Research Opportunities

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) collaborates with a number of dynamic and globally oriented companies, non governmental organisations and research institutes with the aim of putting into practice the main concepts of Management Studies – entrepreneurship, innovation, governance, strategic management and organisation – to deal with wicked problems affecting agricultural and food systems: poverty, violation of human rights, resource scarcity, waste and climate change among the others.

Given its goal, GCFSI seeks to bridge researchers with managers and leaders in agribusiness & international development practice. To do so, GCFSI provides opportunities for MSc and PhD students enrolled at (or visiting) Wageningen University to engage in stimulating thesis and research projects. Students and faculty staff have the opportunity to give their contribution to disseminate research and improve knowledge on management issues in the context of international development.

MSc thesis opportunities for 2017

MSc thesis 1: Individual competencies, organizational structures and dynamic capabilities for stakeholder orientation in Netherlands

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Renate Wesselink, Dr. Valentina Materia, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

Since long time, agribusiness companies realized that to seriously develop sustainable sourcing, R&D and marketing strategies they need to Sense, Interact, Learn and Change based (SILC) on the needs and demands of multiple stakeholders (Dentoni and Peterson 2011, Dentoni et al. 2012a; Dentoni and Veldhuizen 2012) or, in short, to be stakeholder oriented (Dentoni et al. 2016). But how can a company structurally develop its stakeholder orientation? One way to become stakeholder oriented is by investing on its people and, in particular, on the individual competencies of its employees, mid-managers and top managers (Dentoni et al. 2012b; Wesselink et al. 2015; Osagie et al. 2016). Another way is changing its organizational structure, for example reducing hierarchies, increasing communication channels and encouraging informal mechanisms of knowledge-sharing (Veldhuizen et al. 2013; Jager 2016).

What is still missing in the management theory and practice, though, is an understanding of how individual competencies and organizational structures together influence companies’ stakeholder orientation. To fill this gap, our research team has already collected quantitative data from a sample of mid-managers working in sustainability projects at Dutch companies across multiple sectors (Aberson 2016). Now we are seeking a MSc student – preferably in Management, Marketing and Economics (MME) and interested in sustainability strategies, multi-stakeholder partnerships and in developing her/his skills set of quantitative analyses –  to 1) analyze the secondary data already collected with the use of multi-variate statistics (e.g. confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling; Hair et al. 2010) and, if possible, 2) collect a second round of primary data based on the same questionnaire to further expand the database on this topic.

comp-capabilities

Aberson, W. (2016). The Influence of Individual Competencies and Organizational Adaptability on the Dynamic capability for Stakeholder Orientation in a CSR context. MSc Thesis, Wageningen University and Research.

Dentoni, D., Bitzer, V., & Pascucci, S. (2016). Cross-sector partnerships and the co-creation of dynamic capabilities for stakeholder orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(1), 35-53.

Dentoni, D., Blok, V., Lans, T., & Wesselink, R. (2012). Developing Human Capital for Agrifood Firms’ Multi-Stakeholder Interactions. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 15(A), 61-68.

Dentoni, D., Hospes, O., & Ross, R. B. (2012). Managing wicked problems in agribusiness: the role of multi-stakeholder engagements in value creation: Editor’s Introduction. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 15(B), 1-12.

Dentoni, D., & Peterson, H. C. (2011). Multi-stakeholder sustainability alliances in agri-food chains: A framework for multi-disciplinary research. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 14(5), 83-108.

Dentoni, D., & Veldhuizen, M. G. (2012). Building Capabilities for Multi-Stakeholder Interactions at Global and Local Levels: An Executive Interview with Jan Kees Vis, Berton Torn and Anniek Mauser. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 15(B), 95-106.

Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Babin, B. J., & Black, W. C. (2010). Multivariate data analysis: A global perspective (Vol. 7). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Jager, W. (2016). From organizational structuring to learning: The role of authority and communication in translating individual competencies into the organizational capability of learning from stakeholders. MSc Thesis, Wageningen University and Research.

Osagie, E. R., Wesselink, R., Blok, V., Lans, T., & Mulder, M. (2016). Individual competencies for corporate social responsibility: A literature and practice perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(2), 233-252.

Veldhuizen, M., Blok, V., & Dentoni, D. (2013). Organisational drivers of capabilities for multi-stakeholder dialogue and knowledge integration. Journal on Chain and Network Science, 13(2), 107-117.

Wesselink, R., Blok, V., van Leur, S., Lans, T., & Dentoni, D. (2015). Individual competencies for managers engaged in corporate sustainable management practices. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, 497-506.

