MSc thesis opportunity in Malawi /1

MSc thesis 1: Malawi – Individual competencies for emerging business models. 

Co-supervisors: Domenico Dentoni and Renate Wesselink

Similar as in other African contexts (Chesbrough et al. 2006; Dahan 2010), a number of business models have been recently emerging in Malawian legume and maize chains (2010-2015). These models seek to overcome constraints to innovation that affect the supply chains and include among the others: 1) storage models such as the Agricultural Commodity Exchange, which developed arrangements to match the demand and supply of storage owners, brokers, processors and farmers (Sitko and Jayne 2012; Dentoni and Dries 2015; Dentoni and Krussmann 2015); 2) finance models such as credit schemes with commodity as collateral (warehouse receipt schemes), weather-indexed crop insurance and storage insurance schemes (Coulter and Onumah 2002); 3) extension models, such as joint programs and incubators that bring together farmers’ associations, extension officers, supply chain actors and universities (Meijer et al. 2015; Mutenje et al. 2016); 4) seed provision models, such as programs to train private seed breeders and link them with early generation seed producer, seed companies and farmers’ associations (Keoneka et al. 2016; Rubyogo et al. 2016); 5) quality control models, such as training programs to improve post-harvest practices such as groundnuts and pigeon pea drying and sorting at farmer level (Matumba et al. 2013; 2015).

While being examples of organizational innovation in an uncertain environment, most of these models face tensions and limitations (Dentoni and Dries 2015; Dentoni and Klerkx 2016). Recent evidence shows that actors in these business models struggle to systematically coordinate with other stakeholders outside their partnership because they need to keep a strong focus on the governance mechanisms within their partnership (Dentoni and Klerkx 2016). Within this big picture, this MSc thesis project intervenes with the following goals: 1) to describe and discuss the tensions and dilemmas faced in the abovementioned business models with a suggested theoretical lens on hybrid organizations (Battilana and Dorado 2010; Greenwood et al. 2011; Jay 2013); 2) to profile the key competencies of current and future individual actors (Wesselink et al. 2015) that would meet the demands as well as the latent needs of the abovementioned business models; 3) to develop an inductive theoretical framework that connects individual competencies, organizational capabilities and innovation at a systemic level.

business models malawi

Battilana, J., & Dorado, S. (2010). Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 53(6), 1419-1440.

Chesbrough, H., Ahern, S., Finn, M., & Guerraz, S. (2006). Business models for technology in the developing world: The role of non-governmental organizations. California management review, 48(3), 48-61.

Coulter, J., & Onumah, G. (2002). The role of warehouse receipt systems in enhanced commodity marketing and rural livelihoods in Africa. Food policy, 27(4), 319-337.

Dahan, N. M., Doh, J. P., Oetzel, J., & Yaziji, M. (2010). Corporate-NGO collaboration: Co-creating new business models for developing markets. Long range planning, 43(2), 326-342.

Dentoni, D. and Krussmann, F. (2015). Value Network Analysis of Malawian Legume Systems: Implications for Institutional Entrepreneurship. Paper presented at the workshop on “Complex-systems dynamics principles applied to food systems”, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Meeting urban food needs (MUFN) Program, Rome, June 6th-8th, 2015.

Dentoni and Dries 2015. Working paper, available upon request.

Dentoni and Klerkx 2016. Working paper, available upon request.

Greenwood, R., Raynard, M., Kodeih, F., Micelotta, E. R., & Lounsbury, M. (2011). Institutional complexity and organizational responses. The Academy of Management Annals, 5(1), 317-371.

Jay, J. (2013). Navigating paradox as a mechanism of change and innovation in hybrid organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 137-159.

Meijer, S. S., Catacutan, D., Ajayi, O. C., Sileshi, G. W., & Nieuwenhuis, M. (2015). The role of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions in the uptake of agricultural and agroforestry innovations among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 13(1), 40-54.

Mutenje, M., Kankwamba, H., Mangisonib, J., & Kassie, M. (2016). Agricultural innovations and food security in Malawi: Gender dynamics, institutions and market implications. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 103, 240-248.

Rubyogo, J. C., Magreta, R., Kambewa, D., Chirwa, R., Mazuma, E., & Andrews, M. (2016). Using subsidised seed to catalyse demand-driven bean seed systems in Malawi. Development in Practice, 26(1), 15-26.

van Scheltinga, C.T. and van Geene, J. (2011). Linking training, research and policy advice: capacity building for adaptation to climate change in East Africa. In Knowledge in action (pp. 113-132). Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Sitko, N. J., & Jayne, T. S. (2012). Why are African commodity exchanges languishing? A case study of the Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange. Food Policy, 37(3), 275-282.


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Posted on June 29, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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