Covid-19 Disaster relief projects management: an exploratory study of critical success factors
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonUpadhyay, A., Hernandez, M.J.P., Balodi, K.C. (2022) Covid-19 Disaster relief projects management: an exploratory study of critical success factors. Operations Management Research. 2022. 10.1007/s12063-021-00246-4
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented socio-economic devastation. With widespread displacement of population/ migrants, considerable destruction of property, increase in mortality, morbidity, and poverty, infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics have become global threats requiring a collective response. Project Management is, however, a relatively less explored discipline in the Third Sector, particularly in the domain of humanitarian assistance or exploratory projects. Via a systematic literature review and experts' interviews, this paper explores the essence of humanitarian projects in terms of the challenges encountered and the factors that facilitate or hinder project success during crises like Covid-19. Additionally, the general application of project management in international assistance projects is analysed to determine how project management can contribute to keeping the project orientation humane during a crisis. The analysis reveals that applying project management tools and techniques are beneficial to achieve success in humanitarian assistance projects. However, capturing, codifying, and disseminating the knowledge generated in the process and placing the end-users at the centre of the project life cycle is a prerequisite. While the latter can seem obvious, the findings demonstrate that the inadequate inclusion of beneficiaries is one of the main reasons that prevent positive project outcomes leading to unsustainable outcomes. The key finding of this paper is that the lack of human-centred approaches in project management for humanitarian assistance and development projects is the main reason such projects fail to achieve desired outcomes.