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dc.contributor.advisorKerr, Don
dc.contributor.advisorNielsen, Susan
dc.contributor.authorMackrell, Dale Carolyn
dc.date.accessioned2018-01-23T02:16:56Z
dc.date.available2018-01-23T02:16:56Z
dc.date.issued2006
dc.identifier.doi10.25904/1912/2619
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10072/365290
dc.description.abstractAustralian farmers are supplementing traditional practices with innovative strategies in an effort to survive recent economic, environmental, and social crises in the rural sector. These innovative strategies include moving towards a technology-based farm management style. A review of past literature determines that, despite a growing awareness of the usefulness of computers for farm management, there is concern over the limited demand for computer-based agricultural decision support systems (DSS). Recent literature indicates that women are the dominant users of computers on family farms yet are hesitant to use computers for decision support, and it is also unclear what decision-making roles women assume on family farms. While past research has investigated the roles of women in the Australian rural sector, there is a dearth of research into the interaction of women cotton growers with computers. Therefore, this dissertation is an ontological study and aims to contribute to scholarly knowledge in the research domain of Australian women cotton growers, agricultural DSS, and cotton farm management. This dissertation belongs in the Information Systems (IS) stream and describes an interpretive single case study which explores the lives of Australian women cotton growers on family farms and the association of an agricultural DSS with their farm management roles. Data collection was predominantly through semi-structured interviews with women cotton growers and cotton industry professionals such as DSS developers, rural extension officers, researchers and educators, rural experimental scientists, and agronomists and consultants, all of whom advise cotton growers. The study was informed by multiple sociological theories with opposing paradigmatic assumptions: Giddens' (1984) structuration theory as a metatheory to explore the recursiveness of farm life and technology usage; Rogers' (1995) diffusion of innovations theory with a functionalist approach to objectively examine the features of the software and user, as well as the processes of technology adoption; and Connell's (2002) theory of gender relations with its radical humanist perspective to subjectively investigate the relationships between farm partners through critical enquiry. The study was enriched further by drawing on other writings of these authors (Connell 1987; Giddens 2001; Rogers 2003) as well as complementary theories by authors (Orlikowski 1992; Orlikowski 2000; Trauth 2002; Vanclay & Lawrence 1995). These theories in combination have not been used before, which is a theoretical contribution of the study. The agricultural DSS for the study was CottonLOGIC, an advanced farm management tool to aid the management of cotton production. It was developed in the late 1990s by the CSIRO and the Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), with support from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC). CottonLOGIC is a software package of decision support and record-keeping modules to assist cotton growers and their advisors in the management of cotton pests, soil nutrition, and farm operations. It enables the recording and reporting of crop inputs and yields, insect populations (heliothis, tipworm, mirids and so on), weather data, and field operations such as fertiliser and pesticide applications, as well as the running of insect density prediction (heliothis and mites) and soil nutrition models. The study found that innovative practices and sustainable solutions are an imperative in cotton farm management for generating an improved triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social outcomes. CottonLOGIC is an industry benchmark for supporting these values through the incorporation of Best Management Practices (BMP) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, although there were indications that the software is in need of restructuring as could be expected of software over five years old. The evidence from the study was that women growers are participants in strategic farm decisions but less so in operational decisions, partly due to their lack of relevant agronomic knowledge. This hindered their use of CottonLOGIC, despite creative attempts to modify it. The study endorsed the existence of gender differences and inequalities in rural Australia. Nevertheless, the study also found that the women are valued for their roles as business partners in the multidisciplinary nature of farm management. All the same, there was evidence that greater collaboration and cooperation by farm partners and advisors would improve business outcomes. On the whole, however, women cotton growers are not passive agents but take responsibility for their own futures. In particular, DSS tools such as CottonLOGIC are instrumental in enabling women cotton growers to adapt to, challenge, and influence farm management practices in the family farm enterprise, just as CottonLOGIC is itself shaped and reshaped. Hence, a practical contribution of this study is to provide non-prescriptive guidelines for the improved adoption of agricultural DSS, particularly by rural women, as well as increasing awareness of the worth of their roles as family farm business partners.
dc.languageEnglish
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.publisher.placeBrisbane
dc.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
dc.subject.keywordsAustralian cotton industry
dc.subject.keywordswomen farmers
dc.subject.keywordsagricultural decision support systems
dc.subject.keywordsfamily farms
dc.titleWomen as Farm Partners: Agricultural Decision Support Systems in the Australian Cotton Industry
dc.typeGriffith thesis
gro.facultyGriffith Business School
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextFull Text
dc.contributor.otheradvisorBange, Michael
dc.rights.accessRightsPublic
gro.identifier.gurtIDgu1315970120953
gro.identifier.ADTnumberadt-QGU20070305.131533
gro.source.ADTshelfnoADT0490
gro.source.GURTshelfnoGURT
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
gro.departmentGriffith Business School
gro.griffith.authorMackrell, Dale C.


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