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On Management of Technology and its Application

In Agriculture of China

Lin Li1, Bo Wang1. Luo Chen2, Edward Knod3
Tianjin University, Tianjin, P.R. China, 300072
China Guangxi College of Education, Nanning, P.R. China, 530023
School of Business and Technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, USA, 61455

Abstract - Agriculture is a pillar of industry and a key information as to the possible efficacy of the technology
component of economy and society in most if not all of the in the new setting. Risk management psychology—based
countries of the world. Management of Technology (MOT), on the results of the information gathered and analyzed
an emergent body of knowledge and techniques, can be during the persuasion stage—comes into play during the
effectively applied to improve economic efficiency of
agriculture and develop a more harmonious relationship
decision stage; adopt or not adopt options both exist. If
between agriculture and environment. MOT models, having the adoption decision is affirmative, the technology is
found successful applications in science, engineering, and implemented and the new user will try to gain much
manufacturing, can be altered to accommodate modern deeper knowledge—maybe even expertise—in the
agriculture of China when the latter is classified mechanics of the new technology as it is employed in the
scientifically according to the requirements of agriculture newly adopting company. Finally, in the confirmation
and characteristics of MOT. The result proposes a new stage, the new technology adopter will reaffirm a
MOT-based model for improvements in agriculture. commitment to development (e.g., through continuous
improvement) of that technology.
Keywords - Management of Technology (MOT),
Modern Agriculture of China, Agricultural Segmentation
It is interesting to note that much of the work that
Rogers cites in his diffusion of innovations writing takes
place in agricultural and medical settings.
I. INTRODUCTION Another body of work also examines the
time-dependent effects of technology diffusion. The
In recent years, Management of Technology (MOT) Hype Cycle is the term coined by the Gartner group to
has emerged as one of the most important. and promising describe experience with introduction to and absorption of
tools with which an overall strategy of technology new technologies[ 3 ]. The hype cycle refers to the
reforms might be accomplished. MOT has grounding in sometimes-excessive positive promises associated with
the fields of economics and management but is also marketing of new technologies (hype) and the subsequent
influenced by psychology, risk management, and reality check disillusionment that is all too prevalent in
marketing. technology adoption efforts. These highs and lows—along
with accompanying emotional states of employees—can
affect the long-term success of new technologies.
II. MOT: A BRIEF OVERVIEW Managers of technology absorption are cautioned to heed
the potential hype that might accompany the marketing of
One popular view holds that Management of new technologies and to be prepared to deal with some
Technology (MOT) is an “integrated application of degree of stress among the affected workforce should
engineering, science and management capabilities to the disillusionment follow.
management of the life cycles of new technologies, to MOT also draws considerable attention to the subject
accomplish the strategic objectives of an organization”[1]. of technology transfer, due in no small part to the obvious
Life-cycle theory, apart from its obvious biological need for transfer if technology is to be diffused at all.
relevance, has long been employed throughout Many large companies, especially those found in
management and economics literature to describe manufacturing and in information system sales,
numerous time-phased (or just successively-staged) installation, and service have offices dedicated to ensuring
phenomena. Specifically addressing the steps by which smooth dissemination of relevant technologies throughout
innovations are infused, or absorbed by, society, Rogers the company; the name “Office of Technology Transfer”
proposes the following sequence of stages: knowledge, is commonly found among company resources.
persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation[2]. Governments, educational institutions, and medical
During the knowledge stage, a potential adopter of a new facilities have followed suit. The executive charged with
technology gains awareness of that technology. In the MOT duties will find substantial guidance in a growing
persuasion stage, the potential adopter will seek body of literature devoted to technology transfer.

