measuring the performance of cooperatives as if they were IOFs produces misleading insights about the cooperatives’ performance suggesting performance suggesting that cooperatives’ performance is influenced by their organizational characteristics and members objectives.

    On Nash equilibria of a competitive location problem
    Sáiz Pérez, M.E. ; Hendrix, E.M.T. ; Pelegrin, B. - \ 2009
    Wageningen : Wageningen University (Working paper / Mansholt Graduate School of Social Sciences : Discussion paper ) - 11
    bedrijven - firma's - vestigingsplaats van de productie - locatietheorie - optimalisatie - evenwicht - marktconcurrentie - locatie - businesses - firms - location of production - location theory - optimization - equilibrium - market competition - location
    Supply chain integration, quality management and firm performance in the pork processing industry in China
    Han, J. - \ 2009
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Onno Omta, co-promotor(en): Jacques Trienekens. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789085852872 - 239
    varkensvlees - voedselketens - bedrijfsresultaten in de landbouw - firma's - prestatieniveau - informatietechnologie - financieel landbouwbeleid - china - ketenmanagement - kwaliteitszorg - agro-industriële ketens - logistiek - informatiemanagement - pigmeat - food chains - farm results - firms - performance - information technology - agricultural financial policy - china - supply chain management - quality management - agro-industrial chains - logistics - information management
    Profiting from external knowledge : how firms use different knowledge acquisition strategies to improve their innovation performance
    Batterink, M.H. - \ 2009
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Onno Omta, co-promotor(en): Emiel Wubben. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085853114
    innovaties - prestatieniveau - firma's - bedrijfsvoering - kennis - kapitaalvennootschappen - bedrijven - verbetering - kleine bedrijven - nederland - netwerken - middelgrote bedrijven - innovations - performance - firms - management - knowledge - companies - businesses - improvement - small businesses - netherlands - networks - medium sized businesses
    In recent years, innovation has become essential for the competitive advantage of firms in a growing number of industries. Due to the fast development of technologies, changing customer demands, shortening of product life cycles, increased global competition and changing regulations, modern firms constantly have to look for new ways to prosper in this very dynamic business environment. To survive in this dynamic environment, firms increasingly look for ways to profit from knowledge in other organizations, like supply chain partners, universities and research institutes, and even competitors. Firms may choose from several strategies for external knowledge acquisition, such as inter-organizational cooperation, venture capital investments, outsourcing of Research and Development (R&D), licensing-in, but also Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As).

    When firms try to acquire external knowledge they will face major management challenges. Several empirical studies have indicated that acquiring external knowledge can be time consuming, expensive and laborious. Moreover, establishing relationships with external organizations raises several complex issues, such as appropriation concerns, motivational problems, leakage of sensitive information, and partner dependency. In this respect, the management of innovating firms should not only strategically consider which knowledge acquisition strategy is to be preferred when they want to profit from knowledge developed elsewhere, but they should also consider carefully how to manage their external knowledge acquisition processes. The main objective of this book is therefore as follows:

    To analyze how firms can profit from external knowledge using different knowledge acquisition strategies.

    In order to realize this objective, four empirical studies are carried out. The first two studies are primarily concerned with the relevance of different strategies for acquiring external knowledge (such as licensing-in, outsourcing and cooperation), using a quantitative approach. Both studies use data of industrial firms from Dutch Community Innovation Surveys (CIS, 1994-2004), which explore the innovation process inside firms. The first study (Chapter 2) concentrates on the occurrence of different external knowledge acquisition strategies over time. The second study (Chapter 3) complements the first study by analyzing whether the different knowledge acquisition strategies are effective in improving the innovation performance.

    Next, the other two studies apply a qualitative approach and concentrate on specific management challenges of two different knowledge acquisition strategies, namely inter-organizational cooperation and M&As. The first qualitative study (Chapter 4) provides in-depth information on innovation brokers orchestrating innovation networks of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the agri-food sector, in different European countries. The second qualitative study (Chapter 5) provides in-depth information on the integration processes of the R&D function, following large, (medium) high-tech M&As in life science industries. In this study we link technological relatedness to specific R&D integration mechanisms, and subsequently to innovation synergy realization.

