Identifying skills and competencies: a Taxonomy of the farm tourism entrepreneur

Phelan, Chris and Sharpley, Richard (2015) Identifying skills and competencies: a Taxonomy of the farm tourism entrepreneur. In: 13th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference, 18th - 19th June, Ionad Chalum Chille, Bowmore, Islay, Scotland.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Keynote)
Item Status:Live Archive


It has long been recognised that farming has undergone a reorientation from productivist to more entrepreneurial models; with the conventional role of the farmer as price taker, which requires appropriate technical and managerial competency, shifting to that of price maker, which calls for broader entrepreneurial competencies. This paper explores this transition in the context of farm tourism, identified as a diversification strategy to promote a more sustainable rural economy and to protect farm incomes against market fluctuation. To date, the tourism literature has overlooked many of these processes and whilst conceptualising the farmer as entrepreneur, has not sufficiently engaged with key entrepreneurship theories or emergent frameworks of skill and competency.

Using Q Methodology, a 42-item instrument was developed from the extant literature on entrepreneurial competence and administered to 15 farm tourism entrepreneurs in the North West of England. Asked to identify the competencies that they deemed crucial for successful diversification, the findings reveal a range of perspectives from the risk averse to the opportunity aware, from the managerial to the entrepreneurial. Moreover, the results provide the basis for a taxonomy of the farm tourism entrepreneur, with three distinct perspectives termed: 1) the Reflective Leader, 2) the Opportunity Aware Organiser and 3) the Opportunity Driven Innovator.

The paper concludes by presenting a conceptual model of entrepreneurial competency which classifies the farmer as a rural entrepreneur within a broad landscape of farming identity. The work thus provides a better understanding and a valuable insight into the complexity of agricultural entrepreneurship.

Keywords:Farm Tourism; Agritourism; Farm Diversification; Entrepreneurial Competencies; Agricultural Entrepreneurship; Q Methodology
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N222 Recreation/Leisure Management
N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:17456
Deposited On:12 Jun 2015 15:48

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