By A. Allan Schmid
A suite of 4 essays and responses at the issues of: (1) Managerial selection making; (2) Investment-Disinvestment idea; (3) Agricultural coverage (domestic and international); and (4) method and valuational techniques.
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Additional resources for Beyond Agriculture and Economics: Management, Investment, Policy, and Methodology
18-20. Y. Reproduced with permission of McGraw-Hill. Johnson, Glenn, "Value Problems in Farm Management," Agricultural Economics Journal, Vol. XIV, 1960, pp. 13-25. Agricultural Economics Society, United Kingdom. Johnson, Glenn, "Agricultural Economics, Production Economics and the Field of Farm Management," The Journal of Farm Economics, Vol. 39, May 1957, pp. 441-50. American Agricultural Economics Association. Johnson, Glenn, "Risk Aversion vs. Aversions for Losses and Risk Preference vs. Preference for Gain," Polish Agricultural Annual, 1987, Tom 84, Zeszyt 2, Seria G.
Agricultural economists have made important contributions to many of those advances. As a profession, we have made much less progress in understanding the managerial processes our concepts and tools are designed to support. As Johnson (Johnson 1987, 709) observed in a retrospective review of Heady's Economics of Agricultural Production and Resource Use: Current theoretical work on managerial processes is highly specialized on the expected utility hypothesis to the neglect of optimization vis-à-vis problem definition; the acquisition of value and value-free knowledge (learning); analysis; decision-making rules beyond the expected utility hypothesis; performance of the administrative and executive function by managers; and, finally, the bearing of responsibility for actions taken.
Problem definitionthe process of recognizing and structuring problems for analysisdepends, then, on both positive and normative beliefs. Problems rarely come to us nearly packaged, and problem definition is, itself, a difficult problem. In this section I first discuss problem recognition. Statements of practical problems are the product of this process. We can observe such statements in managers' "to-do" lists, reports prepared by crop and livestock production consultants after periodic visits, and case summaries prepared by financial management specialists working with financially stressed farmers.