Volatility, unpredictability and asymmetry

Alan Carroll (Division of Business Information Technology and Management Science, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Manchester, UK)
Jens Neu (Ludwigshafen University of Applied Science, Katzweiler, Germany)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 2 October 2009



This paper aims to develop the tentative hypothesis that common effective dynamics generate asymmetry volatility and unpredictability in the business, military and humanitarian logistics sectors.


The paper examines collaborative supply chain management (CSCM) concepts which integrate practical comparator cases to develop and justify the theoretical framework.


The humanitarian logistics sector can take “best practice” from business and military LSCM developments, but has specific problems of potential instability which require sector‐specific attention.

Research limitations/implications

Humanitarian logistics' “present state” is a zero sum model because of the fragmented nature and number of disparate actors, which generate the logistics system volatility, unpredictability and asymmetry common to unstable operations, and which formed the research rationale for this paper.

Practical implications

The development gap identified can be resolved, and synthesis achieved, with the application of an intelligent system infrastructure.


This paper provides a development framework for a comprehensive set of universal techniques and a commonality in humanitarian logistics and supply chain management.



Carroll, A. and Neu, J. (2009), "Volatility, unpredictability and asymmetry", Management Research News, Vol. 32 No. 11, pp. 1024-1037. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170910998264

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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