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Title: Organising partnerships for knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural agricultural context : the case of Sino-Mozambican partnership for rice-farming in southern Mozambique
Author: Ussivane, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 8410
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis reports on a study of a partnership that sought to establish high-yield rice production within the Baixo-Limpopo region of Mozambique. This project is part of the wider Sino-Mozambique cooperation to boost agriculture development in Mozambique; particularly to resolve the problem of low productivity of the local rice farmers. The thesis reports an action research study of how stakeholders have sought to improve the management and organisation of the project to avoid the cost of working across-cultures, by accepting difference as a resource for innovation. Drawing on the literature on knowledge transfer, inter-organisational collaboration and cross-cultural relations, I explain the ways in which the management task faced by stakeholders in the project context is complex. Then, I describe a participatory action research (PAR) intervention in which project stakeholders were empowered to own the project improvements and actively participate in their realisation. The PAR approach aimed to construct the problem, plan actions, implement them and evaluate the practical effectiveness of the action plan by means of a workshop at which stakeholders debated and shared evidence of improvements. The research has made a number of practical contributions to improve the organisation of the partnership created to deliver this rice farming project. Firstly, the study showed that energising stakeholders – for instance stimulating, championing the cause for their involvement, and employing collaboration as a vehicle for stakeholders pursuit of group interest – is a key feature of their motivation to join the project. Secondly, the study showed that partnerships could be managed to facilitate knowledge transfer in the project by first developing and operationalising collaborations between stakeholders, and then driving knowledge adaptation. Thirdly, it has shown that adapting established knowledge, as long as it is demonstrated to best suit the local needs, helped reconcile the tensions within the partnership. Fourthly, the study suggested that seeking mutually beneficial outcomes makes it possible to achieve reconciliation of competing strategies and goals between public, private, and community stakeholders. Fifthly, the study provided insights about team behaviour in collaborating stakeholders, wherein each member plays a different role in a complementary way across the value chain. Beyond this specific project’s context I suggest management implications for innovation professionals working on knowledge transfer projects involving stakeholders from different national cultures. On the basis of the research I articulate implications for public policy. At the level of national policy, there are implications for the organisation of “Public Private Partnerships” in Mozambique. More widely, I suggest lessons for the enactment of Africa-China cooperation projects in agriculture. Finally, I suggest possible areas of future academic research.
Supervisor: Ellwood, P. ; Warren, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral