Determinants of cohesion in smallholder farmer groups in Uganda

Keywords: NAADS, advisory services, community interaction


Cohesion is a fundamental determinant of performance in farmer groups in which collective action is pursued for the benefit of the members. The study examined the influence of individual members’ objectives, participation culture, group rewards, structure of tasks and perceived equity on cohesion of farmer groups that can promote access to agricultural extension services. Quantitative data were collected from 180 members of 19 farmer groups using questionnaires selected in a multi-stage process that combined purposive and random sampling. Qualitative data were gathered from 20 key informants in oral interviews and three focus group discussions. Regression analysis indicated that there were statistically significant negative relationships between individual members’ objectives, structure of the tasks, group reward system and cohesion of farmer groups. In contrast, perceived equity had a statistically significant positive relationship with cohesion in farmer groups. We recommend that, for sustainability of group cohesion, group facilitators work with the farmer groups to ensure alignment of group and NAADS institutions and performance indicators. A group dynamics perspective to understanding farmer group cohesion should be a helpful organizing principle.


Adong, A., Mwaura, F., & Okoboi, G. (2012). What determines membership to farmer groups in Uganda? Evidence from the Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/9. Journal of Sustainable Development, 6(4).

Bukenya, C. (2010). Meeting farmer demand? An assessment of extension reform in Uganda. [Doctoral dissertation, Wageningen University]. Wageningen University and Research.

Cropanzano, R., & Mitchell, M. S. (2005). Social exchange theory: An interdisciplinary review. Journal of Management, 31(6), 874–900.

Dimock, H. G., & Devine, I. (1994). Making workgroups effective (3rd ed). Captus Press Inc.

Forsyth, D. R. (2006). Group dynamics (4th ed.). Thomson Wadsworth.

Greenwald, A. G., & Ronis, D. L. (1978). Twenty years of cognitive dissonance: Case study of evolution of a theory. Psychological Review, 85(1), 53–57.

Hogg, M. A. (2001). A social identity theory of leadership. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(3), 184–200.

Lin, Z., Yang, H., Arya, B., Huang, Z., & Li, D. (2005). Structural versus individual perspectives on the dynamics of group performance: Theoretical exploration and empirical investigation. Journal of Management, 31(3), 354–380.

Mangheni, M.N. (2007). Experiences, innovations and issues in agricultural extension in Uganda: Lessons and prospects. Fountain Publishers.

Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries. (2010). Agriculture for food and income security: Development strategy and investment plan (DSIP), 2010/11-2014-15. MAAIF.

Olomola, A. S. (2002). Social capital, microfinance group performance and poverty implications in Nigeria. Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Resources (NISER).

Pigg, K. (1999). Community leadership and community theory: A practical synthesis. Community Development Society Journal, 30(2), 196–212.

Salifu, A., Francesconi, G. N., & Kolavalli, S. (2010). A review of collective action in rural Ghana (discussion paper 00998). International Food Policy Research Institute,

Stolte, J. F., Fine, G. A., & Cook, K. S. (2001). Sociological miniaturism: Seeing the big through the small in social psychology. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 387¬¬¬-413.

Turner, J. H., & Stets, J. E. (2006). Sociological theories of human emotions. Journal of Annual Sociology Review, 32, 25–52.

Wilkinson, K. (1991). The community in rural America. Greenwood Press.

Zanna, M., & Cooper, J. (1974). Dissonance and the pill: An attribution approach to studying the arousal properties of dissonance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29(5), 703–709.

How to Cite
Agole, D., Yoder, E., Brennan, M. A., Baggett, C., Ewing, J., Beckman, M., & Matsiko, F. B. (2021). Determinants of cohesion in smallholder farmer groups in Uganda. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 2(1), 26-41.