978-1-4244-3672-9/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE

In sum, then, MOT must be inclusive of pertinent above, result in greater benefits to the economy (and to
disciplines and expertise, will undoubtedly rely on the environment) and lead to a systematic view of the
relatively definable stages of progress during new impacts of multiple social influences. Simply stated,
technology absorption, can be expected to witness periods society’s benefits in one area get transferred to other
of over-eager sales hype and disillusionment, and may areas. The result is systematic management of
draw from an increasingly rich base of helpful literature technologies in all fields through prudent application of
and application experiences in a variety of organizations. technologies already developed in one field[ 6 ]. That
We turn now to focus on the specific nuances of MOT as it means that a society should develop its agricultural
might better serve agriculture in China. industry through active systems thinking and through
applications of advances from across the spectrum of
society’s enterprises.
III. APPLICATION OF MOT IN AGRICULTURE Application of MOT in agriculture could help the
SEGMENTATION leaders of government and industry not only develop
dominant production outputs, but also more efficiently
The Medium and Long-term Plan of Development of manage districted layout, and provide better sources of
Science and Technology of China from 2006 and 2020 information for future agriculture industry leaders. A
centers around one very important objective: Keep long-term focus suggests that such steps as those
promoting productivity of agriculture through the spread required to build a modern agriculture sector
of advanced and adaptive technology and use management system would extend opportunities and
technological advances to break through restrictions allow the agriculture industry to exploit national and
imposed by natural resources[4]. That objective is one international markets in years to come.
of the key content items in the eleventh five-year plan to Thus far, however, the theory of MOT has been
build socially responsive, productively efficient, and somewhat narrowly applied to requirements necessary
environmentally friendly new-style villages[ 5 ]. The for innovation and management in manufacturing. This
importance of rapid yet healthy and responsible has resulted in a localization of MOT. By refining and
development of agriculture is known to be a vital part of perhaps even amending the measures and objectives of
the present and future national economy of China. Just MOT as it is employed in manufacturing, coupled with
as important, if current social and governmental possible development of new MOT characteristics that
encouragement efforts constitute meaningful signals, is are agriculture-specific, one could find out the common
an enhanced concern for the environment. Clearly, ground between manufacturing and agriculture. One
high-level technicians and advanced technology could also, perhaps, discover distinct differences that
establishments both play essential roles in developing affect MOT in agriculture. Regardless of the degree of
harmonious relationships between agriculture and the commonality, however, MOT application together with
environment and in ensuring that those relationships some reforming of the traditional subdivision of
endure as China pushes forward with increasing agriculture appears to hold promise.
technology in its agricultural sector. Christopher M. McDermott classified service based
The rapid development of agriculture, in turn, on MOT and applied the measures to the service
necessitates some reform in agriculture industrialization industry[7]. But until now, we still use the data based on
and classifications. Effective MOT calls, specifically, for the traditional subdivision of agriculture in China. The,
some enhanced applications within the agricultural sector result, is that MOT is applied to the industry somewhat
of advanced methods and knowledge that have been crudely and inefficiently, due in no small part to the
previously and successfully employed in manufacturing. reliance on data that fits a model that no longer reflects
Within the manufacturing sector, advances in supply reality. The role of the technology application process in
(such as supply-chain management improvements), agriculture is blocked. As a result, we pay too much for
producing (such as lean operations and Six-Sigma acquisition and maintenance of resources for technology
management), storing (such as greater usage of RFID for in agriculture, but get too little in return. The input and
quick and accurate counts of inventory), selling (such as output value of technology in agriculture is out of line.
value-based distribution), service (such as close
connections with customers and their needs), and
continued or successive processing (such as making IV. SUBDIVISION OF MODERN AGRICULTURE
flooring out of bamboo, corn syrup to be used in BASED ON TECHNOLOGY
subsequent food production from corn, and furniture
from forests) have been documented. These and other A. Limitation of Classification in Traditional
technologies have much to offer, and should be Agriculture Economy
implemented within agriculture. [The final example
serves to illustrate some agriculture-to-manufacturing In China there are several ways to classify
successive processing chain stages.] Technologies used agriculture. First, according to objectives of working, the
for planting and feeding should also be developed. industry includes farming, the ministry of forestry,
Cross-industry applications, such as those mentioned livestock farming and fisheries. It is reviewed and


