Decision Making on Multigenerational Farms

Erin C Fullerton, Purdue University


The present study was to examine the transfer of decision making on multigenerational farms. Multigenerational businesses can experience potential benefits from the interaction of multiple generations; however, they also face many challenges due to the transfer process and potential differences in generational attitudes and preferences. Mixed methods were used in this study through a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. Two hundred ninety-six multigenerational farmers participated in the online survey, and 100 multigenerational farmers participated in the telephone interviews. The purpose of the survey and interviews was to identify how multigenerational farms transfer the decision making from the older to the younger generation, whether conflict arises during this process, and how attitudes regarding decisions and role clarity differ across the generations working on the farm. A logit model was first used to determine which variables have a significant impact on predicting the likelihood that a respondent belongs to a particular generation. The explanatory variable that showed significance were amount of ownership, level of education, responsibility for interacting with salespeople representing equipment, responsibility for interacting with salespeople representing expendable inputs, level of participation in managing production, and level of participation in controlling costs. A hierarchical clustering analysis was then run to identify distinct groups within the younger generation characterized by the activities or decisions over which they held responsibility. The results from the qualitative analysis were used to substantiate findings from the quantitative analysis.




Downey, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics

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