"We Work as a Team Really": Gender Homophily in the Australian Cotton Industry

Dale Mackrell
InSITE 2005  •  Volume 5  •  2005
This paper is based on an ongoing study that looks at farm management practices by Australian women cotton growers using farm management software, most particularly an agricultural decision support system, CottonLOGIC. The study is informed through a theoretical framework of structuration theory as a metatheory for probing the recursiveness of farm management and technology usage, and diffusion of innovations theory as a lower-level theory for analysing software adoption characteristics. Empirical research indicates that effective information exchange flows from homophilous communication. In this paper, the principles of homophily and heterophily in communication networks were initially drawn from diffusion theory. The findings suggest that despite apparent gender disparities, the presence of empathy and shared goals between farming partners overrides ‘gender heterophily’ to become gender homophily. Therefore cotton growers are informed of scientific research through homophilous communication, influencing the construction and reconstruction of innovative software usage and existing farm management practices.
Communication, homophily, heterophily, gender, networks, diffusion theory, structuration theory, farm management, cotton, Australia
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