    In the innovation management literature there is a growing attention for the open innovation model, introduced by Chesbrough in 2003. This model emphasizes that the innovation process should be flexible and may cross organizational boundaries, so that it enables the transfer of knowledge and capabilities from and to other independent organizations. According to the open innovation model, firms should not only consider internal, but also external knowledge, capabilities and paths to markets. Yet, despite the recent emphasis on open innovation by innovation management scholars, the empirical evidence of its relevance to innovating firms has so far surprisingly been limited. Anecdotal evidence suggests that open innovation can be beneficial for low-tech industries as well. An important question is therefore whether the concepts of open innovation also apply to lower-tech industries. In addition, whereas the relevance of open innovation is shown for a number of large firms, it remains unclear to what extent open innovation is also relevant for SMEs. The research question in Chapter 2 is therefore:

    To what extent do different types (size and technology classes) of innovating firms pursue an open innovation strategy?

    The results show that especially since the turn of the century, an increasing share of innovating firms pursue an open innovation strategy, i.e. using external knowledge acquisition strategies, such as cooperation, outsourcing, and licensing-in. In addition, we found an increase in cooperation for different types of cooperation partners, such as suppliers, customers and research institutes. The most prevalent cooperation partners are actors from within the supply chain, i.e. suppliers and customers. Interestingly, the results showed that small firms and low- and medium-tech firms in particular are catching up large and high-tech firms in pursuing open innovation strategies since 2000. Yet, in general, large firms and firms from high-tech industries are still the most inclined to adopt open innovation strategies.

    We conclude in Chapter 2 that open innovation has become more common, but is it also more successful? Chapter 3 concentrates on the performance consequences of different knowledge acquisition strategies. In Chapter 3 we addressed the following research question:

    What is the impact of different external knowledge acquisition strategies on the short-term and long-term innovation performance of innovative firms?

    Drawing from a sample of 686 industrial firms from the Dutch CIS database we analyzed what the impact is of different knowledge acquisition strategies; both open innovation strategies such as licensing-in, outsourcing, cooperation, as closed innovation strategies such as M&As and the contrasting case of in-house innovation, on the short-term and long-term performance of incremental and radical innovation. We found that open innovation is often a successful strategy. More specifically, cooperation was found to have a positive impact on incremental and radical innovation, both in the short and long term. Thus, cooperation is not only increasingly practiced (see Chapter 2), it also turns out to be a successful strategy to profit from external knowledge. Furthermore, we found that outsourcing has a positive impact on a firm’s short-term and long-term performance of innovations, whereas licensing-in only contributes to short-term innovation performance. That licensing-in only contributes to the short-term innovation performance suggests that licensing-in is especially useful for acquiring knowledge and technologies that are relatively rapidly applicable for creating innovations. This knowledge is often also be available to other organizations, so that licensing-in does not lead to long-term competitive advantage. The results suggest as well that there may be several sub-modes of outsourcing and inter-organizational cooperation that facilitate innovation in different ways.

    Contrary to our expectations, we found that the acquisition of a relatively large firm boosts the innovation performance significantly, although only after a substantial number of years. Apparently, it takes considerable time and effort to integrate the acquired firm in such a way that it improves the innovation performance. Finally, exclusive in-house innovation turned out to be a sub-optimal strategy, as we found that exclusive in-house innovation had a consistently significant negative impact on the performance of both short and long-term performance of incremental and radical innovation.

    Chapter 4 presents a study on the innovation networks in which SMEs cooperate. Although cooperation can have a positive impact on innovation performance (see Chapter 3), for SMEs it can be a major challenge to cope with all the issues stemming from inter-organizational cooperation, such as cultural differences (e.g. between academics/researchers and entrepreneurs), appropriation concerns, motivational problems, and leakage of sensitive knowledge. In the innovation management literature there is a growing attention to intermediary organizations, such as innovation brokers, which assist SMEs with the challenges that come with innovating in a network. In Chapter 3, we therefore asked the following research question:

    How do innovation brokers orchestrate SME innovation networks in the agri-food sector?

