A-11/22 Social integration mechanisms to strengthen absorptive capacity in agricultural advisory service organisations

Writers: Egil Petter Stræte, Bjørn Gunnar Hansen, Eystein Ystad og Gunn-Turid Kvam 

Purpose To explore the structures and processes within agricultural advisory organisations that may enhance absorptive capacity (AC) and determine how organisations develop their AC.

Design/methodology/approach A qualitative explorative case study of advisory services in Norway, which are structured as farmer cooperatives. Interviews, document analysis, and internet information are applied.

Findings Strong social mechanisms are needed to realise the potential AC in an organisation. Advisory organisations with incorporated research and development (R&D) can translate findings from both their own research projects and external sources, which increases their absorptive capacity and boosts service innovation. Further, systematic emphasis on continuous learning strengthens AC, as do networking and internal communications.

Practical implications By improving the incorporation of R&D, continuous learning and networking, advisory service organisations can benefit from the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS). Ultimately farmers can receive more updated and relevant services for their farms.

Theoretical implications Incorporation of R&D, continuous learning and networking are significant social integration mechanisms that can improve a firm’s AC.

Originality/value Previous studies on AC have shown that it is important for innovation. This paper sheds additional light on how AC can be improved.

The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2022.2117214

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