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Mapping, analysis and improved understanding of stakeholder groups to help sustain honey bee health

Understanding honey bee health stakeholders

Funding: £115,000 from Defra
Duration: October 2012-October 2013

Birmingham City University staff

  • Mark Reed (Principal Investigator)
  • Rachel Curzon (Co-Investigator)

Other collaborators

  • Karen Scott (Project Manager) and Sue Bradley (Research Assistant), University of Newcastle
  • Ros Bryce (PDRA), Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability, University of Aberdeen

About

A key aim of the Defra Healthy Bees Plan of 2009 is ‘to get everyone to work together on bee health’ (Defra, 2009). A wide variety of people are currently concerned about honeybee health. Beekeepers, farmers, environmental groups, scientists, businesses and the public are all possible stakeholders in bee health, yet may have different interests, motivations, attitudes, beliefs or practices. This makes it difficult to work together to address bee health issues at a national level, for instance in controlling disease, promoting particular practices for bee health or just exchanging knowledge. There has been a lack of research into the stakeholder landscape for bee health. To understand how this diverse group can work together more effectively, we need to know:

  • Who are the key bee health stakeholders groups and what is their relationship to each other?
  • Which groups are influential and which are hard to influence? And why?
  • How can messages about best practice be developed and tailored to suit different groups.

This research will therefore:

  • Involve stakeholders at the outset by inviting individuals from a wide range of groups to form a project management board.
  • Hold a stakeholder event to help us categorise the stakeholder community into a number of groups.
  • Interview people in each category to understand their beliefs, motivations and needs around bee health.
  • Map the connections between individuals in each group
  • Develop recommendations for knowledge exchange strategies

Overview

This project, led by Birmingham City University, is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • Review of available literature on: bee health stakeholders, research on working and communicating with stakeholders in comparable areas, and evaluation of relevant theory and methods that can inform the design and execution of stakeholder mapping in this project and the design of a knowledge exchange and communications strategy for bee health
  • Systematically analyse stakeholders’ relative interest in and influence on bee health issues, whilst gathering information about likely views of different groups, existing or potential conflict between groups, and information about how best to approach/involve hard-to-reach groups
  • Assess stakeholder awareness and knowledge of bee health, risks and related issues, their beliefs, attitudes, motivations and activities in relation to bee health, and how best to communicate with different types of stakeholder to influence bee health practices. Consider the ways that knowledge is interpreted and framed by different groups to support current beliefs and practices
  • Statistically analyse relationships between stakeholders to identify: those with similar or different views about bee health and who access information in similar or different ways; individuals and organisations with significant gatekeeping roles for transmission of knowledge to support current beliefs and practices; and individuals and groups that are well positioned to access knowledge and help on bee issues, and those who are typically excluded or hard-to-reach
  • Produce knowledge exchange and communications materials to communicate key messages from this research about how to most effectively communicate with and influence different types of stakeholder to improve bee health
  • Produce a knowledge exchange and communications strategy and an associated implementation plan to guide future work with stakeholders to improve bee health.

The project incorporates a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to meet the objectives. It will start with a literature review, which will feed into the design of a stakeholder mapping to identify and categorize those who hold a stake in bee health issues, and systematically assess their interest in and influence on bee health.

This stakeholder mapping exercise will then inform the selection of stakeholder representatives for semi-structured interviews and social network analysis interviews. The former will be used to assess respondents’ awareness and knowledge of bee health, risks and related issues, their beliefs, attitudes, motivations and activities in relation to bee health, and how best to communicate with different types of stakeholder to influence bee health practices.

These interviews will also consider the ways that knowledge is interpreted and framed by different groups to support current beliefs and practices. The latter will inform Social Network Analysis to identify: individuals and groups with similar or different views about bee health and who access information in similar or different ways; individuals and organisations that are key nodes/influencers with significant gatekeeping roles for transmission of knowledge to support current beliefs and practices; and individuals and groups that are well positioned to access knowledge and help on bee issues, and those who are typically excluded or hard-to-reach.

The project will produce a comprehensive set of recommendations that will inform knowledge exchange and communications materials to disseminate key messages about how to most effectively communicate with and influence different types of stakeholder to improve bee health. The project will also produce a knowledge exchange and communications strategy and an associated implementation plan to guide future work with stakeholders to improve bee health.

Contact

Professor Mark Reed (Principal Investigator)
Birmingham City University
Email: mark.reed@bcu.ac.uk
Tel: 0753 8082343

Dr Karen Scott (Project Manager)
Newcastle University
Email: k.e.scott@ncl.ac.uk
Tel: 0191 222 6623