Three perspectives on motivation and multicriteria assessment of organic food systems

Jeppe Læssøe, Anders Kruse Ljungdalh, Hugo Fjelsted Alrøe, Egon Noe, Tove Christensen, Alex Dubgaard, Søren Boye Olsen, Niels Kærgaard, Peter Kastberg

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    Organic food systems are based on a complex of value criteria that often are not explicitly considered when agents think, communicate, and make decisions concerning organic food. Multicriteria assessment (MCA) refers to a group of tools that help the user to tackle such highly complex issues. The question is how an MCA tool should be designed to facilitate reflections, communication, and decision making in relation to organic food systems. A key issue is motivation. There are several divergent theories of motivation, and the question cannot be adequately answered by using any single theory. We discuss an economic, a psychosocial, and a relational perspective on motivation and MCA. Using the example of a consumer assessing and choosing products in the supermarket, the economic conception of motivation offers a focus on decision-making processes. The psychosocial approach to motivation draws attention to the influence of cognitive structures and experience-based emotional drivers. Finally, the relational approach stresses that motivation is situated in the relations between agents. We discuss how the three perspectives converge and diverge regarding the purpose of using an MCA tool, the scope of the MCA, the strategic focus, and challenges and potentials associated with an MCA tool. Through this multiple-perspective approach, the general idea of MCA is expanded and elaborated to refine the design of an MCA tool for organic food systems./abstract>

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7
    JournalEcology and Society
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Motivation
    • Multicriteria assessment (MCA)
    • Organic food


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