Knowledge Sharing;Agricultural Knowledge;Agricultural Production and Marketing Group;Knowledge Transfer
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[[abstract]]AbstractThis research takes an agricultural production and marketing group pursuing ISO certification as a case of study. The primary purpose of this study investigates the process of agricultural knowledge acquiring, sharing and transfer of the selected case using methods, such as face-to-face interviews, document analyses and non-participatory observation. The influential factors, both promotive and impedimental are analyzed and evaluated to conclude effective strategies for farmers’ knowledge sharing and transfer of an agricultural production and marketing group. These findings can in turn be used as references for another agricultural production and marketing groups.1.The important agricultural knowledge of farmers in a successful agricultural production and marketing group includes: knowledge of insecticide safety and pest control, knowledge of rational fertilization and management of the soil, and knowledge of marketing management. Other important agricultural knowledge recognized by farmers includes business or farm management, quality certification, intellectual property, fruit trees planting, agricultural machinery maintenance, and manufacture technology.2.Agricultural knowledge can be learned in three ways. The first way is non-formal learning, including training classes held by farmers’ association, agricultural experiment and improvement stations, toxic substances research institute, and county government. The second one is informal independent learning, including farmers’ experience reflection, reading books or magazines, and watching television. The third one is informal interpersonal learning, including field observations or consulting other group members.3.The sharing of agricultural knowledge is characterized by the process of socialization and externalization. To be specific, the socialization process is characterized by sharing knowledge through interpersonal and interactive observation and experience reflection. Whereas the externalization process is characterized by sharing knowledge through informal interactions and formal interactions like meetings, field observation and discussion.4.The transfer of agricultural knowledge consists of two phases: first, documentation of external expert knowledge and knowledge transfer phase; second, knowledge acquiring and improvement of problem solving skills of group members.5.There are five major benefits from agricultural knowledge sharing and transfer as identified in this case study. The first is to increase in the quality and quantity of organizational management knowledge. Second, the cost down of insecticides and fertilizers, and improvement of work performance. The third, customer identification is increased due to certified product safety. The fourth benefit is about marketing, including the increase of marketing channels and customer resources, gradual rising of business achievement, customer identification of product quality, and the establishment of uniqueness and brand. Fifth, the operation of the organization is also benefited. Specifically, the joint participation of group members has made them bound together, become well-known, and strongly motivated to learn, which are beneficial for knowledge learning and sharing, and enhance problem-solving ability.6.Three promotive factors that can enhance farmers’ sharing and transfer of agricultural knowledge include: values of group members, small group teaching that meets the needs of group members, and highly interactive participation of members due to ISO certification system.7.However, four factors that impede farmers’ sharing and transfer of agricultural knowledge are also found. First, conflicts between new and old experiences and limitation form strict regulations. Second, the limitation of group member’s age and learning capacity. Third, government policy does not support accordingly so that participants cannot gain obvious improvement in their economic incomes. Finally, ISO certification and equipments both increase cost burden.8.The construction of agricultural knowledge system can be analyzed as consisting of three stages. The first stage is the process that the group members acquiring important agricultural knowledge; the second stage is the process of knowledge sharing and transfer among group members; the final stage is the stage where the organized knowledge is applied and the benefits are assessed. Group members can evaluate the benefits of knowledge sharing and transfer from four perspectives: cost, product quality, marketing and organization. Also, the feedback to their knowledge system exists to begin a new learning cycle, and move the group towards a long-lasting innovative business.9.Knowledge acquisition, sharing and transfer of farmers’ agricultural knowledge flows are embodied by the followings: agricultural knowledge acquisition enables to lay a basis for knowledge sharing in agriculture; agricultural knowledge sharing is required to build a consensus of agricultural knowledge; transfer of agricultural knowledge can build a case study of innovative agricultural management model; the flow of agricultural knowledge again leads to new demands of knowledge acquisition, and improvement in knowledge-sharing opportunities. In addition, to build the organizational norm of the use of knowledge exchange platform and practices of reflection is the key to farmers' innovations.