A meta‐analysis of humanitarian logistics research

Kunz, Nathan Michael; Reiner, Gerald (2012). A meta‐analysis of humanitarian logistics research Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 2(2), pp. 116-147. Emerald Publishing 10.1108/20426741211260723

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to give an up‐to‐date and structured insight into the most recent literature on humanitarian logistics, and suggest trends for future research based on the gaps identified through structured content analysis. Design/methodology/approach The authors use a quantitative and qualitative content analysis process to analyse the characteristics of the existing literature, identifying the most studied topics in six structural dimensions, and presenting gaps and recommendations for further research. Findings It was found that existing humanitarian logistics research shows too little interest in continuous humanitarian aid operations, in slow onset disasters and man‐made catastrophes. While several papers address different phases of disasters, very few focus particularly on the reconstruction following a disaster. Empirical research is underrepresented in the existing literature as well. Research limitations/implications While five of the authors’ structural dimensions are inspired by previous reviews, the sixth dimension (situational factors) is derived from a theoretical framework which the authors developed and which has never been tested before. The validity of the study could therefore be increased by testing this framework. Originality/value The authors analyse the broadest set of papers (174) ever covered in previous literature reviews on humanitarian logistics. A quantitative analysis of the papers was conducted in order to analyse the situational factors which have mostly been studied so far in literature. This paper is also the first in humanitarian logistics to use content analysis as the main methodology to analyse literature in a structured way, which is of particular value to the academic community as well as practitioners.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School > Institute for Sustainable Business
Business School


Kunz, Nathan Michael and
Reiner, Gerald




Emerald Publishing




Nathan Michael Kunz

Date Deposited:

02 Aug 2023 11:24

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2023 08:42

Publisher DOI:






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