analyzed according to relative production value, turnout class exists for real production and is designed to get real
and cultivation acreage. The second way is to classify it value increment through working. Examples include
agriculture according to the tools of working. For farming and livestock farming. The second type of
example, basic equipment of agriculture is classified process does not exist to obtain tangible agriculture
according to employment of machines, whether or not it output; the aim other is not to get visible value-added
uses electricity, is used for fertilization or not, by degree increment. Rather, the objective here is to focus on
of water conservancy, and so forth. And employment of improvement of methods. These processes focus on
machines can be further sub-classified into the machines such activities as selecting breeds, providing and
for cultivation, irrigation and drainage, the machines for attending training, offering service after sales, and
fishery, the ministry of forestry, and so forth[8] [9]. collecting and analyzing data.
These current classification schemes can allow for Thus, the objectives of MOT and the objectives of
review of the status of development of mechanization agriculture can be much more closely aligned when we
and automation as may be found in some aspects of the employ the subdivision method just described.
agricultural industry. But because the same technologies Increasingly, China and other large agricultural
appear in different aspects of the industry, we can not producing nations understand that environment
make sure which kinds of technologies and management protection should be considered a mainstay in modern
methods is are most appropriate in any one given aspect agriculture. So development of environment-friendly
of the industry. For a scientific application of MOT, we equipment and agricultural methods is also one of the
should subdivide the agriculture industry according to the most important aspects for MOT in agriculture.
objectives of MOT. The adoption of different To illustrate the application of MOT in agriculture,
technologies and methods requires management of we can examine various parts of the “farming” chain of
different objectives. activities or segments. For each segment, examples of
the MOT style of technology can be identified. (See
B. Technology and Characteristics of Modern TABLE 1).
Agriculture Now, if we include a third dimension, here referred
to as the “style” of the particular agriculture segment, we
Modern agriculture, and especially programs for can connect to the more traditional classifications used
agriculture industrialization, cannot be subdivided into within agriculture. Here, we use the work objectives of
such simple segments or categories as “farming” and the farming activity. See Figure 2.
“livestock farming.” Each activity within the broad
spectrum of agriculture is itself an organic and dynamic TABLE 1
chain including supply, processing and service. SEGMENTATION OF FARMING BASED ON TECHNOLOGY
Successful implementation of MOT into agriculture
demands that we recognize these supply chain stages as Style of MOT
MOT Based on MOT Based on
they appear within each traditional agriculture segment.  Segmentation  Support Service
To provide
To upgrade
C. MOT Subdivision in Modern Agriculture Selecting breeds
To research
Within agriculture, MOT should be classified into To instruct on
two broad classes. The division is based on the machine use
Farming machines,
and help with
requisite (appropriate) style of MOT and that, in turn, is a greenhouses,
farmer exams
function of the objective of the MOT program. MOT in fertilizer
agriculture has two broad objectives: Sustained or To introduce To offer
secondary relative safety technology
(1) To provide and reform necessary equipment Farming processing examinations training
This includes upgrading breeds or varieties, To assist with To give training
providing machines for planting, environment protection Selling equipment about
and safe examination, and so forth. The object of this advances marketing
To examine To offer
kind of MOT is more effective machines and raw Environmental environment education,
ingredients such as livestock breeds, crop seeds, and protection conditions and training, &
superior fertilizers. It is called MOT based on support. needs protection data
(2) To provide service and help relative to technology To provide To provide
information education and
This form of MOT includes instructing people who collection
analysis training
use the machines and raw ingredients; training them and The Ministry of Forestry
serving them. It is called MOT based on services. The Livestock Farming
object of this kind of MOT is the people who use the Fisheries
In a similar way, that is, by connecting the styles of
MOT and dynamic processes of agriculture, we can
arrive at two broad classes of agriculture processes: one


we use the same breed or seed varieties and technology.
BasedonService In manufacturing settings, process variations—especially
inherent or natural variations—do exist, but the process
Information input mix is more controllable and the outputs are more

Collection predictable. This is especially so for controlled
Second, the nature of operators’ skill sets is different.
Å FarmingStyleÆ Skill levels vary considerably in both settings, of course.
Food Special
Supplies Planting And one can argue that, especially in developed countries,
requisite skill-levels are increasing in both settings if one
is to be competitive. In manufacturing there are
specialists, technicians and skilled workers, for example.
Low-skill employees are found largely in cottage
Breed industries in undeveloped countries. Owner-farmers in
Selection BasedonSupport industrialized countries are often holders of advanced
degrees and quite skilled in technical and business
Fig. 2 Planting Segmentation Based on Technology aspects of running their ventures. In developing areas,
however, as equipment becomes available it will be
operated by people with lower skill levels. Arguably,
V. APPLICATION OF MOT IN AGRICULTURE MOT is agriculture has a significantly larger training and
service mission.
A. The Difference between MOT in Agriculture and Third, farmers are historically more independent
MOT in Manufacturing than manufacturing employees. The small farmer, aside
from seasonal cooperative activities with other nearby
When it comes to application of MOT, specific farmers, acts alone. Manufacturing employees rarely
purpose comes into play. For example, MOT could be work alone. Assistance, technical or otherwise, is
classified as Research and Development (R&D usually quite near. Farmers are used to choosing breeds,
Management, Innovation Management, Technology seed varieties, fertilizers, equipment, and so forth on their
Layout and MOT of Strategy[10]. But as previously noted, own and often continue to follow the same habits for
the focus of previous descriptors has been based largely some years. They don’t want to choose the new styles,
on the requirements of manufacturing. Manufacturing (as because they have little information and experience. So
an industry) does indeed have some obvious shared MOT in agriculture must include a healthy portion of
purposes and common goals as agriculture. This is information gathering, instruction and service.
clearly true when the output of the former is to be an Fourth, manufacturing is more regulated. Partially
input for the latter. For example, MOT could be applied due to the fact that there are more employees gathered in
in the field of research and development of new one place, workplace safety laws, product quality and
compound equipment and machines for farming. Despite labeling laws, and so forth are the rule rather than the
such overlaps, we still cannot apply MOT as it is exception. Technology absorption must often comply
practiced in manufacturing directly into agricultural with government, industry, union, or community
settings. There are several explanations for direct standards. Although agriculture is regulated to some
transfer difficulty. A tentative classification might focus degree—especially as to sanitation of product—the level
on basic process component differences and on of regulation is less. MOT efforts can perhaps have
differences in the MOT application sequence. fewer outside influences with which to contend.
Finally, the emphases during the pre-production
A. Basic process component differences phases are different. For example, in choosing a
manufacturing site, many variables such as nearness of
First and perhaps foremost are what we might call raw materials, labor force, technology assistance,
life and environmental science effects. The nature of distribution networks, infrastructure, local opinions and
agriculture enterprise must take into consideration the attitudes, and availability of education facilities are
process contributions made by the natural environment among the key issues. For agriculture, nature often
and by the “inventory” so to speak. Agribusiness process makes the site location decision; for suitable soil, weather,
ingredients such as animals, seeds and crops, insects, climate, water sources, and so forth are among the key
chemicals, and so forth are less controllable. And one factors. Of course, availability of superior breeds and
cannot deny the impact that such forces have on process seeds are other pre-production decisions that come into
outputs, intended or otherwise. Crop growth depends on play. Like it or not, MOT efforts in agriculture must
not only technology of farming (corresponding contend with nature as a confounding variable.
somewhat to operating criteria in manufacturing), but
also the quality of that which is being grown. We cannot B. Differences in MOT application stages
count on obtaining the same resulting products although

