Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Vera Bitsch

Prof. Bitsch conducts research in the fields of agricultural economics and agribusiness management. In her research, she prefers working with qualitative approaches, where she also contributes to methodological development and the Doctoral Certificate Program Agricultural Economics.

Prof. Bitsch studied horticultural sciences at Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany. For her doctorate, she analyzed performance ratios in horticulture. Afterwards, she researched management skills, strategic management, and management of personnel, including job satisfaction and motivation, in Hannover. Her research and book on qualitative research in applied economics made an essential contribution to the further development the methodology discussion in the field. In 2000, Prof. Bitsch accepted a position at Michigan State University. Her roles there involved research, teaching, and extension in the area of human resource management in agriculture. Her extension & outreach program received a prestigious national award by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) in 2008. Prof. Bitsch joined TUM in 2010 as full professor and ordinaria for the Chair of Economics of Horticulture and Landscaping. Among her multiple awards are the honorary doctorate of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in 2018 and the fellow award of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association in 2020. Among her various service roles in the profession as well as in extension and outreach capacities she served as the president of the German Society of Horticultural Science (2019-2021) and as a member of the Commission for the Future of Agriculture of the German Chancellor (2020-2021), in which she also serves as co-coordinator for the workgroup economics.

Current Research Topics

Sustainability, in particular social sustainability, its measurement and evaluation across the value chain
Human resource management
Strategic management and institutional development
Management competencies and organization
Qualitative research approaches and case studies

