Theory in humanitarian operations research
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© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Academic research on humanitarian operations (HO) is growing (Anaya-Arenas et al. in Ann Oper Res 223(1):53–79, 2014; Burkart et al. in Ann Oper Res 1–21, 2016; Duhamel et al. in Ann Oper Res 1–21, 2016). However, attention to and use of relevant theories in associated research is limited (Richey Jr in Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manag 39(7):619–628, 2009). Theories are valuable for cultivating a deeper scholarly understanding of a concept such as humanitarian operations. As such, this paper advocates increased deployment of theory in humanitarian operations research. The paper suggests and analyzes three social science and management theories as worthy of consideration by scholars and practitioners. The paper generates and stimulates new theory driven research ideas and outlines potential directions for future theoretically rigorous investigations of the practice of operations management in humanitarian contexts.
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