Prof. Maria Besiou, PhD

Publications

Professor of Humanitarian Logistics

Publications

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2018.02.046

Abstract: The humanitarian caseload is growing rapidly while funds are declining. The sector clearly will have to do more with less. Optimizing constrained resources is the strength of OR. Our discipline can strongly support humanitarian practitioners provided it works on pressing real problems and translates its research into easily implementable tools whose effectiveness can be verified. This Special Issue gathers a very rich and varied collection of papers along those principles. It clearly shows the value of OR and the many exciting research problems in this important area of humanitarian operations.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1002/job.2246

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.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1108/JHLSCM-10-2017-0048

Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of the humanitarian supply chain (HSC) as the backbone of the humanitarian operations. It further proposes feasible ways to overcome some of the main supply chain challenges identified by practitioners to achieve cost efficient and effective operations. Design/methodology/approach The challenges that the HSC faces and proposed changes to overcome them are gathered from interviews with nearly 40 practitioners. Findings Five critical issues that affect the future of HSCs are identified along with recommendations to address them. Social implications It supports the fulfillment of the agenda for humanity’s five core responsibilities: global leadership to prevent and end conflict, uphold the norms that safeguard humanity, leave no one behind, change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need, and invest in humanity. Originality/value The original report was presented at the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1108/IJOPM-04-2016-0202

Abstract: Purpose This paper is based on a panel discussion at EurOMA 2015. The purpose of this paper is to identify a number of barriers to relevant research in humanitarian logistics. The authors propose a charter of ten rules for conducting relevant humanitarian research. Design/methodology/approach The authors use operations management literature to identify best practices for doing research with practice. The authors compile, condense and interpret opinions expressed by three academics and one practitioner at the panel discussion, and illustrate them through quotes. Findings The increasing volume of papers published in the humanitarian logistics literature has not led to a proportional impact on practice. The authors identify a number of reasons for this, such as poor problem definition, difficult access to data or lack of contextualization. The authors propose a charter of ten rules that have the potential to make humanitarian logistics research more relevant for practice. Practical implications By developing best practices for doing relevant research in humanitarian logistics, this paper enables the academic community and practice to better work together on relevant and impactful research projects. Academic knowledge combined with practice-inspired problems has the potential to generate significant improvements to humanitarian practice. Originality/value This paper is the first to address the problem of relevance of humanitarian logistics research. It is also one of the few papers involving a practitioner to discuss practical relevance of research. Through this unique approach, it is hoped that this paper provides a set of particularly helpful recommendations for researchers studying humanitarian logistics.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12297

Abstract: Photovoltaic (PV) waste is expected to significantly increase. However, legislation on producer responsibility for the collection and recovery of PV panels is limited to the European Union (EU) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive Recast, which lays down design, collection, and recovery measures. Academic knowledge of closed-loop supply chains (CLSCs) for PV panels is scarce. We analyze the supply chain using multiple cases involving the main stakeholders in the design, production, collection, and recovery of PV panels. Our article answers two research questions: How does the PV supply chain operate, and what are critical factors affecting the reverse supply chain management of used panels? Our research seeks to fill the gap in the CLSC literature on PV panels, as well as to identify barriers and enablers for PV panel design, collection, and recycling.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/j.sorms.2016.10.003

Abstract: Humanitarian organizations (HOs) supply goods and services to people in need, using funds provided by donors supporting their mission. Funding systems, funds, and their characteristics have a very strong impact on the success of HOs in fulfilling their and donor needs. A wide variety of articles exists on humanitarian supply chain management (HSCM) and on managing and raising donations. However, a limited, yet growing, branch of literature explores topics in the new field of the interface between funding and HSC. This article provides an overview of research in this field and tries to capture how it has been developing. We achieve this overview through structuring the core issues discussed in the literature into a funding—humanitarian supply chain (HSC) interface framework. The framework leads to the identification of research gaps and promising areas for future research. The article raises awareness of the importance of carefully evaluating decisions related to funding systems and provides researchers and practitioners interested in this topic with guidance with respect to the core issues to be considered.

