The Partner Proliferation Problem in Disaster Response Networks

  • Sara HasaniEmail author
  • Ramzi El-Haddadeh
  • Emel Aktas
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR)


The extraordinary conditions of a major disaster require mobilization of all available resources. This necessity, together with the stretch in the response budget in the public sector and the difficulty of raising funds in the private sector, draws various humanitarian actors with widely diverse capabilities into the affected area. This phenomenon is called the proliferation of actors, or the partner proliferation problem. This problem can have serious counterproductive effects on disaster operations, such as unmanaged independent efforts that lead to a duplication and confusion of effort. The disaster response phase generally lacks the contributions of a long-term outlook and pre-planning, which are adopted in existing long-term structures such as supply chains. The aim of this paper is to provide a structured review of the partner proliferation problem in the response phase and to suggest alternative courses of action for restructuring the disaster response network. Drawing on the concept of Virtual Organizations, the paper concludes that short-term collaboration is a suitable structure for the response phase. Short-term collaboration in the response phase is complementary to long-term collaborations such as supply chains in the recovery, mitigation, and preparedness phases of the disaster cycle. To that end, a conceptual framework is provided for re-structuring the disaster response network to align with the other phases of disaster management. Finally, further research is suggested to develop a decision making tool for partner configuration to meet the specific requirements of a disaster response network.


Disaster response Partner proliferation Short-term collaboration Virtual organization Disaster collaboration life cycle 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business SchoolUniversity of BedfordshireLutonUK
  2. 2.Brunel UniversityUxbridgeUK
  3. 3.School of ManagementCranfield UniversityBedfordUK

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