Procurement in humanitarian organizations: Body of knowledge and practitioner's challenges

Mohammad Moshtari, Nezih Altay, Jussi Heikkilä, Paulo Goncalves

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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The procurement of products and services is a critical and challenging process for humanitarian organizations (HOs), accounting for approximately 65% of the costs of relief operations. Despite its importance, procurement in humanitarian operations remains under examined. This study reviews 51 scholarly articles related to procurement in the context of humanitarian operations and analyzes them from multiple angles: specific procurement tasks, key problems/research questions, data sought, and methods used. We complement the insights from the literature review with those from a set of interviews of humanitarian practitioners and HO suppliers of products and services. This allows us to shed light into real practices of humanitarian procurement, and the critical challenges and dilemmas they face. Our dual lens combining an academic and practical perspective also suggests possible research avenues for future studies. The paper provides insights for researchers studying procurement within humanitarian operations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108017
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Humanitarian operations
  • Humanitarian organization
  • Procurement

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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