Maria Besiou is Professor of Humanitarian Logistics at Kühne Logistics University. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Operations Management from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) in Greece. She holds a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from AUTH. Before joining KLU she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Social Innovation Centre at INSEAD, France.
Besiou’s specialization is on the field of sustainable supply chain management. Her main research interests are in humanitarian logistics, closed-loop supply chains and stakeholder media. She studies dynamic complex systems, characterized by multiple actors and feedbacks, in a strategic level rendering system dynamics methodology an appropriate tool. Her research focuses on the decision-making of commercial companies and humanitarian organizations, while managing their supply chains. It has been motivated by real problems that these supply chains face such as regulations, limitation of resources, stochasticity, decentralization and monitoring by online communities. Hence, the insights that arise from her research can be transferred to policy-makers and decision-makers dealing with supply chain issues.
As a researcher, she is currently involved in the Research Institute on Leadership and Operations in Humanitarian Aid (RILOHA), which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian aid via psychological insights, and the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, which is an inclusive platform for cross-disciplinary research, education, projects and engagement in the area of Business in Society.
Her research appears in several case studies and peer-review international journals like Production and Operations Management (POM), Journal of Business Ethics (JBE), California Management Review (CMR), European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR) and the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management (JHLSCM). She has also presented her work at major international academic and practitioner conferences and workshops.
Besiou currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management (JHLSCM), as a Senior Editor of the Disaster Management Department (DMD) of Production and Operations Management (POM), and on the editorial review boards of Journal of Operations Management (JOM) and Production and Operations Management (POM).
Salem, Mojtaba, Niels Van Quaquebeke and Maria Besiou (2018): How field office leaders drive learning and creativity in humanitarian aid: Exploring the role of boundary-spanning leadership for expatriate and local aid worker collaboration, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39 (5): 594-611.
Abstract: Many humanitarian aid workers receive training prior to being dispatched into the field, but they often encounter challenges that require additional learning and creativity. Consequently, aid organizations formally support collaboration among the expatriate and local workers in a field office. At best, those aid workers would not only exploit their joint knowledge but also explore novel ways of managing the challenges at hand. Yet differences between expatriate and local groups (e.g., in ethnicity, religion, education, and salary) often thwart intergroup collaboration in field offices and, by extension, any joint learning or creativity. In response to this issue, we study the role of field office leaders—specifically, how their boundary-spanning behavior may inspire collaboration between the two groups and therefore facilitate joint learning and creativity. We propose that a leader's in-group prototypicality additionally catalyzes this process—that is, a leader's behavior has more impact if s/he is seen as representing his/her group. We tested and found support for our hypothesized moderated mediation model in a field sample of 137 aid workers from 59 humanitarian organizations. Thus, our study generally highlights the pivotal role that field office leaders play for crucial outcomes in humanitarian aid operations. Furthermore, we offer concrete steps for field office leaders who want to inspire better collaboration between the expatriate and local aid workers they lead.
Hunter, Mark Lee, Luk N. Van Wassenhove and Maria Besiou (2016): The New Rules For Crisis Management, MIT Sloan Management Review, 57 (4): 71-78.
Abstract: The article focuses on the approach for crisis management rules in mass media industry in the U.S. Topics discussed include downsized of journalists in the U.S. and Great Britain since 2000, deployment of channels such as user forums and social media platforms like Facebook, and action taken by stakeholders to leverage key assets including frontline information, news channels, and ability to determine when and how a crisis ends.
Besiou, Maria and Luk N. Van Wassenhove (2015): Addressing the Challenge of Modeling for Decision-Making in Socially Responsible Operations, Production and Operations Management, 24 (9): 1390-1401.
Abstract: Companies seek sustainability by combining the quest for profitability with the pursuit of social responsibility. Since socially responsible operations are characterized by the presence of multiple stakeholders with conflicting goals, applying classical optimization models would seem premature; we first need to capture the behavior of the entire system before attempting to optimize sub-systems to ensure that we focus on the ones driving the behavior of interest. Alternative methodologies are required if we are to gain insight into the most important drivers of socially responsible operations in order to apply traditional operations research (OR)/management science (MS) models correctly. This study presents an umbrella approach which combines different methodologies to tackle the complexity, unfamiliar context, and counter-intuitive behavior of socially responsible operations at the overall system level.
