Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Capital, Cooperative Performance, and Future Cooperation Intention among Recreational Farm Area Owners in Taiwan

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Capital, Cooperative Performance, and Future Cooperation Intention among Recreational Farm Area Owners in Taiwan

Article excerpt

In this study we analyzed the relationship between social capital and future cooperation intention of owners of recreational farm areas in Taiwan, and explored whether cooperative performance plays a role as a mediating factor between social capital and future cooperation intention. We employed structural equation modeling for the research framework, and LISREL was used to analyze the model. The findings indicate that social capital is a crucial factor that affects future cooperation intention, and cooperative performance is a partial mediator between social capital and future cooperation intention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: cooperative performance, future cooperation intention, recreational farm area, social capital, Taiwan.

In order to invigorate the agriculture industry, the Taiwanese government has been actively promoting the development of recreational farms in recent years. The situation of the development of recreational farm area (RFAs) in Taiwan is that the government used to encourage the development of single recreational farms. However, despite the fact that this policy gave rise to the trend of outdoor recreation, nevertheless it hindered the growth of industry differentiation, as owners were advised to follow the nonintegral development policy. Based on the industrial agglomeration perspective, the development of industry cluster relies on low transportation cost and the grouping of technical specialties and manpower (Wang & Gao, 2000).

According to Taiwan's Ordinance of Agricultural Development, if a particular well-planned area is rich in agricultural, sight-seeing, or ecological and wildlife resources, it should be classified as an RFA. Unlike industrial districts, which are focused on manufacturing, RFAs contain abundant cultural and ecological resources; thus the purpose of the policy was to encourage community development and ensure proper utilization of the existing resources within the area to create a high-quality living environment and a sustainable ecosystem (Huang, 2002). Therefore, the development of RFAs is important not only for community development but also for the integration of local knowledge within the network of owners in the RFA. All these factors contribute to the unique characteristics of RFAs.

As far as the structure of the network of owners is concerned, the RFA was formerly a rural area for the purpose of agricultural production. Despite the change of policy that has transformed it into a service-oriented tourism industry, the long-existing tradition of mutual assistance among farmers for the purpose of exchanging benefits has been deeply rooted. While social capital is commonly regarded as a relationship-based resource that improves network performance (Tsai, 2006), it promotes the flow of internal resources (Green & Haines, 2002), improves individual self-rated health (Hyyppä & Mäki, 2001; Tsai, 2006), and further facilitates the development of democracy (Paxton, 2002). To sum up, social capital is a relational resource, of which the quantity is a key factor that affects collaboration and performance of the network as a whole.

An RFA is a themed cluster consisted of ranches, holiday farms, ecological conservation areas, and bed-and-breakfast (B&B) services that are run by independent owners within the cluster while focusing on offering tourism and recreational services. The objective of RFAs can be effectively achieved only when all the owners within a network can coordinate and cooperate. The geographical proximity of owners tightly binds them all within the network while the social relationships are built on groups of people who are familiar with, and can rely on, each other. As the development of relationships within each network remains stable, the parties within the network will develop their relationships with others through continual interaction. The interaction here may be as diverse as mutual assistance during harvest or chatting during leisure time. …

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