    Drawing from the rich experience of four innovation brokers in the agri-food sector in The Netherlands, Germany and France, we substantiated the network orchestration processes that are important for innovation processes of SMEs. First, innovation brokers assist SMEs in the early stage of the innovation project, to develop ideas independently of large institutional actors, and to find complementary partners such as other SMEs, or research institutes. In contrast to an individual SME, an innovation broker can typically draw from a large and diverse network, in order to compose a network of complementary actors. Second, innovation brokers take the lead in setting up appropriate coordination mechanisms to facilitate the inter-organizational cooperation within the new innovation network. Third, innovation brokers often are involved in the network during the whole innovation trajectory, in order to manage the inter-organizational cooperation between the different parties. Especially in the case of conflict between the parties, innovation brokers are of added value in SME innovation networks. Being in a neutral position in an innovation network in which all other parties have a commercial stake, and having ample experience with inter-organizational innovation processes, enables innovation brokers to do so.

    As stated in Chapter 3, we found that major acquisitions have a positive impact on the long-term performance of innovations. In Chapter 5 we analyze how major M&As can contribute to innovation performance. The research question in Chapter 5 is:

    What is the role of technological relatedness in realizing innovation synergies in M&As?

    Our study of 10 large, medium- and high-tech M&As in life-science industries showed that there are three categories of innovation synergies: innovation cost synergy, innovation process synergy, and new growth platforms. Furthermore, we concluded that depending on the level of technological relatedness between the involved firms, different integration mechanisms are applied. The results suggest that there are three levels of R&D integration, starting with a minimal form integration, which is the standardization of system, such as the harmonization of information, reporting, and control systems. Systems standardizing is applied in the case of lowly technological related M&As and does not or hardly lead to innovation synergies. The second level of R&D integration focuses, in addition to system standardization, on structural linking, e.g. in terms of integrated R&D management, R&D teams, or even R&D departments. This level of integration is primarily applied in moderately technological related M&As and may lead to innovation process synergy and new growth platforms. The third and most far-reaching level of R&D integration focuses, in addition to system standardization and structural linking on process re-design, i.e. rationalization processes (eliminating duplicate R&D), specialization, and re-prioritizing of innovation projects. Process re-design is mainly applied in highly technologically related M&As, and is associated with each of the three types of innovation synergy.

    On the issue of organizing the Post M&A Integration process, we conclude that there are several factors that enhance innovation synergy realization, such experience, integration planning, and open communication. For instance, we found that firms with a track record of similar acquisitions, draw explicitly from their experience by using dedicated PMAI tools and guidelines. These firms are likely to integrate the R&D functions more quickly than firms without relevant experience.

    To conclude, we found that external knowledge becomes increasingly important for the innovation activities of firms. Although it can be difficult to profit from the knowledge and capabilities from other organizations, more and more firms manage to do so. This research has shown that companies use different knowledge acquisition strategies and this research has arrived at concrete possibilities and guidelines to improve this process.

    Finally, this research has made a number of main contributions to literature.
    - First, we advanced the external validity of the open innovation model. Several studies have pointed at the importance of the open innovation model, but previous studies mainly concentrated on a small amount of case studies, or on one sector only. Our longitudinal research shows that firms from different industries and size classes increasingly pursue an open innovation strategy. In addition, our research shows that open innovation strategies contribute to innovation performance. The impact of licensing-in and outsourcing on innovation performance in particular has so far hardly been investigated. The extension on knowledge acquisition strategies and industries brings research on open innovation to a higher level.
    - Second, we presented new empirical evidence on the socially relevant academic discussion on whether M&As have a positive impact on the innovation performance of firms. With our large scale quantitative study we showed that major acquisitions have a positive impact on the long-term performance of incremental and radical innovations. Contrary to previous studies, which focused on the number of patents as indicator for innovation performance, we used an indicator for innovation performance that also captures the commercial impact of innovations. In addition, we not only included high-tech, but also lower-tech firms.
    - Third, we developed a conceptual model for innovation synergy realization in M&As. Although several studies investigated the R&D integration process in M&As, so far it has remained unclear if, and if so how, innovation synergies are realized in large M&As. In our research we combined insights from the strategic management and the post M&A integration literature to gain a better understanding of the process of innovation synergy realization. The model shows that depending on the technological relatedness between the involved firms, specific R&D integration mechanisms should be applied and that depending on these R&D integration mechanisms, different innovation synergies can be realized.
    - Fourth, we substantiated the network orchestration processes of innovation brokers active in SME innovation networks. Previous studies in the innovation management literature focused primarily on identifying and describing the functions and roles of innovation brokers in the (regional) innovation system. Our research shows specifically which contributions innovation brokers make at the innovation network level, and how they make these contributions.

