A new framework to analyze changes in work organization for permanent employees on livestock farms
The importance of a hired workforce for the competitiveness of livestock farms emerges in a context of a decreasing family workforce and increasing farm size. Farmers’ need for a regular workforce to perform labor-intensive tasks can conflict with the attractiveness of jobs and high rates of turnover among farm employees. Within farmers’ strategies to attract and retain employees, little attention has been given to understand the role of work changes over time during the careers of employees on farms. We thus developed a framework to understand how employees’ work organization on farms change over time since recruitment. Key concepts from human resource management and organizational change are the theoretical guidelines used to shape the framework. This conceptual base indicates what needs to be considered to understand changes in employees’ work. Empirical data were used to transform the concepts into practical variables to analyze changes in employees’ work. We interviewed 14 employees and 8 farmers (their employers) on dairy farms and collected data on work organization and changes over time, focusing on tasks performed by employees since recruitment, team composition, and farm history. The framework is composed of 8 variables that describe how work evolves according to changes in task assignments, changes in the way work is organized (versatility vs. specialization), and the level of autonomy afforded to workers. It also considers what drives these evolutions and the rhythm of evolution over time. The framework can be used by researchers to better understand trade-offs between labor management and farm changes over time. This is a new approach for analyzing work organization on livestock farms considering changes in work from the perspective of employees.
KeywordsWork organization Human resource management Livestock farming systems Hired worker
This work was carried out with the support of Science without Frontiers, from CAPES and Ministry of Education of Brazil. Partners of this work are as follows: RMT Travail, Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles, and the Syndicat Interprofessionnel Saint Nectaire.
This study was funded by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) (grant number 99999.001251/2013-09).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Agreste (2014) Le bilan annuel de l’emploi agricole selon l’orientation technico-économique de l’exploitation: Résultats 2012. http://agreste.agriculture.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/partie1cd225bspca.pdf. Accessed 10 Apr 2017
- Agreste Primeur (2013) Des territoires laitiers contrastés. http://agreste.agriculture.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/primeur308.pdf. Accessed 07 Sept 2016
- Brasier K, Hyde J, Stup RE, Holden LA (2006) Farm-level human resource management: an opportunity for extension. J Ext 44:33Google Scholar
- Cofre-Bravo G, Engler A, Klerkx L et al (2018) Considering the workforce as part of farmers’ innovative behaviour: a key factor in inclusive on-farm processes of technology and practice adoption. Exp Agric:1–15. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479718000315
- Everaere C (2006) Pour une échelle de mesure de l’autonomie dans le travail. Rev Int Sur Trav Société 4:105–123Google Scholar
- Everaere C (2008) La polyvalence et ses contradictions. Rev Fr Gest Ind 27:89–104Google Scholar
- Fiorelli C, Dedieu B, Porcher J (2010) Un cadre d’analyse des compromis adoptés par les éleveurs pour organiser leur travail. Cah Agric 19:383–390Google Scholar
- Foong-Ming T (2008) Linking career development practices to turnover intention: the mediator of perceived organizational support. J Bus Public Aff 2:1–16Google Scholar
- Hostiou N, Dedieu B, Pailleux J (2007) Le salariat en élevage porcin et les régulations du travail. Journ Rech Porc En Fr 39:193Google Scholar
- Hyde J, Stup R, Holden L (2008) The effect of human resource management practices on farm profitability: an initial assessment. Econ Bull 17:1–10Google Scholar
- Hyde J, Cornelisse SA, Holden LA (2011) Human resource management on dairy farms: does investing in people matter? Econ Bull 31:208–217Google Scholar
- International Labour Office (2007) Agricultural workers and their contribution to sustainable agriculture and rural development. ILO-FAO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- Leplat J (2004) Éléments pour l’étude des documents prescripteurs. Activités. https://doi.org/10.4000/activites.1293
- Madelrieux S, Dedieu B (2008) Qualification and assessment of work organisation in livestock farms. Animal. https://doi.org/10.1017/S175173110700122X
- Malanski PD, Hostiou N, Ingrand S (2017) Evolution pathways of employees’ work on dairy farms according to task content, specialization, and autonomy. Cah Agric. https://doi.org/10.1051/cagri/2017052
- Mugera AW (2012) Sustained competitive advantage in agribusiness: applying the resource-based theory to human resources. Int Food Agribus Manag Rev 15:27–48Google Scholar
- Nettle R (2012) Farmers growing farmers: the role of employment practices in reproducing dairy farming in Australia. In: 10th IFSA symposium. Aarhus, Denmark, 11pGoogle Scholar
- Nettle R (2018) International trends in farm labour demand and availability (and what it means for farmers, advisers, industry and government). In: International agricultural workforce conference. Cork, Ireland, pp 8–16Google Scholar
- Nettle R, Kuehne G, Lee K, Armstrong D (2018a) A new framework to analyse workforce contribution to Australian cotton farm adaptability. Agron Sustain Dev. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-018-0514-6
- Peaucelle J (2009) Vices et vertus du travail spécialisé. Ann Mines - Gérer Compr. https://doi.org/10.3917/geco.097.0028
- Przewozny A, Bitsch V, Peters KJ (2016) Performance-based pay and other incentive schemes on dairy farms in Germany. SSRN Electron J. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2851082
- Roguet C, Duflot B, Graveleau C, Rieu M (2010) La mutation de la production porcine au Danemark: modèles d’élevage, performances techniques, réglementations environnementales et perspectives. Journ Rech Porc En Fr 42:59–64Google Scholar
- Sguerzi-Boespflug M (2008) La polycompétence: bénéfices, paradoxes et enjeux stratégiques. Une étude de cas dans la grande distribution. In: 17ème Conférence internationale de management stratégique. Aims, 25pGoogle Scholar
- Taylor FW (1914) The principles of scientific management. Harper, New YorkGoogle Scholar