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INTI13 - A study of mental models and social representations

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  • 1. A study of mental models andA study of mental models andsocial representations: a pathsocial representations: a pathtowards the denaturalizationtowards the denaturalizationof the beliefs of the actors.of the beliefs of the actors.Scala, E.Universidad de Lomas de Zamora, GRUPO TAGAzzollini, S.CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, GRUPO TAG
  • 2. INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTIONThe present study was carried out takinginto account some concepts of the SocialRepresentations Theory (Moscovici,1961).Social representations are organized andhierarchical set of knowledge that aspecific group produces about an objector social phenomenon (Abric, 1994).
  • 3. INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTIONThe relationship between ideology and socialrepresentations must be understood in twodifferent but complementary ways:◦ a) social representations constitute ideology whileits grouping and organization can lead to beliefsystems capable of guiding the behaviour of themembers of a society;◦ b) ideology generates representations according toits links to other ideologies or because of theircharacteristics, that is, their capability to regulateand give coherence to collective knowledge so asto be a framework for all forms of experiencewhich determines the connection of praxis andconcrete action (Brown, 2007).
  • 4. INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTIONFunctionally, social representations describe andexplain reality. They guide the acting of a memberof a group. They are resources of reasoning andsocial action and cohesion to a group whileideologies provide sense to the world and mainlythe social action (Brown, 2002).Subjective experience is represented by individualsin mental models based on the physical, cultural andsocial context in which it operates; there is a broadinterest to account for the mental phenomena asthe starting point to explain the meaning.What shows this interest is the need to identify theconditions under which an individual (mentalmodels) or a social group (social representations)assigns meaning to an object (Von Eckardt, 1999).
  • 5. CONTEXTUALIZATION The production of milk in Tucuman is made upof a partnership formed by dairy producers,industry, university, provincial government,municipal government, the Cerela (CONICET)and INTA which works continuously and meetsonce a month since March 2006.The Province of Tucuman has a long tradition indairy production and ecological conditions thatallow achieving high standards ofcompetitiveness towards central basins ofArgentina and therefore the global dairy areas.The provincial dairy complex is located mainly inthe department of Trancas with 96% ofproduction.
  • 6. CONTEXTUALIZATION Providing that the freight rates reach historical prices thecompetitive ability will increase further due to the costs oftransporting milk from the central basin to the NOA. At present,the dairy industry in Tucuman only caters 9% of the localconsumption while the rest of the products come from the dairyindustry of the Pampas. If it is added the milk production of the two major basins of NOA,Salta and Tucuman, it would be supplying 14% of the NOAconsumption. Then, there is an enormous potential for theproduction in Tucuman to supply dairy products market in the NOAand this lies mainly in the close proximity to the markets and thecombination of population growth in the region NOA and low percapita consumption recorded in comparison to the national average(equivalent of 125 litres of milk per capita per year in the NOA vs210 litres per capita per year in the country). This region accountsfor 10% of the population and 5% of domestic consumption. Thissituation opens possibilities for both local industry and primaryproduction.
  • 7. CONTEXTUALIZATION Regarding cluster actors, they have a great recognition mainlygenerated around the Dairy Board created in 2006. In that one allthe actors that have some relation to the dairy cluster haveparticipation: Provincial Government, National and MunicipalGovernment, INTA, INTI, IDEP, Secretariat for Family Agriculture,Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Economics, serviceproviders, cooperatives and producers. There is also a collectivedynamic among primary producers as there are two cooperatives,two groups of Rural Change, a CREA Group as well as three groupsof small producers in the field of Family AgricultureUndersecretarys Office. The Dairy Board has a work program andstrategies agreed between actors. Despite the differences betweenthe actors and the failures that lie on the collective past of the basin,it is relevant the interaction as a habitual form of working and it hasbeen done through the implementation to achieve thetransformations.
