Drivers of government restrictions on humanitarian supply chains: An exploratory study

Nathan Kunz, Gerald Reiner

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose

Foreign governments do not always welcome international humanitarian organizations responding to a disaster in their country. Many governments even impose restrictions on humanitarian supply chains through import barriers, travel restrictions or excessive bureaucracy. The purpose of this paper is to analyze these restrictions and try to identify the government characteristics that best explain the tendency to impose such restrictions.
Design/methodology/approach

Through a multiple case study among four international humanitarian organizations the authors identify and analyze the restrictions imposed on humanitarian supply chains in 143 different programs. The authors compare the average number of restrictions per country with different governmental and socio-economic situational factors.
Findings

The authors find that state fragility, a combination of government ineffectiveness and illegitimacy, is the characteristic that best explains the tendency of a government to impose restrictions on humanitarian supply chains.
Practical implications

Knowing that fragile states tend to impose a high number of restrictions helps humanitarian organizations to prepare adequately before entering a country with a fragile government. The organization can, for example, anticipate possible concerns and establish trust with the government. Commercial companies starting to do business in such country can learn from this knowledge.
Originality/value

Multiple studies have mentioned the strong impact of governments on humanitarian supply chains, but no paper has yet analyzed this problem in detail. The paper is the first to identify the characteristics that explain the number of restrictions governments impose on humanitarian supply chains, and what humanitarian organizations can do to address them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329 - 351
JournalJournal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 102009 Computer simulation
  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502012 Industrial management
  • 211
  • 502017 Logistics
  • 502032 Quality management

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