Theory in humanitarian operations research

Oloruntoba, Richard and Farid Hossain, Gazi and Wagner, Beverly (2016) Theory in humanitarian operations research. Annals of Operations Research, 247 (2). pp. 1-18. ISSN 0254-5330 (

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Academic research on humanitarian operations (HO) is growing (Anaya-Arenas et al.2014; Burkart et al. 2015; Duhammel et al. 2016). However, attention to and use of relevant theories in associated research is limited (Richey Jr 2009, p.619). 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 3 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.