  • 8. CONTEXTUALIZATIONAnyway, it can’t be considered a “mature cluster orself-sufficient” as the strategic vision is not fullyshared by all stakeholders. They have not solved amajor problem that was declared by themselves aspriority (six years ago) as the selling of raw milk isoutside the province as well as the lack of confidencein the local industry; besides it misses a greaterdegree of participation of stakeholders in thedecisions and visions.All these factors caused that the segment of the dairybusiness is not yet economically relevant for theadded value that it generates or that it couldgenerate. It is interesting to remark that they are stillfar from the competitive potential of the plot.
  • 9. OBJECTIVETo analyze the tensions between themental models and social representationsof the different sectors that interacts inthe context of milk production. Thepurpose is to confront them with theirown beliefs by denaturing to increase theconsensus capacity among them and toachieve a rethinking of short and longterm to improve the sustainability andprofitability of the territory under study.
  • 10. WORK METHOD To work with the actors it has been defined with them four maingroups to do the task:◦ a) The technical committee brings together professionals working indifferent institutions (INTA, INTI, Secretariat for Family Agriculture,Cerela-CONICET, University of Tucumán) and also those who workprivately.◦ b) The industrial committee brings together all Tucumán dairyproducers and also is added two professionals from the Faculty ofEconomics (Departments of Agricultural Economics and Marketing)and Cerela-CONICET.◦ c) The Bureau dairy validates all the work done by the previous twogroups in which the business rationality is sought although in thisgroup are also represented the different actors of the territoryincluded the provincial and national government.◦ d) Aproleche (producers association) Trancas cooperative and RuralChange group were also called to the meetings. The work wasorganized by a local coordinator and two methodological facilitatorsprovided by the Provincial Agricultural Services Program (Prosap) andthe Tucuman Productive Development Institute (IDEP).
  • 11. WORK METHODRegarding the stages of the work, the cited actors defined fourstages in September 2012:1) The commitment of the actors was sought as well as thedefinition of the Organizational Schema so as to achieve consensuson the working plan and the methodology to do so.2) Called “Where are we?”, consisted on defining a diagnosisfocusing the opportunities for the dairy and the actors capacities totake advantage of them. At this stage, we used denaturing tool ofsocial representations to achieve a vision that overcomes theproblems and achieve new dimensions to the solution of problems.3) Called “Where do we want to go?” which goal is to agree ona vision and mission for the frame as well as to define the strategicobjectives and lines of action.4) Called “How do we get there?”. In this stage we dumpeverything we worked on in a Competitive Improvement Planwhere the ideas project has a consensus.
  • 12. WORK METHODRegarding the stages of participation three areas wereagreed.◦ A) The technical analysis where the meetings with thetechnical and industrial committee, professionals and consultantswere carried out in the necessary cases.◦ B) The contribution of business and managerialrationality to the topic discussed in technical committeesmeetings held at the Dairy Board where producers and actorstook part of it.◦ C) The social validation in which it was presented anddiscussed in a General Assembly all the work that has beendone. The board gathered all the actors, producers, industry,government and university.Meetings held so far: 12 technical committee meetings, 3industrial committee meetings, 3 plenary meetings orassemblies or forums and 4 informal meetings with cheeseand cottage cheese producers (two in Trancas and two inTafi del Valle).
  • 13. METHODOLOGY Techniques and tools for data collection: For the diagnostic stage, semi-structured interviews were developed to producers, industrial,commercial and technical chain. Both surveys and guidelines guide wereconducted and discussed in seven technical committee meetings, threeindustrial committee meetings with the Dairy Board.◦ Regarding the primary sector (producers): The surveys covered several areasof analysis: production, infrastructure, human resources, social capital,institutions’ opinions and limiting review to growth, suppliers of inputs andservices and business management. In the semi-structured interviews weworked on their perceptions of the activity and their beliefs and ideas in theirsector as well as the industry and marketing.◦ Regarding the industrial sector (industrial): Quantitative surveys showed theirinfrastructure, current processing capacity, current and potential marketing,product types, sales channels used, social capital and review of the obstaclesfor the growth. Regarding semi-structured interviews we have also worked onideas, beliefs and practices of the sector and also on primary production andmarketing.◦ In relation to the commercial sector (shops, supermarkets and hypermarkets):although quantitative surveys were made, the low number in the sample (15)were considered for discussion of the results of the semi-structured interviewstaken that covered the ideas, beliefs and practices on the local dairy productsand their actors.