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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.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1111/poms.12375

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.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1108/20426741111122420

Abstract: PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to illustrate the appropriateness of system dynamics (SD) methodology as a tool for humanitarian decision makers to understand the effect of their decisions on humanitarian operations. The authors seek to present the initial stages and preliminary findings of a SD model used to analyze a well‐defined subsystem of humanitarian operations, field vehicle fleet management; then build on this example by identifying an additional area of humanitarian operations for future research using the SD methodology.Design/methodology/approachCase‐based research was combined with SD methodology to examine the appropriateness of this methodology for use in humanitarian operations.FindingsHumanitarian operations are characterized by multiple actors, feedback loops, time pressures, resource constraints and uncertainty. The authors find that SD has the capacity to accurately represent the dynamic complexity of humanitarian operations, and is therefore an appropriate tool to study these systems.Research limitations/implicationsThe well-defined issue of field vehicle fleet management in humanitarian organizations is used to illustrate an application of SD for humanitarian operations. Due to the difficulty in obtaining necessary data to build the SD model, this study uses estimations based on over three years of research into fleet management in the humanitarian sector. The authors then present an example of a broader but less well‐defined subsystem in the humanitarian sector that can be analyzed using SD methodology to the benefit of the overall humanitarian relief operation.Practical implicationsDecision making in humanitarian operations is usually based on intuition and experience which are not always sufficient to fully understand the global impact of these decisions. SD provides humanitarian decision makers with a method to simulate and compare the impact of alternative decisions that would not be possible in real life situations.Social implicationsThis paper examines the appropriateness of SD methodology to help humanitarians improve the effectiveness of their relief and development programs through better‐informed decision making.Originality/valueThis paper presents one of the first attempts to use SD methodology to build a model for humanitarian operations using a well‐defined subsystem, field vehicle fleet management.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/s00170-009-2362-7

Abstract: Nowadays, the worldwide production of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is consequently increasing, reducing both resources and landfills. In this manuscript, we investigate the significance of the factors that comprise the environmental sustainability strategies (environmental legislation and green image) and the operational features of the closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) (chain's features, products' features and economic parameters), their interactions and the type of their impact on the environmental (availability of natural resources and landfill availability) and economical sustainability of a WEEE CLSC. We use an extension of a System Dynamics-based model of a CLSC with recycling activities introduced by Georgiadis and Besiou [J Clean Prod 16(15):1665–1678, 2008]. The developed model is validated using data from a real-world CLSC of EEE in Greece. Extended numerical investigation provides insights to the managers of the WEEE CLSC and the legislators with regard to the actions which can lead to sustainability.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.3390/su1030722

Abstract: Waste electrical and electronic equipment is one of the major world-wide waste streams triggering the emergence of environmental strategies. Environmental regulations, closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) activities and design-for-environment (DfE) practices are environmental friendly strategies being implemented by governments and industry. In this paper, we apply a System Dynamics model to a CLSC of electrical and electronic equipment in Greece. Extensive numerical investigation provides insights regarding the impact of different legislative measures, CLSC activities and DfE practices on the environmental (availability of natural resources and landfills) and economic sustainability.

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Abstract: Sustainable supply chains have emerged as an area of growing attention due to the development of "Ecological motivation" and Sustainable development, along with technological and economical trends. Ecological motivation is a strategic issue of increased importance for the profitability of sustainable supply chains due to companies' interest in their "green image" and environmental legislation. Ecological motivation manifests through a variety of issues that are investigated in this manuscript, including the take-back obligations and lower limits of recycling imposed by the environmental legislation, green consumerism and design for environment (DfE). In this work we examine the impact of the ecological motivation and sustainable development on the long term behavior of a simple system that can be encountered on a variety of real-world cases, in particular that of a single producer and a single product chain with recycling activities. The developed methodological approach captures these issues comprehensively through a dynamic simulation model based on the principles of the system dynamics (SD) theory. The proposed dynamic model can be used as a simulation tool for the conduct of various "what-if" analyses, by evaluating the impact of various regulatory measures and green consumerism on system performance. Finally, we discuss the potential value of the proposed modeling procedure in managing real world cases.

