Defining "fast": Factors affecting perceptions of rapid response to humanitarian disasters

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Conference Paper

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Proceedings of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management international conference

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Speed is a central value for emergency logistics stakeholders. Emergency response literature makes a compelling case for rapid logistics processes to provide goods and services in humanitarian emergencies. However, speed is not well-defined concept. While situational demand contributes to the need for speed, an important factor is the perception of speed given the experience of the response stakeholders. Unfortunately, the literature lacks complex, situated pictures of how logistics stakeholders experience speed (i.e., what does it mean for a logistics process to be “fast”? What factors affect whether stakeholders perceive a logistics experience as fast?) To address this gap, we explored how logistics stakeholders in a large international humanitarian organization experience and perceive speed of operations. Our findings suggest that (1) the experience of speed is often comparative, not solely objective; (2) close communication between internal clients (field requestors) and service providers (logistics team) can make clients more likely to experience the logistics process as fast; and (3) feeling in control of decision-making can make both clients and service providers more likely to experience the logistics process as fast.

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