Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Management

First Advisor

Euthemia Stavrulaki

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Livingston

Third Advisor

Ian Walsh


The increased frequency and impact of natural disasters and other humanitarian crises—including events such as the COVID-19 pandemic—makes studying disaster relief and recovery particularly important. One relevant area of research in this space is humanitarian logistics. This dissertation provides insights into disaster relief logistics by exploring the government’s role in humanitarian logistics, examining the government’s efforts to address COVID-19 medical supply chain challenges, and determining how to lessen the impact of supply chain bottlenecks from unwanted post-disaster donations. Chapter one (sole-authored) is a literature review of the role of governments in humanitarian logistics. Although governments are vital stakeholders in nearly every humanitarian disaster, there is an incomplete understanding of the role of government in such events. The findings suggest that governments assume three key roles: host, funder, and coordinator. A theoretical framework is presented that illustrates these roles in the context of a humanitarian disaster.

Chapter two (co-authored) is an empirical study of the U.S. federal government’s efforts to address medical supply chain challenges resulting from COVID-19. Using a qualitative case study and the lens of attribution theory, we explain how a key U.S. public health agency responded to COVID-19 medical supply challenges and how its revised strategies are attributed to specific factors experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We identify four such critical factors: mission complexity and uncertainty, partner incentives, domestic manufacturing capabilities, and funding uncertainty. These factors inform and affect three main strategic priorities for the agency’s medical supply chain— supply chain coordination, supply chain collaboration, and stockpiling. Chapter three (co-authored) is an empirical study of post-disaster donations to lessen the supply chain impacts from unwanted donations. Following a disaster that results in a humanitarian crisis, media coverage of the event is frequently followed by surplus donations of goods to charitable organizations, many of which are unwanted and unsolicited. In this study, we conduct an experiment soliciting donations for the humanitarian disaster caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to evaluate whether media reports on the benefits of donating cash can lessen unwanted giving. We find that such reports can significantly increase the proportion of cash donations.