Interorganisational Collaborations Towards Sustainability: An exploratory study of farming companies and their partners in Southern Sweden
Abstract: Increasing population and rising incomes change food consumption patterns. The United Nations estimates that global food demand will double between 2010 and 2050 (Alexandratos & Bruinsma, 2012). As a result, many governments are promoting sustainable agriculture to increase their food production. The Swedish government aims to make agriculture in Sweden sustainable, resilient, competitive and attractive (Swedish National Food Strategy, 2017). This informs our choice of southern Sweden, the breadbasket of the country as the study area. Climate change, competition and concerns over the new Common Agricultural Policy are the main challenges of farmers in the region. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to investigate interorganisational collaborations from the perspectives of farmers in the region. We used exploratory approach to study collaborations among farmers and their partners where semi-structured interviews and observations were used to gather data. We adopted Creswell’s steps of data analysis. The study finds that many of the farmers have less knowledge of sustainability and sustainable agriculture. The study finds two main types of interorganisational collaborations existing between and among the farming companies and their partners - sustained dyadic collaborations and long-term collaborations. The study also finds the factors that enable and sustain collaborations in the sector. These factors are classified into enablers and sustainers. The enablers include climate change, legislation and regulations, globalisation, competency motivations, resource-related reasons, society-related reasons, partner reputation, expertise, quality and trustworthiness and capacity to deliver on promises, and the sustainers are trust building, transparency, good relationships and cooperation, shared vision, and good agronomic advice from partners. The study concludes that interorganisational collaborations between and among farming companies and their partners are driven largely by economic interests and climate change and therefore have little to do with sustainability.
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