Selected Publications

Gabriel, A. & Bitsch, V. (2022). Everywhere the same? Competitiveness of two regional vegetable production clusters in Southern Germany. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 0 (0) 1-20. doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2021.0119
Braun, C.L., Bitsch, V. & Häring, A.M. (2022). Developing agri-food value chains: Learning systems between exploration and exploitation. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (online). doi.org/10.1080/1389224X.2022.2082499
Braun, C.L., Bitsch, V. & Häring, A.M. (2022). Behind the scenes of a learning agri-food value chain: lessons from action research. Agriculture and Human Values 39, 119-134. doi.org/10.1007/s10460-021-10229-7
Wagner, C., Mair, S. & Bitsch, V. (2022). Mindsets in intra-familial farm transfer: Successful successor and predecessor prototypes. International Journal on Food System Dynamics 13 (2), 143-164. doi.org/10.18461/ijfsd.v13i2.B3
Havardi-Burger, N., Mempel, H., & Bitsch, V. (2021). Framework for sustainability assessment of the value chain of flowering potted plants for the German market. Journal of Cleaner Production 329, 129684. doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.129684
Gabriel, A., Rombach, M., Wieser, H., & Bitsch, V. (2021). Got waste: knowledge, behavior and self-assessment on food waste of university students in Germany. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 24 (6) 951-970. doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2020.0145
Rombach, M., Dean, D.L., Widmer, N.J.O. & Bitsch, V. 2021. „Oh, you shouldn’t have!” Understanding key factors impacting cut flowers gifting preferences in Germany. Horticulturae 7 (10), 368. doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100368
Rombach, M., Dean, D.L., Widmer, N.J.O. & Bitsch, V. 2021. Connected consumerism: Understanding fair trade cut flower purchase behavior in Germany. Sustainability 13 (21), 12133 (November). doi.org/10.3390/su132112133
Havardi-Burger, N., Mempel, H., & Bitsch, V. (2020). Driving forces and characteristics of the value chain of flowering potted plants for the German market. European Journal of Horticultural Science 85 (4), 267-278. doi.org/10.17660/eJHS.2020/85.4.8
Goisser, S., Mempel, H. & Bitsch, V. (2020). Food scanners as a radical innovation in German fresh produce supply chains. Journal on Food System Dynamics 11 (2), 101-116. dx.doi.org/10.18461/ijfsd.v11i2.43
Rombach, M., Paul, S.E., Niedermann, L.F. & Bitsch, V. (2020). Peppers & More: A teaching case in organizational behavior. International International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2020.0010
Havardi-Burger, N., Mempel, H., & Bitsch, V. (2020). Sustainability Challenges and Innovations in the Value Chain of Flowering Potted Plants for the German Market. Sustainability 12 (5), 1905. doi.org/10.3390/su12051905
Sedlmeier, R., Rombach, M. & Bitsch, V. (2019). Making food rescue your business. Case studies in Germany. Sustainability 11 (18), 5101 doi.org/10.3390/su11185101
Rombach, M., Köhl, L. & Bitsch, V. (2019). Multi-layer Agency Problems in a Non-profit and For-profit Collaboration: A Case Study of a Delicatessen Product in Support of a Minority. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 22 (5), 747-765. doi.org/10.22434/IFAMR2019.0014
King, R., Rombach, M., & Bitsch, V. (2019). Inclusion in German Horticulture. Acta Horticulturae 1242, 955-960 doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1242.140
Goisser, S., Mempel, H. & Bitsch, V. (2019). Potential applications of food-scanners in fruit and vegetable supply chains and possible consequences for the German market. Proceedings in System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks 2019, 173-81. doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2019.1917
Villnow, V., Rombach, M., & Bitsch, V. (2019). Examining German media coverage of the re-evaluation of glyphosate. Sustainability 11 (7), 1910. doi.org/10.3390/su11071910
Carlson, L. A. & Bitsch, V. (2019). Applicability of Transaction Cost Economics to Understanding Organizational Structures in Solidarity-Based Food Systems in Germany. Sustainability 11 (4), 1095. doi.org/10.3390/su11041095
Rombach, M., Widmar, N. O., Byrd, E. S., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Understanding preferences of German flower consumers: the desire for sustained beauty. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 46 (6), 560-576. doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-10-2017-0229
Mair, S. & Bitsch, V. (2018). Succession in horticultural family businesses: The role of socialization and communication. International Journal on Food System Dynamics 9 (3), 279-288. doi.org/10.18461/ijfsd.v9i3.936
Porsch, A., Gandorfer, M., & Bitsch V. (2018). Strategies to manage hail risk in apple production. Agricultural Finance Review. doi.org/10.1108/AFR-07-2017-0062
Braun, C. L., Rombach, M., Bitsch, V. & Häring A.M. (2018). Structures and actors of the organic vegetable value chain for school catering: a case study of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. Proceedings in System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks 2018, 133-142. doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2018.1810
Carlson, L. & Bitsch, V. (2018). Solidarity: a key element in alternative food networks. Proceedings in System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks 2018, 261-270. doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2018.1819
Kizil, M., Rombach, M. & Bitsch, V. (2018). Innovationspotenziale der Bundesgartenschau: Entwicklung eines Evaluationsmodelles. DGG-Proceedings 7 (12), No 15. doi: 10.5288/dgg-pr-mk-2017 (published December 2018)
Havardi-Burger, N., Mempel, H., & Bitsch, V. (2017). Supply chain of bedding plants and pot plants in Germany. DGG-Proceedings 7 (12) Osnabrück, Germany. www.dgg-online.org/.../dgg-pr-nb-2017.pdf
Gabriel, A., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Innovative Agrarpolitik: Weiterentwicklung der zweiten Säule der Gemeinsamen Agrarpolitik nach 2020 zur Erleichterung des Generationenwechsels und der Betriebsnachfolge. In: Innovative Agrarpolitik nach 2020. Schriftenreihe der Rentenbank, Band 34, 75-100. Frankfurt (Germany), Edmund Rehwinkel-Stiftung der Landwirtschaftlichen Rentenbank. www.rentenbank.de/.../Band-34-Innovative-Agrarpolitik-nach-2020.pdf
