Step 7: Background


I have
→ And what now?

Clarify the background, legal situation, maybe financial aspects.


  • Which legal regulations do I have to follow?
  • Who has to give a grant or else?

If you haven’t already read the introductions to bottom-up and top-down project structures and communication problems we suggest you follow these links and do so now, this will give you a basic understanding on the driving forces behind communication problems.  


Navigating Policy and legislation: the gap between legalities and practical implementation

When undergoing your project there are various legal frameworks and regulations to abide by, this varies depending on the nature of your project, and identifying and complying with these is a challenge in itself. Much like the scientific cultural and language barrier outlined in step 3, there is a gap between the policy making and administrative community and other stakeholder groups.

COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE – Policy and legislation problems

This gap is often characterized by misunderstandings and a lack of understanding of farmers perspectives, reasoning and needs by policy makers and vice-versa. It is also possible that although one party may feel that their perspectives and needs are misunderstood, this is not the case, and this can result in just as many problems as the first condition.

Many of the problems with the professional relationships between policy-makers and administrators can once again be put down to professional cultural differences.

Policy, legislation and regulations can be a minefield to navigate, with the amount of administration and paperwork involved posing a major challenge and high workload. Unfortunately this is a necessary evil, but there are various ways of making the process easier which are outlined below in communication solutions.

To make matters worse, the information provided is often in the language set aside for policy and administration, making it hard to access and understand, once again a result of the differences between professions.

Finally, keep in mind that policy and legislation is put in place to serve a purpose. There may even be monetary incentives put in place that could benefit your project and lack of general awareness may mean these incentives are not being used.

For more information on:

  1. Policy and legislation problems
  2. Problems that arise from Policy and legislation problems
  3. Real project examples of Policy and legislation problems

→ Link to level 3 information; thesis chapters 4.3.5 pg 72-76, appendix table 1. pgs 36-38)

COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS – Eliminating Policy and Legislation problems

Building good relationships through:

  • Networking – Forming connections between different organisations or individuals with mutual interests can initiate a relationship involving information and knowledge sharing, collaboration and mutual benefit. (4.4.11 pg 101-102, appendix pg 44)
  • Two-way communication- By making sure communication always allows for the participation of both or all parties, important feedback and valuable opinions will be heard, all perspectives should be valued. (thesis chapter 4.4.1. pg 83-84, appendix pg 41)
  • Target-audience based communication- Keep in mind who you are talking to, and adjust the way you convey your message accordingly. Different stakeholder groups have different interests and field of expertise. A message should be simple and concise when aimed at individuals who don’t share your background. (4.4.2. pg 85-86, appendix pg 41) – A great organisation who has perfected this technique is “Odling i balans” –link
  • Trust building- Trust between partners is essential for the success of any project, it will ensure good relationships and is especially important when new roles have been assigned. Cultivating trust is a powerful way of vastly increasing your project’s chances of success (2.9.4 pg 19-20, 4.4.10 pg 98-99, appendix pg 44)
  • Bridging Role Gaps- Having an individual or organisation with a diverse background work as a communicator and translator can bridge the gaps between different stakeholder groups, making communication smoother. This is of special importance with regards to communication with members of the policy-making and administrative community. Building a strong relationship with those you interact with regularly within the policy-making and administrative community may greatly increase productivity, and help you to develop your own bridge to share information. (4.4.3 pg 86-89, appendix pg 42)
  • Collaboration and cooperation - Naturally, good collaboration of the participants in a project as well as their cooperation in order to reach the same goals is an important process. (2.9.7 pg 21- 23, 4.4.12 pg 102-103, appendix pg 44)
  • Giving recognition and credit- Providing recognition and credit to those stakeholders who have reached their goals and are an asset to the team of your project is a powerful way to ensuring continued enthusiasm and motivation. It is also a way of giving feedback and reassuring stakeholders that they are valued and an integral part of the project. (4.4.8. pg 95-97, appendix pg 44)
  • Role redefinition and reallocation- Bottom-up projects call for bottom-up roles for each stakeholder, suited to their expertise and maximizing the efficiency of the project. Discussions and reallocation of roles should occur early on in the project, and should include the participation of all stakeholders. (4.4.4 pg 89-91, appendix pg 42)

Raising your own awareness through:

  • Education- Raise your own awareness, find out more about how other stakeholder groups work, and what their work entails. Knowing what is required of an individual in their job will help you decide what information would be most relevant to them, and areas in which they may need a more basic explanation.Knowing more about the policy and legislation that applies to your project may save time and provide a more holistic view of the process (thesis chapter 4.4.6 pg 92-93, appendix pg 43)
  • Incentive awareness- Raise your own awareness of what kind of incentives, monetary or otherwise, exist that may benefit your project. Although there are many subsidies and various other incentives provided by the regional or local government, these are not always well advertised, there may be opportunities available to take advantage of that you are unaware of. This awareness can be attained through other solutions, such as networking, two-way communication and having a communicator or mediator individual bridging the gap between farmers and policy-makers and administrators. (4.4.13 ph 103-113, appendix pg 45)