Classifying logistics-relevant disasters: conceptual model and empirical illustration
L'Hermitte, C and Tatham, P and Bowles, M, Classifying logistics-relevant disasters: conceptual model and empirical illustration, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 4, (2) pp. 155-178. ISSN 2042-6747 (2014) [Refereed Article]
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to use a theory-based approach to develop a new classification
model for disasters that reflects their logistics implications, and to contextualise the findings by
applying the model to a particular disaster situation.
Design/methodology/approach – A widespread literature review was conducted in order to
conceptualise the proposed disaster classification model and a case study (the 2011-2012 Somali food
crisis) was used to provide a practical illustration and an initial validation of the conceptual approach.
Findings – The new classification model proposes a set of four categories of disasters based on two
generic dimensions, whilst simultaneously integrating five situational factors that reflect the impact of
the external environment on the logistics operations. The case study confirms that this systemic
approach is necessary since, from a logistics perspective, a disaster should be considered in its entirety
and within its contextual environment.
Research limitations/implications – Further research is needed to establish the operational
characteristics of each disaster type in order to determine the applicability of business logistics
practices to each scenario. In addition, this paper highlights the opportunity to validate or refine the
model by using a more varied range of case studies.
Originality/value – This paper proposes a new classification model for disasters based on their
logistics implications and, by integrating the key environmental factors, it moves beyond the
traditional 2×2 model found in the literature.
Open systems, Humanitarian logistics, Disaster classification, External environment, Generic characteristics, Typology building, Somalia, Emergency disaster, Diffuse disaster Paper type Conceptual paper