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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

Print version ISSN 0301-603X

Abstract

BOTHA, C. A. J.  and  COUTTS, J.. Moving change to the top of the agenda: learning from the on-ground decision-makers. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2011, vol.39, n.1, pp. 1-16. ISSN 0301-603X.

This paper draws on innovation decision-making theory and a number of extension research and evaluation projects in which the authors have participated to explore the pathway to practice change and how it can be influenced. It suggests that a major factor influencing the rate of adoption, is the ability of decision-makers to 'play' with the new approach and so make a decision based on confidence that it will work for them. The authors build on a number of papers on decision-making which describe the stages through which people move in the adoption process. Reference is made to authors who overlay these stages with the capacity and motivation for change - and the impact of contextual factors such as structural changes in agriculture, available finances, farm size and climate. The findings are pulled together in a tabulated checklist to guide project teams in ways that best foster play - and hence more rapid applicable adoption of innovations. It is concluded that providing the best information on its own is rarely enough - providing space to play with that information is critical if adoption is to be accelerated.

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