Ireland plays a key role in contributing to the global supply of dairy produce, and increasing international demand, as well as the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, present opportunities for the Irish milk industry. Improving milk quality is required to maximize these opportunities. National action on milk quality is spearheaded by Animal Health Ireland, yet the potential for collective action at an industry level is undermined by the inability of individual stakeholders to accept responsibility for action. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with n = 12 stakeholder representatives. The theoretical concepts of collective action (i.e., when a group of people with a shared interest undertake some kind of voluntary common action in pursuit of that shared interest) is applied to understanding the results and identifying a collective way forward. Though consensus is apparent on the need to improve milk quality, differences exist about individual responsibility and the best way to achieve higher quality standards. The propensity for collective action is undermined by shifting responsibility to other stakeholders, stakeholder positions, trust concerns, and concerns over the commitment of other stakeholders to cooperate. Understanding how collective action works provides Animal Health Ireland with a knowledge framework in which to build stakeholder consensus. The paper concludes with practical examples of how Animal Health Ireland continues to apply this understanding by bringing individual stakeholders together to achieve milk quality improvement.