In manufacturing the process of MOT is basically better quality of life for citizens and a more responsive
from research to producing and then to selling. The and viable agricultural pillar in the nation’s economy.
feedback comes from the effects that process
outputs—products, equipment, and service to those REFERENCES
outputs—have on customers. In agriculture, in addition
to those same feedbacks, other feedback comes from [1] Alan Pilkington, Thorsten Teichert, “Management of
environmental influence after planting or breeding. Soil Technology: Themes, Concepts and Relationships,”
changes after special planting is an example. When we Technovation, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 288-299. 2006.
find the problem and reform planting or breeding, maybe [2] Rogers, Everett M., Diffusion of Innovations, Glencoe:
Free Press, 2005.
the new products or environment is still unanticipated,
[3] Fenn, Jackie and Mark Time (2008-06-27), Understanding
because the time-to-return period of agriculture is much Gartner's Hype Cycles, Harvard Business Press, 2008.
longer than that of manufacturing. The agricultural [4] Long-term Programming of Development of Science and
process stages, so to speak, have their own time frames Technology of China from 2006 and 2020 (D)
and define the particular speed at which process [5] The Eleventh Five-year Plan of National Economy and
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manufacturing style feedback loops directly to Walsh, A Framework for Technology Management in Services
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important to have a good predictive system and predict (No. 3): 333-339.
the future before producing. That is a component that [8] Stat. of Natural Resources of China in 2005 (D), Yearbook
MOT based on services must offer in agriculture settings. of China 2005, 2005.
[9] Stat. of Total Production Value of Fuzhou (1957 - 2004)
C. Toward Appropriate Application of MOT in (D), Yearbook of Fuzhou 2005, 2005.
Agriculture [10] Wu Guisheng, Management of Technology, Beijing:
Press of Tsinghua University, 2003.
In the field, MOT based on support may be applied
in a fashion similar to that in manufacturing. Component
activities include product research, equipment innovation,
climate condition forecasting, and so forth. And it is
implemented combined with the special requirement in
agriculture for secondary or subsequent processing.
That is, what is grown not for food but for ingredients to
secondary processing industries begs its own MOT
In the field, MOT based on service includes support,
training for operators and service technicians,
transformation of management style according to
requirements of a given industry, training in market
discovery and analysis, and so forth. In some segments,
such as information collection and analysis and
environment protection, the government should provide
more support and service. Thus, government’s role
might reasonably be expected to affect both styles of
While the two kinds of MOT are different, together
they can form a cohesive whole. So they should be
improved at the same time and harmonized one with the
other. Advanced equipment brings the need for advanced
training. Improvements in weather and climate
forecasting bring the need for better crop varieties and
irrigation technologies. Better knowledge of
distribution and supply chains brings the demand for
better information system models to manage those
connections. The list can continue.
MOT holds promise as a viable tool for application
in China’s agricultural industry. The result can be a