    Pathways to High-tech Valleys and Research Triangles
    Hulsink, W. ; Dons, H. - \ 2008
    Dordrecht : Springer Verlag (Wageningen UR Frontis Series 24) - ISBN 9781402083365 - 312
    regionale ontwikkeling - firma's - bedrijven - investering - industrie - locatietheorie - plaatselijke planning - universiteiten - innovaties - clustering - ondernemerschap - europa - vs - regionale economie - bedrijventerreinen - publiek-private samenwerking - kennisvalorisatie - kennisoverdracht - regional development - firms - businesses - investment - industry - location theory - local planning - universities - innovations - clustering - entrepreneurship - europe - usa - regional economics - business parks - public-private cooperation - knowledge exploitation - knowledge transfer
    Silicon Valley and the industrial districts of Italy, where shared identity, superior skills, regional specialization and trust-based networking among local firms have produced dynamic and flexible ecosystems, are inspiring examples of the successful promotion of thriving technology and business clusters. Cluster studies, besides acknowledging (the potential of) concentration and spill-overs in a dynamic network of larger companies and new start-up firms, also pay attention to the importance of investors, universities and other supportive institutions that contribute to the international and longer-term competitiveness of local industry clusters. This book looks at why certain regions are successful in creating an innovative technology cluster (with chapters on Silicon Valley and the Italian Food districts) and why aspiring communities and districts seek to learn from those examples and create an internationally successful region or sector (with chapters on the Dutch Biopartner program to stimulate entrepreneurship in the life sciences, on high-tech Israel and on the Italian Slow Food Movement). In some cases internationally renowned universities and/or research laboratories inspire engineers and scientists to become entrepreneurs and take the lead in cluster development (e.g. in the chapters on Food Valley Wageningen, the Knowledge Pearl Leuven-Flanders and the Scandinavian Oresund cluster). In other cases indigenous flagship firms, collaborating with each other and outsourcing many activities to smaller companies, may act as a region’s catalyst (e.g. in the chapters on Flanders Vegetable Valley, the Dutch horticultural industry and the Defence Diversification Agency in the UK). Chapters on North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park and the recent initiative to stimulate innovativeness in East Netherlands show that also an active government can stimulate emerging clusters by making local resources and funds available (e.g. risk capital, high-quality infrastructure), attracting foreign firms to invest and building ties between the private sector, knowledge institutions and local authorities.
    Agrarisch ondernemers leiden leerlingen op
    Noorduyn, L. - \ 2008
    Syscope Magazine 2008 (2008)16. - p. 18 - 19.
    agrarisch onderwijs - vaardigheidsonderwijs - firma's - ondernemerschap - samenwerking - agricultural education - competency based education - firms - entrepreneurship - cooperation
    Een boer of tuinder die een neventak heeft als onderwijs-leerbedrijf? In de toekomst is dat heel goed mogelijk, denkt Jan Pieter Janssen, voorzitter van het college van bestuur van het Citaverde College in Limburg. Het zou het ultieme vervolg zijn op de pilot “Bedrijf als schakelplaats in de groene kennisketen”, dat nu nog in de beginfase verkeert.
    The role of Innovation in Merger Policy: Europe's efficiency defense versus America's Innovatoin Markets approach
    Cefis, E. ; Grondsma, M. ; Sabidussi, A. ; Schenk, E.J.J. - \ 2007
    Utrecht : Tsjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute, Utrecht University (Discussion paper series 07-21) - 38
    economie - markteconomie - fusies - acquisitie - beoordeling - europese unie - vs - efficiëntie - firma's - bedrijven - innovaties - economics - market economics - mergers - acquisition - assessment - european union - usa - efficiency - firms - businesses - innovations
    Changes in the world’s economies and discussions in the literature about the growing importance of innovation to firms have given rise to a demand for expanding the analysis of merger policy. The present study focuses on the different criteria used to assess the impact of M&A activities on innovation. The analysis is both theoretical and empirical. From a theoretical perspective, two main approaches are discussed: the efficiency defense approach, adopted in Europe, and the innovation markets doctrine as developed in the United States. The present paper contributes to the literature by suggesting that an integration of the two approaches would significantly improve M&A assessment. On the empirical side, two cases that have been scrutinized by both the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are discussed. The results show the relevance of the different approaches used when dealing with innovation in the assessment of mergers.
