The four horsemen of innovation: learning styles, entrepreneurship, attitudes, and knowledge network

Niels Faber (First author), Joost Miedema, Rob van Haren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

46 Downloads (Pure)


Although previous research programs have yielded valuable knowledge that can help sugar beet growers to innovate farming processes, actual transfer of this knowledge to the growers so far is lacking. Currents ways of knowledge transfer do not match learning styles, personal traits or the social environment of previously identified groups of growers.
The current research was designed to asses to which level new means of knowledge transfer are suitable: using both digital means, e.g., decision support systems, and other means, e.g. study groups, knowledge transfer can be re-assessed to form specific inspiring learning environments.
A survey study assessed learning styles, attitudes toward innovation, personality traits related to entrepreneurship and the social network growers use to obtain new knowledge. These data were linked to the crop yield data over the previous five years, to be able to compare the influence of learning styles, attitudes, network and individual differences on the occurrence and effectiveness of certain types of innovative behaviour.
Results indicate that different learning styles correlate with different ways of using one's knowledge network: for instance, people who are more prone to seek help, have significantly more contacts and exchange more knowledge within their networks. Growers whom significantly participate more in meetings and interactions with colleagues, produce an above average crop yield, as compared to other groups. The innovation attitude appeared to predict the innovation intention of growers; people with more positive attitudes are more willing to try new ideas and implement not fully tested techniques than growers with less positive attitudes toward innovation. Knowledge networks are comprised of fellow growers, friends, family, but mostly the growers receive their knowledge from advisors, suppliers and study groups. Preferences for learning and innovating correlate with the size of the network, and how intensively it is used.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJoint International Agricultural Conference
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • innovation
  • knowledge transfer


Dive into the research topics of 'The four horsemen of innovation: learning styles, entrepreneurship, attitudes, and knowledge network'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this