  • 14. METHODOLOGY Surveys taken: Stores: 15 stores, markets, supermarkets andwholesalers; Producers 39 (90% of producers); Industrial. 5(100%) Additionally, we used a market survey of the NOA region (northwestern Argentina) conducted in 2011 by the Great NorthernProgramme funded by the World Bank. The study is completeand a current and future characterization of dairy in the NOAwas done. Also the results of the surveys of the consumers werepresented, the interviews to the referent industry as well as thecomparison with the External Market (Chile, Bolivia and Peru). Data analysis: To analyze the results of the semi-structuredinterviews, we used the software “Atlas.ti.” We analyzed thesocial representations about the diagnosis they had about theactivity. The most meaningful phrases were selected and theywere discussed in the technical committee, the industrialcommittee and board milk. The survey data were analyzed withSPSS 19.0 support and it will be also done with the software“Catalyse”.
  • 15. a. Diagnostic Results In the first sentences the different visions clearly arise between chain actors andeven between two groups of producers. A producer group states: "If we stop the export (raw milk) at the moment and ifeverything is sold here in the local industry, the system crashes. They are prepared tohandle current surpluses commercially." The industry in a way wants to buy milkthat export but they recognize that some months have difficulties: "Were finewith the capacity to sell except from October to February in which we have difficulties."Meanwhile the retail chain said that local industrialists have good products suchas fresh milk and some cheeses but they have the great disadvantage of a smallmarket against the dairy market and a smaller presence in front of the demand.“Now they have a business and a brand problem with Cootam ". Meanwhile local producer that are integrated into the local industry believe thattheir peers should be delivering milk in a gradually way in order to get a strongerlocal industry. The exporting producers seek for an abrupt solution and as theydo not trust the local industry they expect the installation of a new entrepreneur. In the dialogue of the trade chain (especially with the retailer) it arose that theydo not know the local products and they have lack of commercial inattention bythe local industry. The retailer claimed that they do not know the product ofTucuman and complained for the lack of attention on the presale. They seepositive the product of Tucuman which is "cool and it has a quick connection withthe consumer." They say that if you have good quality they can be easily placed.
  • 16. a. Diagnostic Results Meanwhile, the industry claims that supermarkets and hypermarkets:"allow the sale of good volume of products and provide the chance toexpose the brand. The self-stores markets and stores sell little volume”. Asgreat disadvantage they see the lack of interaction with thesupermarkets and they claimed that they cannot set the final price dueto the high cost of logistics in a single product. According to the government and producers "The industry is notresponding to the problem" and the industry claims that they cannotreceive at once all of the milk received by producers that exportbecause "This volume (Molfino) dismantles us. We cannot grow at rapidrates. Also by having a single product industry we cannot balance thebusiness”. The industrialists recognize that they have an installed capacityto process the milk but they don’t have the financial or commercialcapacity to place all the production. On the other hand, traders see thatthey have a capacity to trade that the industrialist are not takingadvantage of. They themselves admit that if another industry is installedor if they export milk to other provinces "it will be a threat to the localindustry." Producers also claim that they need a country average priceand Molfino’s price is lower due to the high cost of freight to Santa Feand under this situation the dairy of Tucuman is affected as “Molfino’sprice is taken as a reference for the basin ".
