Operations Strategy and Management within Oxfam

Term Paper, 2007

12 Pages, Grade: 9 / 13 (Danish scale)


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The charity organization Oxfam
2.1 Background Information
2.2 The four V’s
2.3 The five performance criteria

3 Main concepts and their application
3.1 The Role of Operations
3.2 The Objectives of Operations
3.3 Operations Strategy
3.4 System design
3.5 Planning & Control
3.6 Quality

4 Conclusion


1 Introduction

Many studies about operations strategy and management have tended to focus on profit maximizing organizations than on non-profit organizations. However, the importance of operations and its strategy and management is a key factor in non-profit organizations as well. Therefore, Oxfam is of particular interest because it is a non-profit organization while it can be seen that the same theories are applicable. The purpose of this paper is to apply the main theories within operations strategy and management on this charity organization.

Operations, as the resources that create products and services, covers different functions in an organization, as can bee seen in figure 1.[1] Therefore, this paper gives an overview about the application of the different parts of this model.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Therefore, the remainder of this paper is divided into three parts: the description of the charity organization Oxfam including the four V’s and its five performance objectives, the application of main concepts of the above shown Operations and Strategy Management model and the final conclusion.

2 The charity organization Oxfam

This chapter covers a general description about the charity organization itself and its four V’s as well as its five performance objectives.

2.1 Background Information

Oxfam International with its headquarter in Oxford, Britain was founded in 1995 by a group of independent organizations who wanted to create an alliance to achieve greater impact in reducing poverty by their collective efforts. The name can be derived from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which was founded in 1942 to support the Greek population with grain ships during the Second World War. Nowadays Oxfam consists out of thirteen organizations working together with over 3,000 collaborators in more than 100 countries to find a lasting solution to end poverty and improve the living circumstances in developing countries. The objective is to create awareness through global campaigns and motivate people “to make equity the same priority as economic growth”[2]. Moreover, Oxfam provides a range of issues where they are working on, including development programs, emergency work, research and lobbying and campaigning.[3] In addition, their charity shops worldwide provide the major source of income while they are selling donated items and selected products. These are supplied by small-scale producers which get fair prices, training, advice and funding by Oxfam. All these shops are run by volunteers.

A world without poverty and people who are able to exercise their rights and manage their own lives is the summarized mission of Oxfam.

2.2 The four V’s

The four V’s[4], as characteristics of the operations processes organizations are faced with, are consistent out of volume, variety, variation and visibility. As the main operations of Oxfam is the service to the beneficiaries as funding the rebuilding of schools in Sri Lanka, help Ecuadorian farmers to improve their income and use ecological friendly practices at the same time or rebuild communities in Niger[5], as only naming a few examples, the following V’s can be identified.

The volume of the output can be best described by the welfare Oxfam can provide to their beneficiaries. This could be measured by monetary practices, how much money they actually get from Oxfam or by social measurements how Oxfam’s involvement helps the people to live a better life. The characteristics of profit organizations, repeatability and systemization, can only be applied to a certain level. Low unit costs per beneficiary are hardly achievable and not the goal of Oxfam. Therefore, other volume criteria measured by the improvement of living conditions has to be taken into consideration. The variety Oxfam offers can be identified as high because of all the different projects and campaigns they launch. The capability of variety demands a high level of flexibility. Staff must be able to work on a project to build a school and then organize a funding for another project. Even when Oxfam hires different people for different tasks, it can be stated in general that the employees within Oxfam have to be more flexible to achieve this high degree of variety. The variation level identifies the rate of output from a process over time. As the demand for help is always high, the level of variation does not change distinctly. However, after natural disasters or other catastrophes the demand in this particular area increases. The visibility describes the customer contact and is therefore very high within Oxfam. All of the campaigns, shops or projects demand a high level of contact with people because that is the basic business of Oxfam. Obviously the back office, as the organization and coordination has not this high level of visibility. In total, the visibility stays high in Oxfam because that is were the focus is on. To summarize, the four V’s of Oxfam can be described as in figure 2.


[1] Slack, N., Chambers, S., Johnston, R., 2007, Operations Management, 5th edition, Pearson Education Limited, 1.

[2] http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/who/, 31.01.2007.

[3] http://www.oxfam.org/en/about/what/, 31.01.2007.

[4] Slack, N., Chambers, S., Johnston, R., 2007, Operations Management, 5th edition, Pearson Education Limited, 16-21.

[5] http://www.oxfam.org/en/programs/development/index.htm, 02.02.2007.

Excerpt out of 12 pages


Operations Strategy and Management within Oxfam
Copenhagen Business School
Operations and Strategy Management
9 / 13 (Danish scale)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
464 KB
Operations, Strategy, Management, Oxfam, Operations, Strategy, Management
Quote paper
Nicole Brand (Author), 2007, Operations Strategy and Management within Oxfam, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/69646


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Operations Strategy and Management within Oxfam

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free