Beyond links and chains in food supply: a community OR perspective

Vilalta-perdomo, Eliseo Luis and Hingley, Martin (2018) Beyond links and chains in food supply: a community OR perspective. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 69 (4). pp. 580-588. ISSN 0160-5682

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Beyond Links and Chains in Food Supply: A Community OR perspective
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This theoretical paper complements traditional OR approaches to improve micro-businesses’ performance. When looking at local micro-businesses, we find that current supply chain and operations theory that focuses on efficiency and economic-based criteria for chain and network integration, is inapplicable and external organisation inappropriate. An illustration shows how traditional modelling exercises may fall short in better-informing independent-minded micro-entrepreneurs on how to collaborate, even though they recognise benefits from such endeavour. The illustration concerns consideration of food micro-producers, not as links constituting a chain, but as members of a community. This paper explores two different approaches to apply Community OR research principles. On one hand, the application of OR methods to phenomena in the ‘community’; on the other, the development of research on ‘community operations’; which are symbolised as C+OR and CO+R respectively. These approaches are associated to two different research languages: of needs and for interactions.
Main contributions of this paper are: first, we show that collaboration does not always need shared aims. Second, we offer a circular process where the identification of collective actions may help organisations to improve individually; and vice versa. Third, we suggest how to develop the role of a stronger collective actor by means of collaboration.

Keywords:Community OR, Problem Structuring Methods, Food Systems Sustainability, Supply Chain
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N530 Distribution
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:43824
Deposited On:04 Feb 2021 14:29

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