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Specific competencies in humanitarian logistics education

Dorit Bölsche (Faculty of Business Administration, Department of Logistics, Hochschule Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany)
Matthias Klumpp (Institute for Logistics and Service Management (FOM ild), FOM University of Applied Sciences, Essen, Germany)
Hella Abidi (Institute for Logistics and Service Management (FOM ild), FOM University of Applied Sciences, Essen, Germany)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 21 October 2013



The purpose of the research paper is to provide the humanitarian logistics community with an overall picture about competencies and skills in humanitarian logistics and if there is a lack of professionalization of the logistics function in humanitarian context from an international perspective. Further this research elaborates practical approaches how the skills and competencies can be enhanced and developed for international education programs.


An empirical survey as approach was used. Hereby a descriptive analysis provides in a comprehensive way education, skills and competencies in humanitarian logistics. The respondents are from different countries and continents as well as from different humanitarian sector, e.g. humanitarian organizations (HOs), logistics service providers, military services and researchers.


In general, the findings of the research paper present valuable insights of mandatory contents of education in humanitarian logistics as well as competencies and skills on different levels based on European Qualification Framework (EQF). This research paper explores these and offers suggestions to improve and promote market and professional competencies and skills for the humanitarian logistics sector and to minimize their impacts.

Research limitations/implications

The field survey was due to access and motivation restriction mainly answered by academics in the field of humanitarian logistics or by leadership personnel with very high academic merits (MA/PhD). Further the objective of this research paper was purposefully limited to describing the education requirements, not gap analysis with existing education offers or development of new curricula content – this should be a task for further research setups.

Practical implications

Specific requirements regarding negotiation and legal competences are named in the survey as well as the objective of specific, country-related adaptions and the time schedule form of education trainings in humanitarian logistics (during a professional career with as much time absent for learning as feasible).

Social implications

The paper highlights the increasing demand and still existing gap regarding education and training in humanitarian logistics in the field. All included institutions and persons have to re-evaluate their prioritization and budgeting in order to support further education and training for personnel in humanitarian logistics according to the results of the survey and addressing the need of logisticians in the humlog management and operations.


This paper adds to the knowledge about the implications of education and training and measurement of skills and competencies based on EQF for theory and practice. Further the humanitarian logistics community requires rudimentary humanitarian logistics education to enhance the logistics operation in case of disaster toward the affected people.



Bölsche, D., Klumpp, M. and Abidi, H. (2013), "Specific competencies in humanitarian logistics education", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 99-128.



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