  • 17. b. Results of the intervention:Denaturalisation of the representations The survey results were presented at meetings of the technicalcommittee, the industry committee and the Dairy Board. The dynamicsof the meetings consisted of presentation of data from surveys andinterviews in a Power Point to discuss the analysis of the audience. In thecase of social representations, they were left as the last block fordiscussion and they were presented by clarifying the concepts of culture,ideology, social and mental model representation. It was agreed that inaddition to the data gathered via surveys or market studies they woulddiscuss and compare the mental models as a part of the analysis. It hasbeen understood that in order to modify their ideas, beliefs orbehaviours were an important process of their mental models. This explanation was given in the first slide which contained the title andan image representing mental models(See Annex). In the second one itwas exemplified the contrast of social representations taking three shortsentences; one for each sector, which somehow summarized one of thecentral conflicts of the dairy products. This slide also served to show thateach "summary phrase" had a colour according to the sector where itwas extracted See Appendix
  • 18. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.net• Diagnósticos, ideas yparadigmas de losactores de la cadenaLáctea Tucumana Productores Industriales Cadena comercial:almacenes,autoservicios ysupermercados
  • 19. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.netPlanteo del problema y enfrentamiento de paradigmas “Si se deja de exportar (leche cruda) en estos momentos y se vende todoaquí en la industria local se cae el sistema, no están preparados paramanejar comercialmente los excedentes actuales”. “Estamos bien con la capacidad de venta, salvo de octubre a febrero quetenemos dificultades”. “Tienen productos buenos, como el dulce de leche y algunos quesos, perotienen la gran desventaja del menor marketing frente a las lácteascentrales y una menor presencia, permanencia y constancia a la hora deatender a las bocas. !Ahora tienen un problema comercial y de marca.Con Cootam no!”.
  • 20. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.netLOS CAMINOS• Necesito un precio promedio país}• El precio Molfino se está tomando como referencia para lacuenca• La industria no está dando respuesta al problema• Falta reconocimiento por parte del consumidor de nuestrosproductos• Con un solo producto no se puede balancear el negocio• Ese volumen (Molfino) nos desarticula. No podemos crecer aritmos rápidos• Hay capacidad instalada para procesar esa leche
  • 21. b. Results of the intervention:Denaturalisation of the representationsThis confrontation of different views (versions ofthe reality of social actors) combined withquantitative data from surveys and marketresearch contributed to the mobilization of theopinions and open discussion.After presenting the data we work to define theOPPORTUNITIES and FEASIBILITY of the dairyproducts to take advantage of it for both theindustry and the primary production.1. Weight of attractive market opportunities:We considered business volumes, unit price andgrowth trend of the target market.
  • 22.  2. Weight of market opportunities feasibility of the plot to takeadvantage of them: We considered the characteristics of themarket opportunity, the risks and threats that it faces as well asthe characteristics of techno - productive cluster. The opportunities agreed by the primary production were: To increase the sales of milk to industrials in Tucuman. To increase sales to the extra-market in Tucuman (Molfino and others). To sell the milk of differentiated quality a “Danone” or others.​​ To sell milk for other products. This can be integrated through contracts with​​industry (eg powdered milk, half and long life milk). To diversify risk / price from delivering milk to various customers that formsa pool of producers.◦ The consensus of the industrial opportunities were: To increase sales of existing products in the retail market of Tucuman(stores, supermarkets, etc.): cheese and “dulce de leche” (milk caramel);yogurt and fluid milk To increase the production of social products To increase the presence of current products in retail channels of inner citiesof Tucumán. To develop new products - linked to different cheeses (probiotic cheese,smoked cheese, etc.). To develop new products - linked to fluid milk and yogurt (yogurt with fruit /cereals, probiotic chocolate milk, etc.). To produce milk short and long life for the local and regional market. To increase the production of social products
