Decision-making profiles, managerial capacity, management and performance: a study of Costa Rican dairy farmers
Solano Patiño, César
MetadataShow full item record
The decision-making process, as the human component of the system, has been either neglected or oversimplified in many ways. This has had negative effects on the development of useful and fully adopted décision-support systems and on the identification of research priorities, recommendation domains, targets and media in technology transfer activities. These weaknesses of the Farming Systems Research and Extension have had negative impact on agriculture. The study of this process seems to be fundamental to overcome the above explained weaknesses by incorporating the human 'block' in the building process that is already taking place within this agricultural science discipline.The aims to this thesis were: 1-To develop a conceptual model of the decisionmaking process based of the literature and to identify key issues to be studied. 2-To study the Objectives hierarchies, the decision-making approaches and the Personal Information sources, as components of the process, in terms of factors affecting them and defining the population profiles. 3-Quantify the impact of these decision-making profiles on management and on the bio-economical performance of the farms.The conceptual model developed showed a very complex decision-making process with multiple components, steps, information flows, actors and activities. Three aspects i.e. Objectives, Decision-making units and Personal information sources, were identified as very relevant to be studied. Results showed that a synergetic affect of age, educational level and the dimension of the farm had the biggest impact on the Objectives hierarchies, Decision-making units and actors involved, and on the preferences towards different personal information sources. In term of Objectives hierarchies, a very high diversity of orientations was found, from the monetary maximisation to familiar and personal orientations, being the former the most frequent. In terms of Decision-making units the results showed that the importance of the units depends, apart form the farmers'/farms' characteristics, on some intrinsic characteristics of the farming decisions and that some very strategic decisions are either delegated or shared with several actors. The steps of the decision-making process affected the information sources used by the fanners, being the family and technical advisors the most preferred personal information sources. Well defined groups of farmers were identified from the three points of view and clear profiles could be developed as classification. Significant impacts, especially of the decisionmaking approach and information preference profiles, on management factors were found. Significant impacts of the management factors on the bio-economic performance of the farms were also found as well as direct effects of the information preferences profiles on performance.General remarks on the implications of the findings obtained on the development of decision-making support systems and on the definition of research priorities, recommendation domains, target and media in technology transfer activities are discussed.