Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Timothy M. Malone


Leading cocoa-consuming countries have declared that in the year 2020, they will permit imports of sustainably sourced cocoa beans only, threatening the sustainability of the cocoa farming business. Certification offers enhanced market access for sustainability of the business of cocoa bean producers in Ghana. The purpose of this case study was to explore the strategies that farm managers used to obtain certification for cocoa bean production. Seven farm managers of a cocoa producer's cooperative located in the eastern region of Ghana who consistently produced certified cocoa beans for at least 5 years participated in the study. Deming's quality management theory served as the conceptual framework for this study. Semistructured interviews constituted the primary technique for data collection. Additional data from UTZ-certified documents and the archives of the cooperative supported the process of achieving data saturation. Data were analyzed using Bengtsson's manifest content analysis framework of decontextualization, recontextualization, categorization, and compilation to arrive at conclusions. Three themes emerged from data analysis: training in farming practices and certification code of conduct, management discipline, and environmental and social sustainability. The implications of this study for social change include the potential that certification might influence a positive change in the farming practices of Ghanaian cocoa farm managers. Social change might be reflected in the adoption of sustainable production practices, improved living conditions of producers, and biodiversity conservation.

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