MSc thesis 2: Individual competencies for emerging business models in Malawi

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Renate Wesselink, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

Despite still fuzzy and debated in the literature, the concept of business models helps describing how an organization creates, delivers and captures value for its customers through a combination of formal and informal mechanisms (Osterwalder & Pigneur 2010; Amit & Zott 2012). Especially in complex and uncertain contexts as in emerging economies, business models involve multi-actor partnerships with multiple interdependent yet competing stakeholders (Seelos & Mair 2007; Dahan et al. 2010). An underexplored area of investigation in the domain of business models is the role of people and, in particular, on their individual competencies in making these business models adapt to operate in such complex and uncertain contexts. So far, most of the research on individual competencies took place in large companies in developed contexts.

Therefore, we are seeking a MSc student – preferably in Management, Marketing and Economics (MME) and interested in topics related to organizational behavior and strategic change management – that is willing to join our Malawi project as part of our Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) program. The thesis will involve working with: 1) secondary data based on the interviews conducted between 2014 and 2016 with stakeholders of the Malawian ACE (Agricultural Commodity Exchange), an example of business model needed to operate in a complex and uncertain context (Dentoni & Dries 2015; Dentoni et al. 2015; Liesdek 2017 work-in-progress); and 2) primary data to be collected with further interviews with stakeholders of the Malawian ACE in Malawi.

Slide06

Amit, R. & Zott, C. 2012. Creating value through business model innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53, 41.

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., & Dries, L. (2015). Private sector investments to create market-supporting institutions: The case of Malawian Agricultural Commodity Exchange. In 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California (No. 205709). Agricultural and Applied Economics Association & Western Agricultural Economics Association.

Dentoni, D., & Krussmann, F. (2015). Value network analysis of Malawian legume systems: implications for institutional entrepreneurship. Food and Agriculture Organizaiton (FAO), United Nations, Conference on “Food Supply and Distribution System Dynamics”, Rome, June 2015.

Liesdek, B. (2017). MSc thesis on the Malawian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE), work-in-progress. Wageningen University & Resarch (WUR).

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.

Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2007). Profitable business models and market creation in the context of deep poverty: A strategic view. The academy of management perspectives, 21(4), 49-63.

MSc thesis 3: Storage business models and farmers’ seed choices in Ethiopia

Suggested supervisors: Dr. Liesbeth Dries, Dr. Jacques Trienekens, Dr. Domenico Dentoni

Despite still fuzzy and debated in the literature, the concept of business models helps describing how an organization creates, delivers and captures value for its customers through a combination of formal and informal mechanisms (Osterwalder & Pigneur 2010; Amit & Zott 2012). Especially in complex and uncertain contexts as in emerging economies, business models involve multi-actor partnerships with multiple interdependent yet competing stakeholders (Seelos & Mair 2007; Dahan et al. 2010). In Ethiopia, for example, multiple business models have been emerging to upgrade storage facilities (Wegen 2016) since storage represents a key constraint to innovation along agri-food value chains (Dentoni et al. 2017).

While these storage business models (SBMs) in Ethiopia have now been described and compared (Dentoni et al. 2017), a knowledge gap persists in understanding how the availability of these SBMs would influence farmers’ decision to participate to them and, accordingly, to invest in higher-cost, higher-productivity and higher-return seed choices. Therefore, we are seeking a MSc student – preferably in Management, Marketing and Economics (MME) and with an interest in farmer decision-making in developing countries – that is willing to join our Ethiopia project as part of our Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) program. The thesis will involve: 1) designing and administrating a farmer survey in Ethiopia, either semi-structured or fully quantitative, in cooperation with our local partners; 2) analyzing data to understand farmers’ seed choices under different (hypothetical) storage arrangements.

business-models

Amit, R. & Zott, C. 2012. Creating value through business model innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53, 41.

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 et al. (2017). Storage business models in Ethiopia: Governance and Implication for Agri-Food Chain Development. Manuscript under preparation for journal submission. Email Domenico.dentoni@wur.nl to receive paper draft.

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.

Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2007). Profitable business models and market creation in the context of deep poverty: A strategic view. The academy of management perspectives, 21(4), 49-63.

Wegen, D. (2016). Public-Private Partnership Approaches in Innovation Ecosystems: Examining maize value chain actors’ drivers and preferences to participate in a Public-Private Partnerships in Ethiopia. MSc thesis, Wageningen University & Research.