Besiou, Maria, Alfonso J. Pedraza-Martinez and Luk N. Van Wassenhove (2014): Vehicle Supply Chains in Humanitarian Operations: Decentralization, Operational Mix, and Earmarked Funding, Production and Operations Management, 23 (11): 1950-1965.
Abstract: The work of international humanitarian organizations (IHOs) frequently involves operating in remote locations, decentralized decision-making, and the simultaneous implementation of development and disaster response programs. A large proportion of this work is funded by “earmarked” donations, since donors often exhibit a preference for the programs they are willing to fund. From extensive research involving qualitative descriptions and quantitative data, and applying system dynamics methodology, we model vehicle supply chains (VSCs) in support of humanitarian field operations. Our efforts encompass the often-overlooked decentralized environment by incorporating the three different VSC structures that IHOs operate, as well as examining the entire mix of development and disaster response programs, and the specific (and virtually unexplored) effects of earmarked funding. Our results suggest that earmarked funding causes a real—and negative—operational impact on humanitarian disaster response programs in a decentralized setting.
Besiou, Maria, Patroklos Georgiadis and Luk N. Van Wassenhove (2012): Official recycling and scavengers: Symbiotic or conflicting?, European Journal of Operational Research, 218 (2): 563-576.
Abstract: Nowadays, especially in developed countries, the traditional collection of end-of-use products by scavengers has been displaced by formal waste recovery systems. However, scavenging still exists, especially in places with collection capacity shortages and/or low living standards. Besides its obvious social implications, the financial and environmental aspects of scavenging are certainly not trivial. Informal recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by scavengers not only constrains profits of the formal system. In their effort to recover the value of end-of-use products, scavengers also pollute the environment if toxic substances leak when WEEE is not properly disposed of. We investigate the impact of scavenging on the operations of the formal recovery system of WEEE, under three regulatory measures, using system dynamics methodology. By using data from a real world closed-loop supply chain that operates in Greece extended numerical experimentation revealed that a legislation incorporating scavengers into the formal waste recovery system (instead of either ignoring or prohibiting their participation) is beneficial for economical, environmental and social sustainability.
|since 2016||Professor of Humanitarian Logistics, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg|
Visiting Scholar at INSEAD Social Innovation Centre
Associate Professor of Humanitarian Logistics, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg
|2012 - October 2013|
Assistant Professor of Logistics, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg
|2009 - 2011|
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Social Innovation Centre at INSEAD, France
|2005 - 2009|
Ph.D. Candidate in Operations Management, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Greece
|2004 - 2009|
Research and Teaching Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, AUTH, Greece
Ph.D., Operations Management, Department of Mechanical Engineering, AUTH, Greece.
Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (M.Sc. Equivalent), Department of Mechanical Engineering AUTH, Greece
2015 - Best paper award of the POMS 26th Annual Conference for the Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management track
Maria Besiou received the best paper award of the POMS 26th Annual Conference for the Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management track for her article (together with Laura Turrini and Joern Meissner) "Understanding Fundraising in Humanitarian Supply Chains".
2012 - Best paper award of the POMS 23rd Annual Conference for the Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management track
Maria Besiou received the best paper award of the POMS 23rd Annual Conference for the Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management track for her article (together with Afonso Pedraza-Martinez and Luk Van Wassenhove) “Decentralization and Earmarked Funding in Humanitarian Logistics for Relief and Development”.
2012 - Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence
An article by Maria Besiou (with Orla Stapleton and Luk Van Wassenhove) entitled “System dynamics for humanitarian operations” published in the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 78-103, 2011) has been chosen as one of that journal’s Highly Commended Award Winners at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012.
|2016 - 2017|
President of the College of Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management (HOCM) at the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS)
Founding Member, Member of the Board and Coordinator of the Association of European Operational Research Societies (EURO) Working Group on Humanitarian Operations (HOpe)
|since Sept. 2013|
VP of the Hellenic Chapter of System Dynamics Society
|2013 - 2015|
Vice President of Outreach of the College of Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management (HOCM) at the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS)"
|2008 - Aug. 2013|
Treasurer of the Hellenic Chapter of System Dynamics Society
The humanitarian logistics database has been compiled for the convenience and efficiency of researchers and students in the field of Humanitarian Operations. Papers have been categorised according to methodologies used in research, topic of study (i.e. 'Fleet management' or 'Inventory management') and type of program from the disaster cycle (i.e.'development'). Books and book chapters can be found by searching for the author’s last name. The categories can be found in the links on the side of the page.