SQUARE PEGS AND ROUND HOLES:  CAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS DO AGRIBUSINESS AND FARM MANAGEMENT?

John Noonan1, Hamish Gow2

1 Senior Lecturer, Agribusiness Management, Curtin University

2 Professor of Agribusiness, Director, Business Innovation and Strategy, Te Puna Whakatipu: Transforming Agrifood Business, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Massey University

Abstract

Agribusiness and farm management scholarship is again at the forefront of aspiration for many tertiary intuitions who see an opportunity to train undergraduate and graduate students in agribusiness and farm management. Mainstream ‘business colleges and schools’ are potential candidates to deliver agribusiness programs. Firstly, we describe what agribusiness scholarship is, then what type of curricula and teachers underpin good scholarship. Historically, more successful agribusiness programs, evolved from agricultural colleges and land grant universities. Based on literature review, case study and personal experience, we consider prospects for delivery of agribusiness programs by mainstream business colleges and schools. In identifying and discussing sixteen (16) factors,   we conclude that, except in all but a few isolated instances, businesses schools have poorer understanding of the complexity of agribusiness and farm management scholarship.  Furthermore, business schools are often ill equipped in the underpinning philosophical requirements for agribusiness education and training. We suggest a major change in philosophy, built around inductive multidisciplinary delivery capacity is essential for most mainstream business colleges and schools to be appropriate vehicles for agribusiness and farm management scholarship.

Biography

John Noonan is experienced in teaching agriculture, agribusiness, farm management and science at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels and has consulted, taught and led training across a number of disciplines in Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and North America. John is a grandaunt in Agricultural Science majoring in Agricultural Economics, he also has post graduate qualifications in Education, Agricultural Extension and Natural Resource Management. Currently, in addition to teaching undergraduate agribusiness, delivering industry short courses and leading agricultural extension and outreach programs, he is preparing a PhD dissertation by supplication on the nexus between ‘wicked problems’, strategic management and planning and the adoption of innovations by farmers’.


Hamish Gow has served as a teaching academic at Cornell, Illinois and Michigan State in the United States and KU Leuven, Belgium, in Colleges/Schools of Agriculture and Business, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. He has researched in the areas of International market entry strategies; Foreign Direct Investment; Inter-organization business relationships; Entrepreneurial, marketing and financial innovation in Subsistence Markets; New institutional economics; Food safety, food security and governance systems for the global agri-food system; International agricultural development; and Public Private Partnerships.