MSc thesis 4: Malawi – Drivers of institutional entrepreneurship in the Agricultural Commodity Exchange. 

Co-supervisors: Liesbeth Dries and Domenico Dentoni

African agriculture traditionally faces constraints to innovation and their causes relate to both state and market failures. To overcome the institutional voids, a number of actors in the agricultural and food system seek to develop market-supporting institutions. This MSc thesis seeks to understand how, why and under which conditions private actors invest into the development of these market-supporting institutions in Africa. To tackle this question, the thesis will investigate the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) in Malawi through the collection of primary data and the analysis of secondary data collected between 2014 and 2016. We are looking primarily for a student that is interested to apply an institutional economics lens to interpret and explain private sector participation and thus the evolution of ACE over time.

Founded in 2006 by the National Small Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) with USAID support with shares bought by Malawian and international agribusiness companies (see figure below), ACE intermediated respectively 11% and 5% of all commercial soybean (7,500 MT out of 68,000 MT) and maize sales (50,000 MT out of 1 MT Million) in Malawi in 2014/2015, thus playing a significant role in these markets (ACE 2014) (Dentoni and Dries 2015). To analyze the ACE case, a New Institutional Economics (NIE) theoretical lens helps shedding light on how ACE affects transaction costs of value chain actors (Bardhan 1989; Williamson 1979). Focusing on transaction costs is appropriate especially in commodity markets and in contexts where trust and legal issues play a central role (Williamson 2000). ACE presents a unique case study in the investigation of market-supporting institutions, since most commodity exchanges established throughout Africa have languished (Bjerga and Davison 2015).

Slide07

Bardhan, P. (1989). The new institutional economics and development theory: A brief critical assessment. World Development, 17(9), 1389-1395.

Bjerga and Davison (2015). Trading Floors Can’t Feed Africa: Exchanges aren’t helping farmers as foreign backers hoped. Bloomberg Business, April 2nd, 2015.

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

Williamson, O. E. (1979). Transaction-cost economics: the governance of contractual relations. Journal of law and economics, 233-261.

Williamson, O. E. (2000). The new institutional economics: taking stock, looking ahead. Journal of economic literature, 595-613.

MSc thesis opportunities for 2016

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 (see figure below; 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.

Slide06

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.

MSc thesis 2: Malawi – Drivers of institutional entrepreneurship in the Agricultural Commodity Exchange.

Co-supervisors: Liesbeth Dries and Domenico Dentoni

African agriculture traditionally faces constraints to innovation and their causes relate to both state and market failures. To overcome the institutional voids, a number of actors in the agricultural and food system seek to develop market-supporting institutions. This MSc thesis seeks to understand how, why and under which conditions private actors invest into the development of these market-supporting institutions in Africa. To tackle this question, the thesis will investigate the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) in Malawi through the collection of primary data and the analysis of secondary data collected in 2014 and 2015.

Founded in 2006 by the National Small Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) with USAID support with shares bought by Malawian and international agribusiness companies (see figure below), ACE intermediated respectively 11% and 5% of all commercial soybean (7,500 MT out of 68,000 MT) and maize sales (50,000 MT out of 1 MT Million) in Malawi in 2014/2015, thus playing a significant role in these markets (ACE 2014) (Dentoni and Dries 2015). To analyze the ACE case, a New Institutional Economics (NIE) theoretical lens helps shedding light on how ACE affects transaction costs of value chain actors (Bardhan 1989; Williamson 1979). Focusing on transaction costs is appropriate especially in commodity markets and in contexts where trust and legal issues play a central role (Williamson 2000). ACE presents a unique case study in the investigation of market-supporting institutions, since most commodity exchanges established throughout Africa have languished (Bjerga and Davison 2015).

Slide07

Bardhan, P. (1989). The new institutional economics and development theory: A brief critical assessment. World Development, 17(9), 1389-1395.

Bjerga and Davison (2015). Trading Floors Can’t Feed Africa: Exchanges aren’t helping farmers as foreign backers hoped. Bloomberg Business, April 2nd, 2015.

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

Williamson, O. E. (1979). Transaction-cost economics: the governance of contractual relations. Journal of law and economics, 233-261.

Williamson, O. E. (2000). The new institutional economics: taking stock, looking ahead. Journal of economic literature, 595-613.

MSc thesis 3: Uganda – Understanding dynamics in individual and community-based entrepreneurship in coffee, dairy and honey sectors.

