Policy changes and the introduction of AMSs (automatic milking systems) have accelerated changes in the Norwegian dairy sector. Loose housing, joint farming operations and AMSs are in some cases introduced all at once or over a short period. Thus the ability to manage technical and organizational change successfully is becoming increasingly important for dairy farmers. To explore how farmers manage change we visited and interviewed four farmers who have invested in new loose housing and AMSs since 2003. Three of them have also entered joint farming. Further, we interviewed four dairy farming consultants. In this article we explore change using a change framework. We present and analyse four farm cases in depth and develop a conceptual model for change management on dairy farms. Our cases show that new technologies and farming systems can be introduced on similar farms with very different results. Continuous gradual changes, former experience with change, inner motivation, deliberate use of consultants, and careful planning of joint farming operations have a positive impact on farming performance during and after change. A key finding is that change should be recognized as a managerial challenge and not only as a matter of implementing new technology.
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