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Three perspectives on motivation and multicriteria assessment of organic food systems

Jeppe Læssøe, Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark
Anders Kruse Ljungdalh, Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark
Hugo F. Alrøe, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Egon Noe, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Tove Christensen, Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Alex Dubgaard, Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Søren Bøye Olsen, Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Niels Kærgård, Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Peter Kastberg, Department of Business Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06397-190307

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Abstract

Organic food systems are based on a complex of value criteria that often are not explicitly considered when agents think, communicate, and make decisions concerning organic food. Multicriteria assessment (MCA) refers to a group of tools that help the user to tackle such highly complex issues. The question is how an MCA tool should be designed to facilitate reflections, communication, and decision making in relation to organic food systems. A key issue is motivation. There are several divergent theories of motivation, and the question cannot be adequately answered by using any single theory. We discuss an economic, a psychosocial, and a relational perspective on motivation and MCA. Using the example of a consumer assessing and choosing products in the supermarket, the economic conception of motivation offers a focus on decision-making processes. The psychosocial approach to motivation draws attention to the influence of cognitive structures and experience-based emotional drivers. Finally, the relational approach stresses that motivation is situated in the relations between agents. We discuss how the three perspectives converge and diverge regarding the purpose of using an MCA tool, the scope of the MCA, the strategic focus, and challenges and potentials associated with an MCA tool. Through this multiple-perspective approach, the general idea of MCA is expanded and elaborated to refine the design of an MCA tool for organic food systems.

Key words

motivation; multicriteria assessment (MCA); organic food

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087