eCite Digital Repository

Developing organisational capabilities to support agility in humanitarian logistics: An exploratory study


L'Hermitte, C and Tatham, P and Bowles, M and Brooks, B, Developing organisational capabilities to support agility in humanitarian logistics: An exploratory study, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 6, (1) pp. 72 - 99. ISSN 2042-6747 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/JHLSCM-02-2015-0006


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the underlying strategic mechanisms of agility in a humanitarian logistics context. Based on the research conducted in business disciplines, the paper empirically examines a set of four strategic dimensions (being purposeful, being action-focused, being collaborative, and being learning-oriented) and identifies an emergent relationship between these capabilities and agile humanitarian logistics operations.

Design/methodology/approach: Leadership and management actions perceived to support the four capabilities were identified and used as a basis to complete the exploratory research. Specifically, a case study with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was undertaken and, in this context, a qualitative analysis of 29 face-to-face interviews with humanitarian logistics experts working for WFP was conducted.

Findings: The research corroborates the relevance of the four strategic-level capabilities to the humanitarian logistics context and confirms that these capabilities play a role in the development of agility in humanitarian operations. The work also identifies a set of key strategic decision-making areas that relate to the building of agility.

Research limitations/implications: Additional research is needed to further investigate and measure the strategic-level capabilities and to quantify their impact on operational agility. Further research should also be undertaken to extend this study to a wider range of humanitarian organisations.

Originality/value: This paper is the first empirical research that takes a strategic approach to the concept of agility in humanitarian logistics. It highlights that the leaders and managers of humanitarian organisations have a significant role to play in the building of an agile system.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:agility, strategic capabilities, humanitarian logistics, humanitarian supply chain, capacity building, agile capabilities
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Transportation, logistics and supply chains
Research Field:Logistics
Objective Division:Transport
Objective Group:Water transport
Objective Field:Domestic passenger water transport (e.g. ferries)
UTAS Author:L'Hermitte, C (Ms Cecile L'Hermitte)
UTAS Author:Tatham, P (Dr Peter Tatham)
UTAS Author:Bowles, M (Dr Marcus Bowles)
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
ID Code:109152
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Seafaring and Maritime Operations
Deposited On:2016-05-28
Last Modified:2021-10-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page