Incorporating the voice of the refugee? Demand Management in Public Service Chains



The ongoing refugee crisis has led to a large influx of people. This poses high demands on Europe’s asylum systems in which various (public) organizations work together in order to complete application procedures and meet the needs of refugees. We explore how different members of such socially responsible public service chains manage demand, a crucial process in (public) service operations. Data from exploratory interviews and document reviews in the Dutch refugee application process show that demand management is not chain-wide but rather conducted by individual organizations in reaction to the evolving situation. This is opposing the nature of demand management in services as it is considered a pro-active strategy to plan and match capacities. Among explanatory factors that follow from the research setting are the limited information available from non-voluntary customers that the chain deals with, party dominance and task conception in the chain, and the role of policies. We contribute valuable insights on demand management in service chains, especially in socially responsible public settings. Moreover this research works towards ways to improve demand management and the matching of demand and supply in public chains to overcome some of the weaknesses highlighted in news reports.

Bio: Carolien de Blok 

Carolien de Blok studied International Business at Tilburg University and thereafter started her PhD research at the department of Tranzo, Tilburg University. This research focused on the qualitative exploration of the concept of modularity as a means to organize and provide demand-based and efficient care to independently living elderly. In September 2010, she defended her PhD thesis cum laude. In subsequent post-doc positions, Carolien worked on the topic of open service innovation (UvA) and various research projects on organization, quality and safety in health care (NIVEL). As assistant professor supply chain management at the University of Groningen her research interests center around the organization and management of public service chains. Examples of resent research projects include the use of IT and information transfer in criminal justice chains, demand management and flexibility in the refugee chain, and service co-creation in health care networks. Carolien has published in both national and international journals.