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Exploring the known and the unknown: future possibilities of system dynamics for humanitarian operations

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Humanitarian operations are characterized by complexity due to uncertainty, multiple actors and time pressures, as well as resource constraints. Decision making within humanitarian organizations is generally based on experience and intuition. Given the levels of complexity, this may be insufficient to cope. System dynamics is a methodology that was developed to study systems with similar characteristics, e.g. uncertainty, multiple actors, and time pressures. This paper illustrates the appropriateness of the system dynamics methodology to gain insights into humanitarian operations. Comparing three humanitarian case studies with examples of system dynamics applications, we illustrate its potential usage in this context. We also present the initial stages and preliminary findings of a system dynamics model to study field vehicle fleet management in humanitarian organizations.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2010/2010-74.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved