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Investigating the strategic antecedents of agility in humanitarian logistics


L'Hermitte, C and Brooks, B and Bowles, M and Tatham, PH, Investigating the strategic antecedents of agility in humanitarian logistics, Disasters, 41, (4) pp. 672-695. ISSN 0361-3666 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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2017 The Author(s). Disasters Overseas Development Institute, 2017 This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: L'Hermitte, C., Brooks, B., Bowles, M., Tatham, P. H., 2017. Investigating the strategic antecedents of agility in humanitarian logistics, Disasters, 41(4), 672-695, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

DOI: doi:10.1111/disa.12220


This study investigates the strategic antecedents of operational agility in humanitarian logistics. It began by identifying the particular actions to be taken at the strategic level of a humanitarian organisation to support field-level agility. Next, quantitative data (n=59) were collected on four strategic-level capabilities (being purposeful, action-focused, collaborative, and learning-oriented) and on operational agility (field responsiveness and flexibility). Using a quantitative analysis, the study tested the relationship between organisational capacity building and operational agility and found that the four strategic-level capabilities are fundamental building blocks of agility. Collectively they account for 52 per cent of the ability of humanitarian logisticians to deal with ongoing changes and disruptions in the field. This study emphasises the need for researchers and practitioners to embrace a broader perspective of agility in humanitarian logistics. In addition, it highlights the inherently strategic nature of agility, the development of which involves focusing simultaneously on multiple drivers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:agility, humanitarian logistics, humanitarian supply chain, organisational capacity building, risk management, strategic capabilities
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Transportation, logistics and supply chains
Research Field:Logistics
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:International aid and development
UTAS Author:L'Hermitte, C (Ms Cecile L'Hermitte)
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
UTAS Author:Bowles, M (Dr Marcus Bowles)
UTAS Author:Tatham, PH (Dr Peter Tatham)
ID Code:119189
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Seafaring and Maritime Operations
Deposited On:2017-07-27
Last Modified:2018-04-17
Downloads:79 View Download Statistics

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