MAKING ADVICE ACCEPTABLE

A.W. Hales
In writing this paper I have become aware that it could have been approached from several angles, ranging from the use of visual aids to the psychological. The question 'how can advice be made acceptable?' is comparable with 'how can a child be made to accept his dentist as a friend?'. A superficial approach (to the latter question) might be to reward the child if he does not flee down the High Street on arriving at the dentist's front door. A more profound approach would be concerned with ensuring a correct family environment wherein a visit to the dentist is regarded as a normal occasion.

Those of us involved in giving management advice to growers, either individually, or in groups, must be prepared to have a foot in both camps since we must deal with growers of a wide range of education and intelligence and shall meet a wide range of problems. The problems will range from simple ones, such as the preparations of a simple budget, to complex ones involving complete reorganisation, labour relationships, capital investment and so on.

It first needs to be established that the problems of giving management advice are different from those of giving technical advice.

From the adviser's point of view it could be argued that technical and management problems are inseparable; the choice between two machines, or whether to adopt a new production method should incorporate both technical and economic evaluation. But the grower might not look at it like this. Management advice requires a degree of personal involvement that he might not be prepared for unless some of his fears and prejudices are allayed. J.B.Hill (1) found that when 580 farmers in Warwickshire were sent details of the N.A.A.S. Farm Management Service, only 10 per cent replied showing interest. Hill then interviewed 40 of the remaining 90 per cent to find out why they had not replied.

Only 28 of them appeared to know of the existence of the Farm Management Service. The reasons of these 28 farmers are shown in table 1:

Reasons Number of times recorded Per cent
1. Satisfied with present income 16 57
2. Feels whole matter too personal 16 57
3. Feels too old to change, or semi-retired 12 43
4. Has other income on business unconnected with farming 6 21
5. Always have been independent and prefers to remain so 4 14
6. Only recently taken up farming 3 11
7. Farming on too small a scaled 3 11
8. Too ashamed of accounts to come forward 2 7
9. Do not have to do it 1 4
Hales, A.W. (1969). MAKING ADVICE ACCEPTABLE. Acta Hortic. 13, 81-87
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1969.13.8
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1969.13.8
13_8
81-87