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Three Perspectives on Motivation and Multi-Criteria Assessment of Organic Food Systems

Læssøe, Jeppe; Ljungdalh, Anders; Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted; Noe, Egon; Kastberg, Peter; Christensen, Tove; Olsen, Søren Bøye; Kærgård, Niels and Dubgaard, Alex (2013) Three Perspectives on Motivation and Multi-Criteria Assessment of Organic Food Systems. Ecology and Society, 19 (3), 7- .

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Document available online at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss3/art7/


The complexity of values related to organic food systems is normally difficult to ascertain, understand and act upon for both producers and consumers, as well as for other agents. In this paper we have suggested MCA as a method that may help in coping with this complexity. Furthermore, we have pointed to the importance of addressing the challenge of motivation when designing such an MCA tool. In doing so, we have applied three very different concepts of motivation – an economic, a psycho-social and a relational concept. While they represent fundamentally different perspectives, by incorporating all three within a multi-perspective approach, we have been able to explore ’a broader array of relevant aspects of motivation when designing a MCA tool to be used by consumers when dealing with organic food issues. From an economic perspective, motivation is closely related to the buying situation and consumers’ need to choose between products. This stresses the importance of gaining a quick overview and of support in assessing the options. From a psycho-social perspective, the key point is to design the tool in a way that makes it possible for the consumer to include his or her experiences and specific lifeworld strategies in the assessment process. This highlights the importance of an MCA tool which enables users to influence and change criteria and values in decision-making and reflexive processes. Finally, from a relational perspective, motivation is a matter of social interaction and the tool should therefore be designed so as to allow dialogue between the agents involved in the value chain of the organic food system. Applying the three perspectives on motivation to the issue has proven the value of a multi-perspective approach and provided input qualifying the development of a prototype MCA tool for agents participating in the organic food system.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Multi-Criteria Assessment (MCA), Organic food, Motivation
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Specific methods > Indicators and other value-laden measures
Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Values, standards and certification > Assessment of impacts and risks
Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Values, standards and certification > Evaluation of inputs
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 1 > MultiTrust
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen > KU-LIFE - Faculty of Life Sciences > Danish Research Institute of Food Economics
Deposited By: Ljungdalh, Anders
ID Code:24665
Deposited On:05 Dec 2013 15:14
Last Modified:26 Aug 2014 12:16
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:Contributing to MultiTrust deliverable 3.6.2.

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