Humanitarian logistics research for the care of refugees and internally displaced persons: A new area of research and a research agenda
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© 2018, Richard Oloruntoba and Ruth Banomyong.
Purpose: This “thought paper” is written by the special issue editors as a part of the five papers accepted and published in response to the special issue call for papers on logistics and SCM in the context of relief for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue on “refugee logistics” and analyse the nature and challenges of displacement from a displaced person’s perspective. The paper also argues for a more critical appreciation of the role and value that research in logistics, operations and supply chain management (LOSCM) can play in the delivery of services and care for refugees and IDPs from the perspective of preparedness and logistics planning of humanitarian organisations. The paper further outlines basic challenges to undertaking innovative, boundary pushing valuable and impactful research on “refugee logistics” given the difficult ideological, political and policy context in which “refugee logistics research” will be undertaken. The paper also advocates for more critical research in humanitarian logistics (HL), that explicitly acknowledges its ontological, epistemological and methodological limitations even when ethically sound. The paper concludes by suggesting a future research agenda for this new sub-field of humanitarian logistics research.
Design/methodology/approach: Conceptual paper utilising viewpoints, literature reviews as well as original ideas and thoughts of the authors.
Findings: The new field of “refugee logistics research” is important. It has been neglected in humanitarian logistics research for too long. Hence, there needs to be more research in this sub-field of humanitarian logistics.
Research limitations/implications: This is a “thought paper”. It is the basic conceptual ideas of the authors. While it is not based on empirical work or data collection, it is based on a comprehensive literature research and analysis.
Social implications: This paper advocates for the universal human rights of IDPs and refugees and their dignity, and how LOSCM can contribute to upholding such dignity.
Originality/value: It contributes indirectly to logistics policy and refugee policy as well as logistics service quality and advocacy for human rights and human dignity.
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