Measuring humanitarian supply chain performance in a multi-goal context

Ira Haavisto*, Jarrod Goentzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to deepen the understanding of supply chain performance objectives in the humanitarian context by striving to understand the underlying goals and conceptual variables behind the measurement of performance, such as efficiency. Design/methodology/approach – The research is an in-depth case study with one humanitarian organization. The data are gathered with mixed methods over a two-year period. Interviews were conducted in August 2010 and April 2012, and a survey conducted in October 2012. Findings – Misalignments are detected among different groups in humanitarian operations and between their goals and processes. These misalignments could possibly be corrected through long-term thinking in short-term operations by considering sustainability aspects throughout humanitarian assistance, for example. In addition, efficiency was a commonly identified objective in the case organization, although the definition varied widely and extended beyond the traditional definition of productivity to include planning, accountability and quality. Practical implications – Better communication and definition of terms is necessary to align goals and the power hierarchy in humanitarian supply chains, where operations seem to be structured more according to donor requirements then beneficiary needs. Originality/value – This is an in-depth case study, applying goal-setting theory to study supply chain performance. The study further responds to the public “aid efficiency” discussion by striving to recognize how efficiency is understood and how it can be measured in a humanitarian supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)300-324
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 07.12.2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Humanitarian supply chain
  • Performance measurement


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