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Title: A Change Management Approach to Unlocking the Value of Digital Agriculture for Family Farming Businesses
Contributor(s): Leonard, Emma Catherine (author); Gregory, Susanne  (supervisor)orcid ; Wells, Reuben (supervisor); Lamb, David  (supervisor)orcid ; Cowley, Frances  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2022-06-09
Copyright Date: 2022-01
Open Access: Yes
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Digital is the next wave of innovation for agriculture, enabling data flows and data-driven actions along the agri-food value chain. Yet family farming businesses are struggling to comprehend the value of changing to digital methods of data collection and use. Working with all internal and nominated external members of a farming business team, this research employed a mixed methods research approach to establish How can an adoption framework improve uptake and use of digital agriculture by a family farming business?

Whole-of-team engagement and clear communication is crucial for successful change. By combining change management and diffusion of innovation theories with maturity modelling a conceptual novel adoption framework was proposed consisting of two evaluation tools and a Change Guide. Using surveys, video tutorials and industry resources the evaluation tools were populated with task and situation statements which were tested, reviewed and agreed by the participants using a Delphi method. These tools quantified the current state of digital capability or digital processes, and highlighted strengths and weaknesses by skill, characteristics and focus activities. These findings flowed into the third part of the framework; the Change Guide which is used to address a digital change specifically desired by the business.

Using the team approach highlighted inconsistencies in individuals' perceptions and priorities for digital change. Before using the framework, the participants struggled to present their current digital state of capability or process. Using a formalised approach to change was unfamiliar to the teams but this bottom-up approach was accepted by the participants. To achieve wider uptake of the framework, targeted extension would be required.
An embedded study with providers of digital solutions for agriculture investigated their perspectives on, and approaches to, adoption. Providers also struggled to present the value proposition of digital change. An ecosystem for influencing human, technological and data factors was described.

The ongoing failure to unlock the value proposition of digital agriculture is considered to be due to digital solutions being offered at a task, rather than a process level, and failure to align digital solutions with human influences on adoption. The adoption ecosystem for providers and adoption framework for users offer a way to overcome these limitations and illuminate the value of digital change and the pathway to adoption.

Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
130306 Educational Technology and Computing
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300208 Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
390305 Professional education and training
390405 Educational technology and computing
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930102 Learner and Learning Processes
930201 Pedagogy
930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 160302 Pedagogy
160304 Teaching and instruction technologies
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:Thesis Doctoral

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