Prakash, C., Roy, V., & Charan, P. (2021). Mitigating interorganizational conflicts in humanitarian logistics collaboration: the roles of contractual agreements, trust and post-disaster environmental uncertainty phases. The International Journal of Logistics Management.


Governance is the key to establishing effective collaboration among humanitarian logistics partners addressing an ongoing relief work. With a focus on humanitarian interorganizational collaboration, this research draws on governance theories to investigate how conflicts can be mitigated in this challenging setting.

The focus on governance extends attention to the frontiers of contractual agreement, trust and environmental uncertainty to be applied in the humanitarian setting. To develop perspectives, an online survey of 289 field executives working in humanitarian organizations across the globe is conducted. The findings are based on hierarchical regressions.

Environmental uncertainty, in humanitarian logistics, is not straightforward, but wields distinctive challenges in the response phase (immediate to the disaster) as well as the recovery phase (beginning of build back) – to loom prospects of conflict between partners. Findings outline that contractual agreement can increase conflict during the response phase (high environmental uncertainty), but mitigate it during the recovery phase (low environmental uncertainty). Furthermore, contractual agreement interactively strengthens the ability of trust to reduce conflict. Yet, trust acting alone shows best outcome to mitigate conflict.

Research limitations/implications
Contrary to the established understanding in traditional logistics suggesting the vitality of contracts to easily mitigate challenges posed by environmental uncertainty, the humanitarian setting extends a unique outset for interorganizational governance based on the temporality of response and recovery phases.

This research pioneers to quantitatively examine the setting of humanitarian logistics based on survey. Given the difficulty of data acquisition, the extant research has largely relied on qualitative investigations when considering the agenda of governance.