The Influence of a Social System on Students Understanding of Global Food Security Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • According to literature, there will be a shortage of food for at least a billion people in 2050. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations indicated food security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. A social system is one of the key components of the diffusion of innovations. The structure of a social system can be a formal or informal arrangement of the individuals within the system that allows a degree of predictability in social behavior. A required course on change in the college of agriculture seeks to enhance undergraduate students understanding of global food security issues. Survey research was utilized to examine diffusion components that have a relationship with students understanding of global food security. Six hundred fifty-seven students were surveyed in the change course in 2014 and 2015, and four hundred twelve (n = 412) responded. Social system had the strongest relationship (r = 0.63) and accounted for the most variance (39%) in students understanding of global food security. The data suggested students are influenced more by social systems than communication channels and the innovation. The implications indicate a necessity to understand student norms to better understand social systems to aid in increasing understanding of food security. Contrary to the literature, the innovation and communication channels are not always the initial components that influence adoption.

author list (cited authors)

  • Strong, R., Hall, I., & Keppler, K.

complete list of authors

  • Strong, Robert||Hall, IV Thomas||Keppler, Katlin

publication date

  • June 2016