Co-supervisors: Domenico Dentoni, Kim Poldner and Laureene Ndagire 

Literature on innovation systems suggests that agricultural innovation is a co-creation process that requires engagement of a wide network of stakeholders from organizations, enterprises and individuals focused on “bringing new products, new processes and new forms of organization into economic use, together with the institutions and policies that affect their behavior and performance” (World Bank, 2006). Ideally, the capacity to innovate and be included in these multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) must be promoted at multiple levels from individual, organization and policy level. However, opportunities for smallholders to benefit from inclusion in MSPs and value chains remain elusive to many.

This MSc thesis will focus on entrepreneurship literature in emerging economies, which overall looks at the interaction among communities, families, and individual entrepreneurs (Cornwall, 1998; Peredo and Chrisman 2006) and in supporting or limiting entrepreneurship. While the communities where the entrepreneurs live have been treated in the literature as an exogenous part of the environment (e.g., Ali 2013; Maldonado 2015), an emerging point of view is to treat the entrepreneurs and their communities as embedded in a network of local relationships (Johannisson, Ramirez-Pasillas, & Karlsson, 2002; Kilkenny, Nalbarte, & Besser, 1999; Larson & Starr, 1993). In particular, the concept of community-based enterprise (CBE) refers to a community acting corporately as both entrepreneur and enterprise in pursuit of the community good, with community members co-owning or co-accessing information, knowledge, and physical or financial capital (Peredo and Chrisman 2006). Depending on the MSc student interests, the thesis could be framed as a qualitative, inductive study (similar to Walther 2016) or quantitative, deductive study (similar to Sevikul 2015 in the context of Dutch Community Supported Agriculture; see figure below).

Slide6

Ali, N. (2013). MSc thesis on the role of Agriprofocus innovation platforms on farmers’ entrepreneurship. Available upon request.

Cornwall, J. R. (1998). The entrepreneur as a building block for community. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 3(2): 141–148.

Johannisson, B., Ramirez-Pasillas, M., & Karlsson, G. (2002). The institutional embeddedness of local inter-firm networks: A leverage for business creation. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 14: 297–315.

Kilkenny, M., Nalbarte, L., & Besser, T. (1999). Reciprocated community support and small-town small business success. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 11: 231–246.

Larson, A., & Starr, J. (1993). A network model of organization formation. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 18(2): 5–15.

Maldonado, E.L. (2015). MSc thesis on the impact of Agriprofocus fairs on farmers’ entrepreneurship. Available upon request.

Peredo, A.M., Chrisman, J.J. (2006). Toward a theory of Community-Based Enterprise. Academy of Management Review 2006, Vol. 31, No. 2, 309–328.

Sevikul, P. (2015). MSc thesis on the relationships among the governance of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and members’ entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. Available upon request.

Walther. C. (2016). MSc thesis on the relationships among leadership, trust and governance of energy sharing communities in Germany. Available upon request.

World Bank (2006). Enhancing Agricultural Innovation: How to go Beyond the Strengthening of Research Systems.118 Washington DC, USA: World Bank.

MSc thesis 4: Uganda – The role of innovation platforms in coffee, dairy and/or honey value chains: A value network analysis perspective.

Co-supervisors: Domenico Dentoni, Laurens Klerkx and Laureene Ndagire

Many interventions in agri-food systems – and particularly innovation platforms – seek to increase coordination among business actors in and across supply chains in emerging economies (Kilelu et al. 2016). Yet, these interventions are rarely supported by suitable methodological tools, and particularly by mapping tools. To fill this methodological gap and to provide a baseline for the study of the role of innovation platforms in selected Ugandan value chains, this MSc thesis will employ value network analysis (VNA; see example in figure below) as a systems mapping tool that pictures the actors within and around the existing coffee, dairy and honey value chains in Uganda, and particularly in two districts where the Value Chain Innovation Platforms for Food Security (VIP4FS) project will operate in 2016-2019.

VNA deepens and formalizes the analysis of the interconnectedness and the power structures in agricultural systems by mapping the resource flows associated with relationships among actors in and around supply chains (Dentoni and Krussmann 2015; Dentoni and Klerkx 2016). As such, this tool complements other diagnostic tools in use to map system actors (social network analysis), resource exchange (value chain analysis) and innovation barriers and opportunities in complex agricultural system (systemic analysis). Based on its methodological contribution, VNA allows change agents to identify leverage points for innovation-support interventions, such as innovation platforms, to strategically interconnect actors and share complementary resources to overcome institutional and policy issues. VNA also helps to support adaptive management, as repeated application of VNA will highlight change dynamics and show how interconnectedness and power structures have changed in agricultural systems due to innovation-support interventions, and resultant conclusions for which new leverage points have emerged. This can assist innovation change agents in refocusing their attention and investments and increase coordination and coherence of innovation processes at a systemic level.