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Journal Articles (Professional)

Books

Book Chapters

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29791-0_22

Abstract: Sustainability issues are becoming more complex. Private companies respond to the new challenges with the pursuit of corporate social responsibility. One way to contribute to society and to deal with the increased pressure is by engaging in cross-sector partnerships with nonprofit organizations. But under which conditions are these partnerships successful? Using a multiple case research design we study the challenges in the process of creating sustainable value for supply chains through cross-sector partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations operating in developing countries. The chapter answers two research questions: (1) What are the challenges affecting the success of cross-sector partnerships to create sustainable value? (2) How can these challenges be addressed by Operations Management (OM)/Supply Chain Management (SCM) research?

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Working Papers

Case Studies

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Abstract: This case is part of a case series. The introduction of a new class of persistent herbicides is anticipated by DuPont as a game-changer for the firm and its customers. Instead, the product creates unforeseen damage to vegetation. The mobilisation of the customer base soon extends to the general public and regulators, leading to withdrawal of the product and ultimately the sale of the DuPont business unit concerned. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units.Learning objectives:1. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. 2. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. 3. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units. https://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=122563

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Abstract: This is part of a case series. The introduction of a new class of persistent herbicides is anticipated by DuPont as a game-changer for the firm and its customers. Instead, the product creates unforeseen damage to vegetation. The mobilisation of the customer base soon extends to the general public and regulators, leading to withdrawal of the product and ultimately the sale of the DuPont business unit concerned. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units.Learning objectives:1. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. 2. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. 3. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units. https://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=122564

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Abstract: This is part of a case series.The introduction of a new class of persistent herbicides is anticipated by DuPont as a game-changer for the firm and its customers. Instead, the product creates unforeseen damage to vegetation. The mobilisation of the customer base soon extends to the general public and regulators, leading to withdrawal of the product and ultimately the sale of the DuPont business unit concerned. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units.Learning objectives:1. Participants will learn that in the age of stakeholder-controlled media, the classic means of customer engagement are inadequate. 2. Power has shifted from the firm to the customer, particularly in a B2B setting. 3. The vehicle for this shift, the online forum, remains poorly understood and utilised by most firms. Participants will see that customer power can destroy entire business units. https://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=122565

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Abstract: This case examines how the European pharmaceutical company Tibotec, part of J&J, engaged in a partnership with the International HIV / AIDS Alliance, an established NGO in Uganda. The case presents the learning that arises from this partnership, both for the private company and for the NGO.Learning objectives:1. To provide an illustration of a European company looking to develop partnerships on the African continent. 2. The challenges involved when a private company exposes itself to the uncertain NGO world. 3. What both parties learn from the experience. https://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=100800

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Abstract: This is part of a case series. The announcement that BP PLC, the world's third-largest oil firm, was going ‘beyond petroleum’ generated scepticism from news media, indifference from investors, and outraged opposition from environmentalists in 2000. When BP's Alaska employees raised safety and environmental concerns in 2002, stakeholder groups, news media and regulators were drawn into the conflict.Learning objectives:1. This case demonstrates how the dynamics of stakeholder activism and influence have changed as a consequence of the emergence of stakeholder-controlled media. 2. These follow different rules and objectives from conventional news media, and their influence on management strategies may be decisive. 3. Participants should gain awareness of the operating principles of these new forces, and how they impact corporate social responsibility in particular. https://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=104706

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Abstract: This is part of a case series. The announcement that BP PLC, the world's third-largest oil firm, was going 'beyond petroleum' generated scepticism from news media, indifference from investors, and outraged opposition from environmentalists in 2000. When BP's Alaska employees raised safety and environmental concerns in 2002, stakeholder groups, news media and regulators were drawn into the conflict. Learning Objective:1. This case demonstrates how the dynamics of stakeholder activism and influence have changed as a consequence of the emergence of stakeholder-controlled media. 2. These follow different rules and objectives from conventional news media, and their influence on management strategies may be decisive. 3. Participants should gain awareness of the operating principles of these new forces, and how they impact corporate social responsibility in particular. http://www.thecasecentre.org/main/products/view?id=104705

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