Reference points and risky decision-making in agricultural trade firms: A case study in Germany

Due to the increased uncertainty within the whole agribusiness industry, managerial decision- making has become a critical success factor during the last decades. Since agricultural trade firms are faced with multiple existence-threatening risks today, the present paper analyzes decision-making processes under dramatically tightened external conditions, using the exam- ple of Germany’s agricultural trade industry. By employing a qualitative research design, the empirical study examines two questions: Which determinants do impact the farm dealers’ risky decision-making, and how are these factors interacting? For clarifying these issues, guideline-based in-depth interviews with industry experts are conducted on the basis of a thorough literature review. The results, gained from a qualitative content analysis, help us to better understand how decisions in farm dealing firms are made and which forces are driving them. As especially a decision maker’s reference point plays a prominent role, the present study examines its configuration under different situational and dispositive conditions. The resulting implications provide a useful basis for further research and to a lesser extent some insights for decision makers themselves.

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 Record created 2017-07-30, last modified 2018-04-02

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