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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

There is Often Tension Between our Priorities (eg Government and Farmer priorities). What Theories will help us Design Extension Programs under these Circumstances?

Name of Leader:

Fiona Johnson and Denise Bewsell

Names of Participants:

Lucia Boxelaar, Katie Bowman, Joanne Millar, Noel Ainsworth, Mark Collins, Andrew Craig, Peter Wegener, Peter Long, Chris Linehan, Anita Chennell, Kathryn Galea, Sean Kenny, Eric Anderson

Main points of discussion

  • Taking a flexible approach is important, being realistic and recognising other aims.
  • Environmental sociology looks at citizen values versus consumer values. Maybe we have citizen values we need to convert to consumer values
  • Start from where they’re at and the here and now, eg the biodiversity program – Jo Millar
  • Worth pursuing work on beliefs and values – T Parmenter
  • Trade-offs will always occur between values and reality
  • Theories about having values and beliefs that then lead to action and others that say you take action and then justify through values and beliefs
  • Don’t forget long term objectives are part of the decision making and values
  • Evaluation of rice extension program revealed private extension (eg service providers) play a significant role
  • Why is there high trust for service providers? This occurs particularly when an investment of either time or cash has occurred and so there is a lot invested in the relationship. There maybe nowhere else to get the information
  • Intentional learning and practice change theory may have application
  • Voluntary adoption will occur when there is a private benefit even when it’s a public benefit issue
  • Chosen change versus unchosen change – forced reduction in fishing trawler numbers led to very angry and frightened audience who would not participate in programs designed to help manage the change. This could relate to theories about the grieving process and identity change
  • Without losing focus on your stated project objectives there may be a need to realign your activities and messages to match the audiences needs. This should be done with agreement from funders so expectations are aligned

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

  • Discussion highlighted different theories that could add value to our program planning and implementation
  • Some theories will be more useful than others at different times and situations
  • This is an issue a number of people and programs are facing
  • We need to follow it up

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