Migrant flows: Humanitarian operational aspects of people in transit

Sameer Prasad, Harish Borra, Jason Woldt, Nezih Altay*, Jasmine Tata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Millions of workers in India who migrated to cities for employment have transited back to seek refuge in their home villages, causing disruptions in both cities and villages. This type of mass flow of migrants in transit represents a humanitarian crisis. Understanding migrant flow patterns and ways to ameliorate the conditions for migrants in transit is critical to managing the humanitarian crisis. In this study, we develop a model that examines the influence of migrant networks, inter-organizational collaboration, and environmental uncertainty on locational advantage, which, in turn, predicts migrant flow patterns. This study contributes to the humanitarian operations management and migration literatures by uncovering how migrant networks and inter-organizational collaboration help provide access to humanitarian resources. Additional new findings of this study include uncovering different classes of migrants with their respective flow patterns and the role of collaboration along migration paths. The study also uncovers how travel constraints increase the duration of transit and the importance of point-to-point transfers to avoid congregation at transit hubs. Furthermore, findings from this research provide insights on how long-term humanitarian support to migrants through inter-organizational collaboration morphs to short-term aid in the event of a crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3311-3327
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 10.06.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • collaboration
  • migrant flow patterns
  • non-governmental organizations


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