Information asymmetry in greening humanitarian supply chain: a case study of a sequential principal-agent relationship

Qifeng Yan*, Gyöngyi Kovacs, Diego Vega

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Purpose The paper explores how information asymmetry arising from a sequential principal-agent relationship will impact on the efforts to green the humanitarian supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on a case study with a humanitarian organization as its focal organization. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews and documents from this supply chain.

Findings There is a sequential principal-agent relationship between donors, the focal organization, and its implementing partners. With regards to greening, the focal organization faces three challenges: resistance from local implementing partners, lack of systematic monitoring, and limited resources.

Research implications This paper provides an interesting case in which agency theory is applied in the humanitarian supply chain context. The case studied is defined as a sequential principal-agent relationship, and all parties have their interests and priorities while working towards the same goal. Importantly, information asymmetry is not only prevalent upstream and downstream the supply chain but also within the focal organization.

Practical implications The paper explores the dilemma of humanitarian organization in which a compromise must be made because of limited resources.

Originality In addition to the principal-agent relationship externally, this paper also explores the principal-agent relationship internal to the focal organization. Therefore, this paper provides a good case to examine how principal-agent relationship can be better managed across organizational boundary, but also inside the organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNOFOMA 2022 Conference Proceedings
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventNOFOMA 2022 - University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
Duration: 08.06.202210.06.2022


  • 512 Business and Management

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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