    Do Mergers of Potentially Dominant firms foster Innovation?
    Cefis, E. ; Sabidussi, A. ; Schenk, E.J.J. - \ 2007
    Utrecht : Tjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute, Utrecht University (Discussion paper series 07-20)
    economie - markteconomie - firma's - bedrijven - fusies - acquisitie - innovaties - bestedingen - nederland - economics - market economics - firms - businesses - mergers - acquisition - innovations - expenditure - netherlands
    We investigate the effects of M&A on innovation in the specific context of potential or realized market dominance. Authorities are challenged by balancing both detrimental and beneficial effects of mergers on innovation, especially when a merger threatens to result in market dominance, while firms would wish to uncover all the potential benefits arising from M&A. The effects of M&As on innovation have been tested on a panel dataset, constructed from the Dutch Community Innovation Survey and the Dutch Business Register, including around 1000 manufacturing companies. We have adopted a comprehensive approach, taking into consideration three dimensions of innovation: innovation inputs, innovation outputs and efficiency. The results show that M&As performed in the previous 3-5 years have a positive and significant effect on innovation except R&D expenses and innovation efficiencies. The results also suggest that technological regimes are critical to understanding the patterns of innovation.
    Environmental management in the Dutch food and beverage industry : a longitudinal study into the joint impact of business network and firm characteristics on the adoption of environmental management capabilities
    Haverkamp, D.J. - \ 2007
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Onno Omta, co-promotor(en): Harry Bremmers. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085047575 - 209
    food industry - beverage industry - firms - enterprises - environmental management - management by objectives - environmental protection - netherlands - business management - cradle to cradle - voedselindustrie - drankenindustrie - firma's - ondernemingen - milieubeheer - doelstellingenmanagement - milieubescherming - nederland - bedrijfsmanagement - cradle to cradle
    The present study aims for a deeper understanding of the internal and external factors, such as firm strategy and pressure from the business network (government, buyers, suppliers, local inhabitants, etc.), that have an impact on the adoption of environmental management capabilities in firms in the Dutch food and beverage industry. A recent investigation by the Arthur D. Little Innovation High Ground Survey among 40 multinationals (Sony, Procter & Gamble, Vodafone, etc.) showed that managers in general expect that sustainability-driven innovation, such as environmentally product (re)design, has a growing potential to deliver value to business. However, only 5% indicated to pay attention to environmental issues in their strategic planning and decision-making. These figures would probably look even worse if small- and medium-sized firms were included. This thesis focuses on the commitment to the environment in terms of the adoption of environmental management capabilities. These comprise different environmental management items, such as an environmental action program, regular environmental auditing to evaluate strategic environmental targets, and an environmental database to keep record of environmental performance. In short, they reflect the capacity of the firm to take care of the environment on a structural basis. The study design integrates the outside-in and the inside-out perspective. According to the outside-in perspective, the firm’s competitiveness depends on industrial forces, such as rivalry among competitors and entrance of new market parties. External factors measured in this study are the different stakeholder influences from the business network, including government and societal groups as well as other chain and network actors, such as buyers, suppliers, consumers and bank and insurance firms. The inside-out perspective states that the firm’s competitiveness depends on acquiring valuable resources, competences, and (dynamic) capabilities to deal with the external influences. Internal factors measured in this study are firm characteristics, including firm strategy and enabling capabilities, such as internal communication on environmental issues. The central research question is formulated as follows: What is the joint impact of the business network (government, buyers, suppliers, customers, etc.) and firm characteristics on the adoption of environmental management capabilities in Dutch food and beverage firms? Semi-structured interviews are held with 13 environmental managers of different firms, while also two large-scale surveys are carried out in 2002 and 2005 in the Dutch food and beverage industry. The interviews are carried out to get more