Slide05

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

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.

Kilelu, C., Klerkx, L. and Leeuwis, C. (2016). Supporting commercialization by enhancing integrated coordination in agri-food value chains: experiences with dairy hubs in Kenya. Experimental Agriculture, in press.

MSc thesis 5: Uganda – Plurality of impacts (and impact assessments) of multi-stakeholder platforms on farmers’ innovation in coffee, dairy and/or honey value chains.

Co-supervisors: Domenico Dentoni, Valentina Materia and  Carlos Iza Barzola

Multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) have been widely recognized as an important promising vehicle for increasing the impact of agricultural research and development on farmers’ innovation (Devaux et al., 2009). From an innovation system perspective (Leeuwis, 2008; Hounkonnou et al. 2012; Schut et al., 2015), MSPs facilitate and strengthen interaction, collaboration, coordination and learning among multiple stakeholders to reach common objectives and cope with complex problems (Van Paassen et al., 2014).

Given their importance, literature on MSPs is rapidly growing. Yet, this recent literature remains scattered in understanding and assessing the nature and impacts of MSPs. There are limited methods and tools available to evaluate whether they are effective and it is still unclear how governance of MSPs relates to its impacts (Cadilhon, 2013). This knowledge gap of the governance mechanism of the MSPs, leave a managerial problem in the hands of organizations participating or leading MSPs (Nederlof et al. 2011; Pamuk et al. 2014: Ton 2015). As a result, decision-makers in MSPs do not have a clear guidance from theory on how their practices may result in intended or unintended impacts on farmers’ innovation and the whole system around them.

This MSc thesis will focus on understanding the multiplicity of ways that the nature of MSPs and the impact of MSPs on farmers’ innovation has been conceptualized and assess so far in the literature. After a first 1) conceptual part – where the student will work on characterizing MSPs based on their configurations, governance mechanisms, impact pathways and targeted farmers’ innovations – the student will 2) draw implications that will help designing a MSPs’ impact assessment tool for a project taking place in Uganda. This impact assessment tool will be based on mixed methods, that is, it take into account the complementarities among qualitative and quantitative methods used so far in recent MSPs’ impact studies.

Cadilhon, J. (2013). A conceptual framework to evaluate the impact of innovation platforms on agrifood value chains development. Policy, Trade and Value Chains Program. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from https://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/33710

Dentoni, D., Bitzer, V., & Pascucci, S. (2016). The Impact of Cross-Sector Partnerships on the Co-Creation of Capabilities for Stakeholder Orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, in press.

Devaux, A., Horton, D., Velasco, C., Thiele, G., López, G., Bernet, T., Reinoso, I., et al. (2009). Collective action for market chain innovation in the Andes. Food Policy, 34(1), 31–38.

Hounkonnou, D., Kossou, D., Kuyper, T. W., Leeuwis, C., Nederlof, S., Röling, N., Sakyi-Dawson, O., et al. (2012). An innovation systems approach to institutional change: Smallholder development in West Africa. Agricultural Systems, 108, 74–83.

Leeuwis, C. (2008). Communication for rural innovation: Rethinking agricultural extension. John Wiley & Sons.

Nederlof, S., Wongtschowski, M., & Lee, F. van der. (2011). Putting heads together: Agricultural innovation platforms in practice. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from http://www.lmpublishers.nl/assets/PuttingHeads.pdf

Pamuk, H., Bulte, E., & Adekunle, A. A. (2014). Do decentralized innovation systems promote agricultural technology adoption ? Experimental evidence from Africa. Food Policy, 44, 227–236.

Schut, M., Cadilhon, J.-J., Misiko, M., & Dror, I. (2015). 1 The state of innovation platforms in agricultural research for development. Innovation Platforms for Agricultural Development: Evaluating the Mature Innovation Platforms Landscape, 1.

Ton, G. (2015). Measuring tensions and intentions: mixing methods in the impact evaluation of development support to farmer organisations (Doctoral dissertation, Wageningen University).

Van Paassen, A., Klerkx, L., Adu-Acheampong, R., Adjei-Nsiah, S., & Zannoue, E. (2014). Agricultural innovation platforms in West Africa: How does strategic institutional entrepreneurship unfold in different value chain contexts? Outlook on Agriculture, 43(3), 193–200.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: