Diffusion of innovation through video mediated social networks: influencing sugar cane farming practices applying evidence-of-adoption strategies

PhD Thesis


Thomas, Henry. 2011. Diffusion of innovation through video mediated social networks: influencing sugar cane farming practices applying evidence-of-adoption strategies. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Diffusion of innovation through video mediated social networks: influencing sugar cane farming practices applying evidence-of-adoption strategies

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorThomas, Henry
SupervisorMula, Joseph M
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages248
Year2011
Abstract

Faced with declining government investment, agricultural research and development needs a more cost-effective adoption pathway than traditional extension activities have been able to provide. Yet despite the high value placed in online services by most other industries, farmers and extension agents have not yet capitalised on the Internet's enormous potential. However, before contemplating the use of the Internet and social networking technologies, it was felt a more rigorous understanding of the social context that underpins farmer-to-farmer adoption was required.
To this aim, the Video Mediated Social Network is presented here, as a method that refashions technology transfer from an archaic top-down process into a participatory bottom-up approach that enables change by facilitating the transfer of innovations between farmers using video. Central to this approach is the Evidence-of-Adoption Framework, where motivating ideas are formed at the intersection between exposure to industry-wide evidence-of-adoption and the cultural-historic context of individual farmers. These motivating ideas, brought about by a tactic acceptance of validity claims conveyed through a language of operational detail combine with the significant influence of peers to trigger change.
This research conducted in two phases, began by iteratively building theory through exploratory research, which lead to a synthesis of Communicative Action, Cultural-Historic Activity Theory and The Theory of Planned Behaviour in its theoretical framework Observations of facilitated discussions were then combined with an electronic survey, with samples stratified across 12 regional locations. Treatments consisted of two DVD's, a website and video presentation. Video clips conveyed the personal accounts of farmers' experiences adopting new technologies and practices on their farms.
Correlation analysis using Spearman's p revealed that farmers who watched the video clips felt strongly encouraged by the model farmers, from whom they obtained details about practices that had previously eluded them. The normative beliefs increased their confidence and self-efficacy towards practice change, which combined with existing positive attitudes, motivated them to change. This ultimately led to some degree of behavioural control, including facilitating change (96%), planning change (60%) and actual change (32%). Additionally, farmers who were regular Internet users found this content compelling enough to want to access it online.

Keywordsinternet; farmers; industry wide evidence; adoption; communicative action; cultural-historic activity theory; websites, video clips
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020400699. Communications engineering not elsewhere classified
400604. Network engineering
300208. Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
300207. Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Business and Law
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