Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Cycle of Knowledge Creation and Learning in Agribusiness

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

The Cycle of Knowledge Creation and Learning in Agribusiness

Article excerpt

Introduction

The changes in global production have had a great impact on Brazilian agribusiness. The agribusiness organizations (considered all segments linked to the productive chain from production to the final consumers) have undergone evolutions in many aspects such as quantitative and qualitative processes as well as managerial development (linked to new knowledge, technologies, biochemistry, etc.). These changes have demanded new education processes, reviews of management practices and implementation of new strategies and policies.

Competitiveness, flexibility and agility are key words in agribusiness organizations. These organizations should be preoccupied with reducing costs and improving the quality of their products and services. The competitive advantage among them appears, more and more, to lie in the quality of the services rendered by the people involved throughout the industry chain. Therefore, how these people learn is an important and strategic subject in a reality with permanent changes.

It is possible to observe great differences in the rates of adoption of change among Brazilian people linked to agribusiness; sometimes people are quick to change and others are slow. Change seems not to occur homogeneously because depends it on personal aspects such as background, learning style and capacity, adoption speed, amount of effort, economic resources, determination, degree of risk involved, among other factors.

To analyse the agricultural reality, it is necessary to understand how the evolutionary process is assimilated, comprehended and incorporated by agricultural producers and their collaborators or employees, with the aim of identifying and analysing the stages in the knowledge creation process by which they find answers to their problems, in order to implement changes.

The technological modernization of Brazilian agriculture has been influenced from two sides, the industrial producers of agricultural inputs and the agro-industry processors of the products from agricultural properties. In this new competitive environment, information, knowledge, and managerial skills and strategies can contribute to obtaining a competitive advantage for organizations in general, and the rural properties, in particular (Binotto, 2000). Blum (1999) is emphatic when it comes to the need of the professional development of farmers and he considers impossible for them to survive without transformations in their activities.

In this competitive context, it is necessary to understand knowledge as something essential for the success and the survival of organizations. The agricultural producers have a fundamental place as components and agents of change in the respective production chains, impelling them to review their technological, managerial and structural processes.

These changes which have occurred in agribusiness have caused many impacts on agricultural cooperatives which now face new threats and opportunities, for example, in internal as well as external markets. In this new context, it is necessary for co-operatives improve the management of all their available resources, tangible and intangible, to ensure their survival and their success in this new reality.

The central objective of this paper is to analyse the knowledge creation process in agricultural properties, at Co-operative Triticola Mista Alto Jacui Ltda, from the perspective of producers. The study is exploratory-descriptive and qualitative in character and it is based on the theoretical model of organizational knowledge creation of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1997), more specifically on their four modes of knowledge conversion.

The interest in analyzing the knowledge creation process in these rural properties is justified by the need to understand how agricultural producers learn and receive information, to identify the ways in which this happens and the learning relationships involved. …

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