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).
Besiou, Maria and Luk N. Van Wassenhove (In press): Humanitarian Operations: A World of Opportunity for Relevant and Impactful Research, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.
Urrea, Gloria, Alfonso J. Pedraza‐Martinez and Maria Besiou (In press): Volunteer Management in Charity Storehouses: Experience, Congestion and Operational Performance, Production and Operations Management.
Salem, Mojtaba, Niels Van Quaquebeke, Maria Besiou and Louisa Meyer (2019): Intergroup leadership: How leaders can enhance performance of humanitarian operations, Production and Operations Management, 28 (11): 2877-2897.
Abstract: International humanitarian organizations (IHOs) always strive to improve their operational performance in the field. While anecdotes from practice suggest that IHO field office leadership plays a crucial role in this regard, these claims have not been deeply substantiated by primary data. In response, we collected survey data from 125 humanitarian workers, concentrated in disaster response and development programs, on the issues of field office leadership and operational performance. Building on the operations management and organizational behavior literature, we find that leaders who adopt an intergroup leadership style can significantly improve operational performance via enhancing cooperation between local and expatriate subgroups inside a field office. Notably, we find that the intergroup leadership style becomes more effective as humanitarian workers become more entrenched within cohesive subgroups. These results should help IHOs to better select and train their field office leaders and achieve higher operational performance.
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.
|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.