The research focus is the overarching theme of multi-actor business, innovation and learning processes in (international) agri-food chains and networks. All chair groups focus on different aspects of this theme, based on their specific expertise.
Mission and Vision of the Section Business, Consumer and Competence Studies (BCCS)
Since January 2012 the chair groups Management Studies (MST), Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (MCB), Education and Competence Studies (ECS), and Law and Governance (LAW) work together in the Section Business, Consumer and Competence Studies (BCCS). These chair groups share a long history of cooperation, in research and education (business education in the Life Sciences domain), so it was logical to join forces. In terms of research focus, an important overarching theme is that of multi-actor business, innovation and learning processes in (international) agri-food chains and networks. All chair groups focus on different aspects of this theme, based on their specific expertise: marketing and consumer behaviour (MCB), strategic management, innovation and entrepreneurship (MST), education and competence development (ECS), and legal requirements and governance (LAW).
We jointly acknowledge that agri-food chains and networks are moving towards globally interconnected systems, while societal demands for sustainability and responsibility put pressure on these systems to look for innovative solutions, mediated by new institutional arrangements. It requires adaptation to consumer demands, tighter cooperation within and better coordination across supply chains and networks, new and more developed skills of all actors, and all this within the different legal requirements and governance conditions in a global trade network. This implies a heavy burden for the organisations involved that have to manage these complex multi-input, multi-output relationships, while keeping a clear focus on their own objectives and responsibilities. Our assumption is that innovation and learning capabilities (in the broadest sense) are needed for companies in order to meet these challenges.
From a research perspective, this multi-stakeholder, multi-input, multi-output situation makes a multi-criteria optimisation necessary. This is not business-as-usual and requires substantial changes to theoretical thinking and methodological approaches to the various problems. Together the BCCS chair groups are eager and able to provide the theoretical basis and the needed research instruments to help the agri-food industry (and related organisations) to overcome the challenges fundamental for the transition from a production-oriented to a sustainable demand-oriented global agri-food system.