Rombach, M., Kang, E., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Good deeds revisited: motivation and boundary spanning in formal volunteering. International Review of Public and Nonprofit Marketing 15 (1), 105-126. doi:10.1007/s12208-018-0193-7
Gabriel, A., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Impacts of Succession in Family Business - A Systemic Approach for Understanding Dynamic Effects in Horticultural Retail Companies in Germany. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 26 (3), 304-324. doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-01-2018-0030
Rombach, M., Widmar, N. O., Byrd, E., & Bitsch, V. (2018). Do all roses smell equally sweet? Willingness to pay for flower attributes in specialized retail settings by German consumers. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 40 (January), 91-99. doi:10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.09.007
Rombach, M., & Bitsch, V. (2017). Sector blending: evidence from the German Food Bank. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 21 (2), 181-200. doi:10.22434/IFAMR2017.0064
Hermsdorf, D., Rombach, M., &  Bitsch, V. (2017). Food waste reduction practices in German food retail. British Food Journal 119 (12),  2532-2546. doi:10.1108/BFJ-06-2017-0338
Gandorfer, M., Porsch, A., & Bitsch, V. (2017). Producer price volatility in the German fruit and vegetable industry. European Journal of Horticultural Science 82 (3), 149-154. doi:10.17660/eJHS.2017/82.3.5
Bitsch, V., Mair, S., Borucinska, M., & Schettler, C. A. (2017). Introduction of a Nationwide Minimum Wage: Challenges to Agribusinesses in Germany. Economia Agro-alimentare/Food Economy 19 (1), 13-34. doi:10.3280/ECAG2017-001002, Abstract
Alpmann, J., & Bitsch, V. (2017). Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict: The Case of the German Milk Conflict. Food Policy 16, 62-72. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.12.002
Gabriel, A., Bitsch, V., & Menrad, K. (2017). Feasibility-Oriented Application of System Analysis in SMEs-The Cybernetic Approach of VSM Applied to Horticultural Retail Companies in Germany. Systemic Practice and Action Research 30 (2), 145-172. doi:10.1007/s11213-016-9388-1
Bitsch, V. (2016). Sustainability as Innovation: Challenges and Perspectives in Measurement and Implementation. In C. Huyghe, P. Bergeret, & U. Svedin (Eds.), Diffusion and transfer of knowledge in agriculture, Matière à débattre et décider (chap. 2). France: Quae. www.quae.com/fr/r5038-diffusion-and-transfer-of-knowledge-in-agriculture.html
Gabriel, A., Bitsch, V., & Menrad, K. (2016). Conceptual framework for system analysis of family-run agricultural SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 28 (4), 325-344. doi:10.1080/08276331.2016.1205914
Alpmann, J., & Bitsch, V. (2015). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in the Case of Farmer Associations: Decision-Making of Dairy Farmers during the German Milk Conflict. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 18 (4), 61-84. www.ifama.org/.../Alpmann-Bitsch.pdf
Rombach, M., & Bitsch, V. (2015). Food movements in Germany: Slow food, food sharing, and dumpster diving. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 18 (3), 1-24. www.ifama.org/resources/Documents/v18i3/Rombach-Bitsch.pdf
Bitsch, V. (2015). Herausforderungen nachhaltiger Wertschöpfungsketten im Gartenbau. In: W. Dirksmeyer, L. Theuvsen, & M. Kayser (Eds.), Aktuelle Forschung in der Gartenbauökonomie, Tagungsband zum 1. Symposium für Ökonomie im Gartenbau am 27. November 2013 in der Paulinerkirche Göttingen (pp. 1-21). Braunschweig, Germany: Thünen Report 22. go.tum.de/302591
Bitsch, V., Kokovic, N., & Rombach, M. (2015). Foodborne illness and media coverage: case study of the German E. coli outbreak in 2011. Acta Horticulturae 1103, 75-82. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1103.12
Bitsch, V., & Mittelberger, C. (2015). Eastern European seasonal employees in German horticulture: Role and recent developments in the context of the EU expansion. Acta Horticulturae 1099, 519-524. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1099.63
Bitsch, V., Kokovic, N., & Rombach, M. (2014). Risk communication and market effects during foodborne illnesses: A comparative case study of bacterial outbreaks in the U.S. and in Germany. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 17 (3), 97-114. www.ifama.org/.../V17Issue3BitschKokovicRombach.pdf
Alpmann, J., & Bitsch, V. (2013). Institutional Change in Germany’s Farmers Associations: Impacts of the Dairy Conflict. International Journal on Food System Dynamics, 4 (2) (November), 140-148. centmapress.ilb.uni-bonn.de/.../333
Bitsch, V., & Olynk, N. J. (2008). Risk-increasing and risk-reducing practices in human resource management: Focus group discussions with livestock managers. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 40 (April, 1), 185-201.
Bitsch, V., & Yakura, E. (2007). Middle management in agriculture: Roles, functions, and practices. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 10 (June, 2), 1-28.
Bitsch, V., & Olynk, N. J. (2007). Skills required of managers in livestock production: Evidence from focus group research. Review of Agricultural Economics 29 (Winter, 4), 749-64.
Bitsch, V. (2005). Qualitative research: A grounded theory example and evaluation criteria. Journal of Agribusiness 23 (Spring, 1), 75-91.
Bitsch, V., & Hogberg, M. (2005). Exploring horticultural employees’ attitudes towards their jobs: A qualitative analysis based on Herzberg’s theory of job satisfaction. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 37 (December, 3), 659-71.
Mugera, A. W., & Bitsch, V. (2005). Labor on dairy farms: A resource-based perspective with evidence from case studies. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 8 (July, 3), 79-98.
Bitsch, V. (2004). Focus group discussions as a research and extension method: The case of personnel management issues in horticultural businesses. Acta Horticulturae 655, 461-9.
Bitsch, V. (2001). Qualitative Forschung in der angewandten Ökonomie - Schwerpunkt: Landwirtschaft. Aachen Germany: Shaker Verlag. ISBN 3-8265-8737-5