insight into environmental management practices. The aim of the survey questionnaires was to measure the business network influences on the attention for the environment, which formed the longitudinal backbone of the present study. However, the survey of 2002 concentrated on the relationship with government, as well. In total, 492 questionnaires could be used for the analyses, of which 386 originated from micro and small (5-50 employees) and 106 from medium-sized and large firms (50 or more employees). In 2005, special attention was paid to firm strategy and enabling capabilities. The survey included medium-sized and large firms only to get a more homogenous sample. In total, 100 questionnaires could be used. Differences between micro, small, medium-sized and large firms hare analyzed using t-tests. Furthermore, correlation and regression analyses are carried out. A cluster analysis is performed to get more insight in different firm profiles with respect to the joint impact of the business network and firm characteristics. A longitudinal analysis is carried out to get insight in changes with respect to business network impacts on the adoption of environmental management capabilities between 2002 and 2005. An increased impact of the business network is measured from 2002 to 2005. Interestingly, banks and insurance firms appeared to be important as well as chain actors and competitors. This might implicate that the attention for environmental issues in the business networks has extended from government and environmental organizations to include stakeholders that are of primary interest to attain commercial business goals. The perceived impact of environmental organizations was stronger in 2005 compared to 2002, which might reflect growing environmental concerns of society and also increased success of these organizations to get media attention for environmental issues. However, the results demonstrate also that government is (still) a dominant environmental stakeholder. Concerning the public-private relationship, public-private voluntary environmental agreements (or environmental covenants) and the contact intensity with (lower) government appeared to be important. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that firms with an innovative business strategy (i.e. prospector strategy) adopted more cradle-to-cradle environmental management capabilities, including attention for environmentally friendly product (re)design. Regarding the research question, a cluster analysis indicates that four different environmental taxonomies can be distinguished with respect to business network and firm characteristics. In conclusion, the present study shows that for micro and small firms, strong ties with government through frequent contacts with local governmental agencies are essential to stay informed about environmental regulations. Such regular contacts have as a side-effect that the understanding and consequently the appreciation of public environmental policy improves. Governmental agencies are therefore recommended to provide micro and small firms environmental information (e.g. through e-mails or news letters) and, more importantly, maintain frequency of visits even if no direct monitoring or control reasons exist. The micro and small firms typically lack expertise to fundamentally change their environmental behavior. Environmental training and education programs could therefore be organized to increase the expertise to deal with environmental measures. Furthermore, cooperative pilot projects on the implementation of clean technologies can serve as a platform for knowledge exchange. Intermediaries, such as branch-organizations, are important to be involved in these initiatives, since they can take care of the administrative consequences. In the medium-sized and large firms with a defensive environmental strategy, the adoption of environmental management capabilities is most likely provoked by command-and-control regulations, while voluntary public-private environmental initiatives can be used to support proactive firms. Environmental covenants can put a strong focus on innovation addressing environmental targets at the product level (e.g. percentage of recycled components or re-usable parts) and at the chain level (e.g. chain level energy reduction targets). Large firms in particular are able to stimulate their chain partners to be included in environmental initiatives, which is essential for environmentally friendly product (re)design and to achieve chain-oriented environmental targets.
    Methods for computing Nash equilibria of a location quantity game, Submitted to Operations Research
    Sáiz Pérez, M.E. ; Hendrix, E.M.T. - \ 2006
    Wageningen : Mansholt Graduate School (Working paper / Mansholt Graduate School : Discussion paper ) - 26
    operationeel onderzoek - firma's - besluitvorming - optimalisatie - algoritmen - locatietheorie - markten - kosten - evenwicht - evenwichtstheorie - operations research - firms - decision making - optimization - algorithms - location theory - markets - costs - equilibrium - equilibrium theory
