Agility and resource dependency in ramp-up process of humanitarian organizations

Qing Lu*, Jie Wu, Mark Goh, Robert De Souza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The ramp-up in humanitarian logistics operations is a stage when the demand surges, often at the start of an emergency. In response, agility is a key strategy used by the humanitarian organizations (HOs). However, the HOs are constrained by their existing resources and have to respond in the ramp-up process under their resource dependency. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework on agility-building strategies used by HOs for the ramp-up. Design/methodology/approach: This study applies both the dynamic capabilities perspective and resource dependence theory to humanitarian relief operations, and develops four testable propositions to explore the agility-building strategies of the HOs for the ramp-up process. A multiple-case study is conducted on six international HOs operating in Indonesia to verify them, in addition to an extensive literature search. Findings: The case study shows that the human resource management, pre-positioning, standardization and supplier management of the HOs are all related to their resources and environment in the ramp-up process. The authors highlight the practical differences between the few super large, resource rich and centralized HOs with the second-tier HOs. Research limitations/implications: Given the small sample size and single country as the site of study, some findings may not be applicable to the other HOs or in other regions. Practical implications: The propositions could be applicable to other HOs operating under similar environments, and potentially to the commercial enterprises operating in a highly volatile environment with severe resource scarcity. Originality/value: This study provides new insights into ramp-up operations and into how HOs build their agility and reduce their resource dependencies. Theoretically, the paper applies two established theories in the strategic management literature to a new field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-862
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2019


  • Agility strategy
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Ramp-up process
  • Resource dependency
  • Strategic management


Dive into the research topics of 'Agility and resource dependency in ramp-up process of humanitarian organizations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this