Outsourcing in humanitarian logistics – status quo and future directions

Goßler, Timo and Wakolbinger, Tina ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5042-4870 and Burkart, Christian (2020) Outsourcing in humanitarian logistics – status quo and future directions. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 50 (4). pp. 403-438. ISSN 0960-0035

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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Purpose – Outsourcing of logistics has great importance in disaster relief. Aid agencies spend several billion US dollars every year on logistics services. However, the concept of outsourcing has not been established adequately in literature on humanitarian logistics, leading to a fragmented view of the practice. This paper provides a holistic perspective of the concept by constructing a conceptual framework to analyze both practice and research of outsourcing in humanitarian operations. Based on this analysis, we explore future trends and identify research gaps. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a structured review of academic literature, a tworound Delphi study with 31 experts from aid agencies and a complementary full-day focus group with twelve experts from aid agencies and logistics service providers. Findings – The paper systemizes the current practice of outsourcing in humanitarian logistics according to a conceptual framework of five dimensions: subject, object, partner, design and context. In addition, it reveals ten probable developments of the practice over the next years. Finally, it describes eight important research gaps and presents a research agenda for the field. Research limitations/implications – The literature review considered peer-reviewed academic papers. Practitioner papers could provide additional insights into the practice. Moreover, the Delphi study focused on the perspective of aid agencies. Capturing the views of logistics service providers in more detail would be a valuable addition. Originality/value – The paper establishes the academic basis for the important practice of outsourcing in humanitarian logistics. It highlights essential research gaps and, thereby, opens up the field for future research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This research is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): Project 26015.
Keywords: Humanitarian logistics, Outsourcing, Service provision, Partnership, Disaster relief, Coordination, Cooperation, Humanitarian supply chain, Structured literature review, Delphi
Divisions: Departments > Welthandel > Transportwirtschaft und Logistik > Wakolbinger
Forschungsinstitute > Supply Chain Management
Kompetenzzentren > Sustainability Transf. & Responsibility
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2020 16:41
Last Modified: 07 May 2021 15:34
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/95874/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/7690


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