    A two stage model is described where firms take decisions on where to locate their facility and on how much to supply to which market. In such models in literature, typically the market price reacts linearly on supply. Often two competing suppliers are assumed or several that are homogeneous, i.e. their cost structure is assumed to be identical. The focus of this paper is on developing methods to compute equilibria of the model where more than two suppliers are competing that each have their own cost structure, i.e. they are heterogeneous. Analytical results are presented with respect to optimality conditions for the Nash equilibria in the two stages. Based on these analytical results, algorithms are developed to find equilibria. Numerical cases are used to illustrate the results and the viability of the algorithms. The method finds an improvement of a result reported in literature.
    The impact of policy on firms' performance: the case of CNC machine tool industry in India
    Kumar, A. - \ 2003
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): J.C. van Dalen. - Wageningen : Wageningen Universiteit - ISBN 9789058089489 - 331
    industrialisatie - overheidsbeleid - firma's - ontwikkelingslanden - prestatieniveau - india - engineering - bedrijven - industriebeleid - industrialization - government policy - firms - developing countries - businesses - performance - india - engineering - industrial policy
    This study is about understanding how the government policy actually works at firm level in the context of developing countries' industrialization. In the literature, the discussions on impact of government policy on corporate performance primarily stress on macroeconomic aspects of industrial behavior and broad measures of industrial performance. They offer inadequate understanding of the mechanisms through which firms' performance is affected. This study attempts to fill in this void. It specifically endeavours to answer the research question: how Industrial policy affects performance of the firms? For empirical evidence, we considered the case of CNC Machine Tool industry in India. The study is primarily exploratory and qualitative based on case studies. The study endeavors to explain the policy-performance causation placing resources of the firms at the center of analysis. The three elements of the causality chain: policy, resource and performance are the building blocks of our analysis. The policy is seen in terms of technology, investment, education and training, market development and industrial governance. The resource is segmented as research, development and engineering; manufacturing; human; marketing and linkage. All these are further elaborated in terms of three more constructs: capability, mechanism and indicator. We analysed how the firms adopted various mechanisms to leverage the policies in force to build different capabilities that finally culminate in firms' performance. In certain cases the mechanisms were adopted to compensate the absence of policy or lessen its adverse impact. The promotional nature of Technology- and Investment policy as well as increased transparency in industrial governance since 1991, led the firms to emphasize more on mechanisms of assimilation of technology, new product development and subcontracting to build product development- and manufacturing capability that culminated in increased sales and exports. In the absence of suitable Education and Training policy the firms recruited educated persons, imparted in-plant training and periodic training to build human resource capability that increased firms' labour productivity. The observed divergence in firms' performance is attributed to variations in scope and implementation of mechanisms by the firms. A few pro-active firms identified what policy provides and how best that could be used or what policy does not provide and acted accordingly. The small firms appear to give less emphasis on adoption of mechanisms primarily due to resource constraints. The analyses further led to the identification of certain activities or `processes` that are found to be crucial for building various capabilities in the firms. A process encompasses one or more mechanisms either in its essence or in totality. It may also be an underlying factor that triggers mechanisms to work individually or together. The processes are visualised as acquisition, integration, development and generation. Their identification has added another bead in the strand of policy-performance causation. Like the mechanisms, the adoption of processes by the firms is also influenced by various policies in vogue that finally culminates in firms' performance. Thus the government needs to give proper emphasis on strengthening of these processes for sustained development of an industry. From the policy perspective, this research is an attempt to provide a systematic analysis that improves policy-making.
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