Knowledge utilisation in the South African wine industry

Boshoff, Stephanus Cornelius (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The use of knowledge that is based on scientific research plays an important role in the development and international competitiveness of a country’s wine industry. In order for South Africa to effectively compete with other wine industries in the global market, and to ensure that it produces quality wines that can satisfy consumer demands and expectations, it needs to use the best of current research knowledge available. However, it is unknown to what extent South African winemakers are using knowledge based on scientific research, as well as where and how winemakers obtain knowledge, and how new knowledge is treated against the backdrop of a winemaker’s own experience and existing practice knowledge. The study, which addressed these broad questions, included a literature overview as well as a web-based survey of 210 winemakers in South Africa. Interviews were also conducted with six winemakers and three wine consultants. On the basis of the literature the key notions of “knowledge” and “utilisation” were unpacked. Knowledge was interpreted as either factual (know-that) or practical (know-how), and utilisation as a typology consisting of instrumental, conceptual, symbolic and persuasive utilisation. Insights from a body of literature not typically associated with winemaking, namely evidence-based medicine (EBM) and knowledge translation (KT), were also incorporated in the study. The study not only examined the frequency of using knowledge sources but also the relative importance of the different knowledge sources and the underlying structure of the sources (i.e. which sources group together). The results unequivocally showed that practical knowledge (i.e. knowledge that is exhibited in practice and which finds expression as moments of “common sense”, intuition, gut feeling etc.) is considered by many winemakers as extremely important for their winemaking. Opinions of fellow-winemakers also appeared to be an important knowledge source as about 46% of winemakers said that they seek advice from colleagues at least once a month and 57% rated these as of extreme importance for winemaking. Knowledge sources that are codified and publicly available, such as Wynboer in the industry-based WineLand magazine as well as the internet and winemaking textbooks and manuals, have grouped together and were considered as relatively important by winemakers. Overall the study produced evidence of the widespread use of scientific research findings, particularly conceptual use of research. The latter refers to a better understanding of certain aspects of winemaking that is based on scientific research. In addition, the elements of practical knowledge have also been explored within the context of winemaking. Additional insights were provided with regard to the relationship between practical and factual knowledge as well as the relationship between different conceptions of knowledge use, and how knowledge sources relate to knowledge use. The findings and subsequent insights generated undoubtedly apply beyond studies of the knowledge use of winemakers. Lastly, a key output of the study was to develop a normative model of knowledge uptake for winemakers. The proposed model combines practical knowledge and research-based factual knowledge in a single knowledge product destined for uptake by winemakers, in order to close the knowledge-to-practice gap.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebruik van kennis wat op wetenskaplike navorsing gebaseer is, speel ’n belangrike rol in die ontwikkeling en internasionale mededingendheid van ’n land se wynbedryf. Ten einde vir Suid-Afrika om doeltreffend mee te ding met ander wynbedrywe in die globale mark, moet die beste van beskikbare navorsingskennis gebruik word aangesien dit sal help om kwaliteitwyn te lewer wat aan verbruikers se eise en verwagtinge voldoen. Dit is egter onbekend tot watter mate Suid-Afrikaanse wynmakers kennis gebruik wat gebaseer is op wetenskaplike navorsing, asook waar en hoe wynmakers kennis verkry, en hoe nuwe kennis beoordeel word in die lig van ’n wynmaker se ervaring en bestaande praktykkennis. Die studie poog om hierdie breë vrae te beantwoord en behels ’n literatuuroorsig sowel as ’n web-gebaseerde opname van 210 wynmakers in Suid-Afrika. Onderhoude is ook gevoer met ses wynmakers en drie wynkonsultante. Die literatuur bied ’n bespreking van die twee kernbegrippe, naamlik "kennis" en "benutting/gebruik". Kennis is vertolk as óf feitelike (“weet-dat”) of praktiese (“weet-hoe”) kennis, en benutting as 'n tipologie van instrumentele, konseptuele, simboliese en oorredende gebruik. Insigte is ook verkry uit ’n stel literatuur wat nie normaalweg geassosieer word met wynmaak nie, naamlik bewys-gebaseerde medisyne (evidence-based medicine – EBM) en kennisvertaling (knowledge translation – KT). Die studie het nie net die frekwensie van die gebruik van kennisbronne ondersoek nie, maar ook die relatiewe belangrikheid van die verskillende kennisbronne sowel as die onderliggende struktuur van die bronne (bv. watter bronne groepeer saam). Die resultate het onomwonde getoon dat praktiese kennis – dws kennis wat in die praktyk vertoon word en uitdrukking vind as oomblikke van “gesonde verstand” (common sense), intuïsie, gevoel (gut feeling), ens – deur baie wynmakers beskou word as uiters belangrik vir hul wynmaak. Menings van mede-wynmakers is ook ’n belangrike bron van kennis. Ongeveer 46% van die wynmakers het gesê dat hulle advies van kollegas ten minste een keer per maand soek en 57% het dit beskou as van die uiterste belang vir wynmaak. Kennisbronne wat reeds gekodifiseer en in die openbaar beskikbaar is, soos Wynboer in die bedryfgebaseerde WineLands-tydskrif asook die internet en wynmaakhandboeke en -handleidings, het saamgegroepeer in die ondersoek en is ook deur wynmakers as relatief belangrik beskou. Die studie het ook bewys gelewer van die wydverspreide gebruik van wetenskaplike bevindings onder wynmakers, veral die konseptuele gebruik van navorsing. Laasgenoemde verwys na die ontwikkeling van ’n beter begrip van sekere aspekte van wynmaak op grond van wetenskaplike navorsing. Daarbenewens het die ondersoek ook die elemente van praktiese kennis binne die konteks van wynmaak verken. Addisionele insigte is verkry met betrekking tot die verhouding tussen praktiese en feitelike kennis asook die verband tussen die verskillende konsepsies van kennisgebruik, en die verband tussen kennisbronne en kennisgebruik. Die bevindings en die gevolglike insigte wat gegenereer is, strek ongetwyfeld wyer as slegs die studie van die kennisgebruik van wynmakers. Laastens, ’n belangrike uitset van die studie was die ontwikkeling van ’n normatiewe model van kennisoordrag vir wynmakers. Die voorgestelde model kombineer praktiese kennis en navorsing-gebaseerde feitelike kennis in ’n enkele kennisproduk wat bestem is vir gebruik deur wynmakers, ten einde die kennis-tot-praktyk-gaping te oorbrug.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71749
This item appears in the following collections: