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Sensemaking and financial management in the decision-making process of farmers

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Purpose - The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the financial decision-making process of farmers and to highlight the potential role that improved farm financial management (FFM) could play in developing sustainable farm enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper adopts a qualitative approach with 27 semi-structured interviews exploring farmers’ financial decision-making processes. Subsequently, the interview findings were presented to a focus group. Sensemaking theory is adopted as a theoretical lens to develop the empirical findings.

Findings - The evidence highlights that FFM has a dual role to play in farmer decision-making. Some FFM activities may act as a cue which trigger a sensebreaking activity, causing the farmer to enter a process of sensemaking while some/other FFM activities are drawn upon to provide a sensegiving role in the sensemaking process. The role of FFM in farmer decision-making is strongly influenced by the decision type (strategic or operational) being undertaken and the farm type (dairy, tillage or beef) in operation.

Originality - The literature suggests that the majority of farmers spend little time on financial management. However, there are farmers who have quite a high level of engagement in FFM activities, when undertaking strategic farm expansion decisions. Those FFM activities help them to navigate through operational decision-making and to make sense of their strategic decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Accounting & Organizational Change
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 20 Jun 2021


  • Sensemaking and Financial Management Revised Paper May 2021 Last version submtted and accepted

    Rights statement: The embargo end date of 2050 is a temporary measure until we know the publication date. Once we know the publication date the full text of this article will be able to view shortly afterwards.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 464 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 1/01/50

    Licence: CC BY-NC

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