Business Organization and Coordination in Marketing Specialty Hogs: A Comparative Analysis of Two Firms from Iowa

Brent Hueth, Maro Ibarburu, James Kliebenstein
November 2005  [05-WP 415]

We study business organization and coordination of specialty-market hog production using a comparative analysis of two Iowa pork niche-marketing firms. We describe and analyze each firm's management of five key organizational challenges: planning and logistics, quality assurance, process verification and management of "credence attributes," business structure, and profit sharing. Although each firm is engaged in essentially the same activity, there are substantial differences across the two firms in the way production and marketing are coordinated. These differences are partly explained by the relative size and age of each firm, thus highlighting the importance of organizational evolution in agricultural markets, but are also partly the result of a formal organizational separation between marketing and production activities in one of the firms.

Keywords: Specialty hogs; coordination; contracting; organizational design; niche markets.

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