Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - RD-GOVERNANCE (The structures of civil society governance in promoting rural development (on the example of East Germany and Ukraine))

The main scientific achievement of the fellowship is the development of the novel theoretical understanding of civil society governance, according to which market, hierarchy, and civil society governance are regarded as the adjacent components of the governance continuum. The continuum is based on the criterion of the commonness of stakeholder interests, which is increasing along the sequence of market, hierarchy, and civil society governance. This theoretical approach allowed to generate a number of hypotheses concerning the relationship between the commonness of interests and the assignment of property rights to contractual parties.

These hypotheses were mainly confirmed by results of the survey of 197 members of 13 rural cooperatives in the Kiev oblast in March 2006. Moreover, it has been established that the optimal distribution of responsibilities for supporting rural development among for-profit agricultural enterprises, public bodies, and the structures of civil society governance importantly depends on the extent of institutionalization of rural norms and values in a society. The results of the survey of 120 agricultural enterprises conducted in 2004 by IAMO and by the Research Institute for Agricultural Economics in Prague (VUZE) in the Czech Republic show that agricultural enterprise managers do engage in rural development activities to enhance the organisational legitimacy of their enterprises.

These findings have two broad policy implications. First, effective governance of rural development activities requires that the commonness of stakeholder interests be appropriately reflected in the uniformity of property rights assigned to these stakeholders. Second, public bodies may promote the institutionalization of rural norms and values in order to motivate agricultural enterprise managers to seek organisational legitimacy by engaging in rural development-related activities. The results of the fellowship have been presented in 14 articles accepted for academic refereed journals, 7 articles being currently under revision in refereed journals, and 7 presentations at international conferences.

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