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Sustainability Science

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1427–1442 | Cite as

Communities of practice for knowledge co-creation on sustainable dairy farming: features for value creation for farmers

  • L. Triste
  • L. Debruyne
  • J. Vandenabeele
  • F. Marchand
  • L. Lauwers
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Concepts, Methodology, and Knowledge Management for Sustainability Science

Abstract

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are a promising concept for transdisciplinary knowledge co-creation in sustainable agricultural development, but empirical evidence from the farmers’ viewpoint is scarce. This paper contributes to empirical insights on the knowledge creation in CoPs as valued by farmers. Using concepts from CoP theory (domain, community, and practice) and the value creation framework (VCF) developed by Wenger et al. (Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework. Netherlands Ruud de Moor Center Rapport 18:60, 2011), we examined two cases issuing from a European project on sustainable dairy farming. Results indicate regional differences between the two cases and relate CoP features to value creation cycles (immediate, potential, applied, realized and reframing value). They show how specific features regarding domain, community, and practice development can enhance knowledge creation on sustainable agricultural development. Domain development should be considered consciously taking into account the project duration. The community should include actors with specific competencies, such as farmers with an open attitude, researchers with (practical) domain expertise, and advisors with skills as translators between researchers and farmers. The practice development, or the actual knowledge creation, should unify two equally important types of interaction that contribute differently to value creation in CoPs: individual farmer–researcher–advisor interactions and farmer group–advisor interactions. Our research provides both valuable information for designing and managing knowledge co-creation initiatives and anchors further research on competencies and activities required to foster the two types of interactions for knowledge creation.

Keywords

Knowledge co-creation Agricultural sustainable development Communities of Practice Value creation Design features Transdisciplinary research 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the whole Northern Irish DAIRYMAN team for contributing data for our research and the whole team’s support for writing this paper. Special thanks go to John Bailey and Kevin Hamill for organizing interviews with Northern Irish farmers.

Supplementary material

11625_2018_554_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Sciences UnitResearch Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO)MerelbekeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural EconomicsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratory for Education and SocietyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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