  • 23. c. Results of actionsAt the general meeting held on April 11 it waspresented a summary of the diagnosis andopportunities making emphasis in each of therequirements to get it as well as the ability ordisability of the cluster to achieve it.In a group of producers each actor it wasasked to vote on each of the opportunitiesand then an averaged for each of them wasdone. In the rest of the groups single notewas achieved that has a consensualopportunity.The producers prioritized the followingopportunities:
  • 24. Opportunity “TAMBEROS” (milkproducers)G1 G2 StrategicimportanceTo increase the sales of milk toindustrials in Tucuman16 4 10To increase sales to the extra-market in Tucuman (Molfino andothers).3 6 4,5To sell the milk of differentiated​​quality a “Danone” or others2 2 2To sell milk for other products.​​This can be integrated throughcontracts with industry (egpowdered milk, half and long lifemilk).6 12 9To diversify risk / price fromdelivering milk to variouscustomers that forms a pool ofproducers.25 25 25
  • 25. Industrialists prioritizedIndustrial Opportunity G1 G2 StrategicimportanceTo increase sales of existing productsin the retail market of Tucuman(stores, supermarkets, etc.).15 30 22,5To increase the presence of currentproducts in retail channels of innercities of Tucumán.6 4 5To develop new products - linked todifferent cheeses (probiotic cheese,smoked cheese, etc.).24 30 27To develop new products - linked tofluid milk and yogurt (yogurt with fruit/ cereals, probiotic chocolate milk,etc.).2 3 2,5To produce milk short and long life forthe local and regional market.4 3 3,5To increase the production of socialproducts30 16 23
  • 26. CONCLUSIONSIt is worth noting that the priority for producers is thecreation of a pool of milk for all producers so they canjointly trade the whole milk of the basin and thesecond and third opportunity is to integrate with theindustry to make new products and sell them toindustrial in Tucuman. This shows a great change fromthe dominant paradigms so far: which focused ondistrust to the pairs towards the local industry.In this sense it is remarkable to conclude that thediagnostic strategy and denaturalization of socialrepresentations and mental models of the actors is away for cooperative consensus which is essential tobuild a sustainable development territory. In fact theterritory is where sustainability is rooted not only inecological basis but also in cultural identities (Leff,2005).
  • 27. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.net¡MUCHAS GRACIAS!
  • 28. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.net• Diagnósticos, ideas yparadigmas de losactores de la cadenaLáctea Tucumana Productores Industriales Cadena comercial:almacenes,autoservicios ysupermercados
  • 29. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.netPlanteo del problema y enfrentamiento de paradigmas “Si se deja de exportar (leche cruda) en estos momentos y se vende todoaquí en la industria local se cae el sistema, no están preparados paramanejar comercialmente los excedentes actuales”. “Estamos bien con la capacidad de venta, salvo de octubre a febrero quetenemos dificultades”. “Tienen productos buenos, como el dulce de leche y algunos quesos, perotienen la gran desventaja del menor marketing frente a las lácteascentrales y una menor presencia, permanencia y constancia a la hora deatender a las bocas. !Ahora tienen un problema comercial y de marca.Con Cootam no!”.
  • 30. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.netLOS CAMINOS• Necesito un precio promedio país}• El precio Molfino se está tomando como referencia para lacuenca• La industria no está dando respuesta al problema• Falta reconocimiento por parte del consumidor de nuestrosproductos• Con un solo producto no se puede balancear el negocio• Ese volumen (Molfino) nos desarticula. No podemos crecer aritmos rápidos• Hay capacidad instalada para procesar esa leche
  • 31. www.clusterlacteo.netinfo@clusterlacteo.netTensiones y divergencias No conocemosproductos tuc,falta de preventay pueden serbuenos difusores.Ventajas de lacercanía Menor precioque las primerasmarcas Cootam no teníaproblema ni demarca nicomercial.• Solo tenemosproblemas en unmomento del año(oct-feb)• Necesitamospromoción denuestrosproductos• Necesidad deaumento detrabajar en elcomerciominorista• Necesidad decolocar másleche• Problemas derentabilidad• Dos visionesencontradaspara dejar deexportar lechecruda y mejorarprecio