Friends or Colleagues? Communal and Exchange Relationships During stages of Humanitarian Relief

Iana Shaheen, Arash Azadegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this study, we explore firm-level perspectives from four types of organizations on how collaborative relationships are viewed, strengthened, and applied in responding to disasters. We focus on the perspective of four types of organizations operating at the forefront of the response to major hurricanes in the United States. These include government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the regional and local levels. We analyze qualitative evidence from managers and directors from a total of 54 organizations regarding their organization’s relationships before and during the response stage of major hurricanes in the United States. Evidence suggests that collaborative relationships are viewed and strengthened in different ways by the four types. Whereas local NGOs view their relationship with others as communal (non-reciprocal), national NGOs view them as exchange (reciprocal). Government agencies (local and regional) have a hybrid view, a combination of communal and exchange. Evidence suggests that during the dormant stage, organizations build up collaborative relationships that can facilitate their efforts during the response stage. During the response stage, a general shift toward communal and away from exchange relationships is noted across all four types. Notable counter-intuitive findings, alongside theoretical and managerial insights, are offered based on the findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2828-2850
Number of pages23
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • collaborative relationships
  • disaster response
  • humanitarian supply chains
  • non-reciprocal relationships
  • social exchange theory


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