Reputation of the horticultural sector


What factors are important for the reputation of the horticultural sector?

The initiators of the study, Marike Schmieder (l.) and Iris Brenneke, are investigating the reputation of the horticulture sector.

What is the reputation of the horticulture industry and how is it perceived by both players in the sector and consumers? Do they have different views and what use is this information to companies in the horticulture sector? The Center for Business Management in Horticulture and Applied Research (ZBG) at the University of Hannover is seeking to develop a methodology for measuring the reputation of horticulture. By Yasmin-Coralie Berg

ZBG study: “The reputation of German horticulture”

In a two-stage research project Iris Brenneke und Marike Schmieder, both scientists at the ZBG, are now seeking to explore this question in a study they have initiated entitled “The reputation of German horticulture”. This project is being carried out within the framework of the research activities of the ZBG and with the financial backing of the the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the agriculture ministries of the German states.

In the course of their research Brenneke and Schmieder constantly came across studies on the acceptance of the industry in the field of agriculture but found little on the reputation of horticultural production systems. The two women are now seeking to bridge this gap with their research by conducting an online survey which asks respondents to judge the features of the sector relevant to reputation.

A suitable approach is sought  for measuring the reputation of the horticulture sector.

To measure the reputation of the sector it is first necessary to develop a suitable approach and to tailor existing research constructs to horticulture. In this regard, the views of players involved with the sector must be sought. As experts they can help to judge the relevant characteristics for customers from their perspective. Accordingly, the first survey is directed at players from the horticulture value chains. “For the purposes of our research it is unimportant whether the survey respondents are the owners of a horticulture business or employees in the industry”, explains Schmieder.

In the final stage the indicators established will be used in a consumer survey. The two researchers believe that it will then be possible both to make recommendations for action at company and sector level and to formulate industry-wide strategies. Furthermore, this knowledge can be used to make public relations work more effectively and goal-oriented. In their view, this again highlights the importance of reputation for companies and industries as an intangible target construct with an asset value that is not to be underestimated.

Legitimation for business activity is not to be underestimated

“And the legitimation for business activity is not to be underestimated. For ultimately business owners stand alone, admittedly equipped with economically efficient production techniques but also with solutions and approaches that society doesn’t support”, explains Brenneke. “Our goal is to ensure the ability of producers to work effectively, and in particular to make viable long-term plans.”

The initial results of the study are expected to be presented by the end of the year. In addition to being published in trade publications and the specialist horticultural press, they will also be used for further Research.