Humanizing humanitarian supply chains: a synthesis of key challenges

Hilary Pateman, Kate Hughes, Stephen Cahoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Business collaboration is increasingly the focus of management scholars and practitioners alike. Collaboration brings both benefits to organizations and numerous challenges. In disaster management, the response to events that impact people, communities and businesses frequently involves the response of multiple organizations. Collaboration in this chaotic and uncertain environment is difficult. Humanitarian supply chains are part of a service-based industry, thus interactions and relationships with people are necessary, further increasing the management complexities. Managing humanitarian supply chains is a people business that still appears to be anchored in an efficiency paradigm focusing on cost reduction. This paper examines challenges and issues involved in collaboration and coordination in the context of the humanitarian supply chains through the lens of international human resource management practices. It suggests greater emphasis on developing an effectiveness paradigm that focuses on value creation, knowledge sharing and collaboration. Understanding collaboration in the complex context of humanitarian supply chains provides opportunities for application of this learning from the business world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81–102
Number of pages22
JournalThe Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • humanitarian supply chains
  • relief workers
  • collaboration
  • disasters


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