10 Chapters
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3 The Origins of Managerial Ability

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3

The Origins of Managerial

Ability

Introduction

Chapter 2 introduced a range of factors likely to be involved in creating a farmer’s managerial skill. It is known that a wide range of skill levels exists in any community. This variability can be used to relate these factors to outcomes achieved by using the data from any particular group of farmers. The importance of each factor may depend on the environment, but to assess this would require many sets of observations. This chapter, however, contains a discussion on the results of quantifying the relationship between the basic factors and outcomes for a large sample of all types in a wide range of environments, thus providing a generalized relationship. The farmers in the sample are relatively sophisticated with approximately a third having some form of formal tertiary education, and certainly all have at least three years secondary education. The farms are relatively large in terms of the number of people fully employed relative to worldwide averages, and in terms of the output per person employed.

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7 Intuition

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7

Intuition

Introduction

There is little doubt most management decisions are made by managers using their intuition. The resulting conclusion is their mind’s answer to resolving the issue to hand. This process might be almost instantaneous, or the mind might come to an answer after a little time and reflection. Whichever the case, the decision does not involve formal and recorded analysis.

It is thought by some that 95% of decision making is based on intuition

(Croskerry et al., 2013) though others might not put an exact figure on the proportion but are sure intuition is the dominant decision system (Ohlmer, 2001;

McCown et al., 2012; Nuthall, 2012).

The discussion in Chapter 3 on the results of modelling managerial ability shows how important experience is as a factor in ability. Indeed, the data shows experience is about four times as important as all other factors such as management style and intelligence. This knowledge, however, begs the question, what is the exact meaning of ‘experience’, and how can it be improved as a factor in managerial ability? This is an important human factor question and is explored in this chapter.

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10 Methods of Improving Managerial Ability

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10

Methods of Improving

Managerial Ability

Introduction

The main reason for studying managerial ability is to consider ways of ­improving the farmer’s managerial skill, though an understanding can also be useful when considering the impact of agricultural policy initiatives. The purpose of this chapter is, therefore, to consider the techniques that will improve a manager’s skill no matter at what level they start.

As every manager currently exhibits a particular level of ability, a set of methods that can initiate improvement in all situations is required, and is highly desirable. Some farmers will improve more than others both due to their starting point and inherent ability. Each starts with a certain potential as defined by their genotype, and their early environment and experiences.

While the genotype is fixed, additional training of various kinds can change and improve the impact of their experiences. Fortunate farmers will have an appropriate genotype (intelligence, personality, etc.), and appropriate early experiences in the form of family life, education, challenging situations, encouragement and training courses. These all lead to skill, curiosity, confidence and self-esteem. Farmers without these advantages must work at compensating their situation with the support of all the facilities that are available.

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9 More on Objectives: Family Influences, Origins and Modification

Nuthall, P.L. CABI PDF

9

More on Objectives:

Family Influences, Origins and Modification

Introduction

A farmer’s objectives strongly impact on the decisions made. This is one of the reasons why the outcomes from every farm tend to be different as each farmer’s objectives will be unique. Also important to decisions is the farm family including a spouse. Thus, objectives and families are further considered in this chapter.

Part of comprehending a manager is the understanding of his or her objectives, and the origins of these objectives. So, one of the first steps in helping a farmer is determining whether his objectives are correctly stated. Progress cannot be measured without these yardsticks. But, while determining the objectives

(perhaps using the questionnaire listed earlier, or through careful observation) is important, of even greater value is the understanding why the farmer holds the particular set. Possibly the farmer has concluded incorrectly and so discussion and assessment may lead to modifications. To this end one of the sections in this chapter contains a discussion on the objectives and the influence of the family. Similarly, as a farmer’s locus of control (LOC) may be important in constricting progress, factors which give rise to a particular attitude are considered with a view to understanding a farmer’s LOC, and what might be done about improving the situation.

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8 The Influence of Farmers’ Personal Characteristics on a Range of Issues in Management

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8

The Influence of Farmers’

Personal Characteristics on a Range of Issues in

Management

Introduction

The thesis behind this book is that the human factor has an enormous influence on the life and times of any primary producing property. The information presented in the previous chapters makes this clear in a general sense. This chapter contains material that puts more flesh on the assertion by reviewing a number of studies covering a sample of aspects impacting on primary production. It is also important to realize that the ‘human factor’ is part and parcel of all Homo sapiens involved in the life of farms right from the new farm labourer through to the owners who may or may not directly contribute to the day-to-day running of the property.

In this chapter it is the manager whose human factor is brought further to the fore, but in so doing it should be remembered that her or his interactions with all the other humans involved in a farm may be influenced by the characteristics of each and every one of the participants. A farm operates not only by the planning decisions taken by the humans, but also by how successfully they carry out what has been decided. And the whole process is dynamic as people, risk and uncertainty unfold.

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