Faculty & Research

Elena Belavina

Assistant Professor of Operations Management

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5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Elena Belavina studies supply chain management, global sourcing, intermediaries, retailing, applied microeconomic theory and game theory. Her recent article titled, “The Relational Advantages of Intermediation” was co-authored with Karan Girotra and appeared in Management Science.

Belavina holds a Ph.D. in management from INSEAD. She earned both a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, as well as a Diploma of Business Communication Translator from the same institution.

Outside of academia Belavina is a consultant for a major Russian fashion retailer.


2014 - 2015 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
36600 Workshop in Operations/Management Science 2014 (Fall)
40000 Operations Management: Business Process Fundamentals 2015 (Spring)

Research Activities

Supply chain management, global sourcing, intermediaries, retailing, applied microeconomic theory, game theory and econometrics

New: Online Fresh Grocery Retail: A La Carte or Buffet?
Date Posted: Nov  09, 2014
This paper identifies the best revenue models for firms aspiring to capture the untapped trillion-dollar opportunity in online retail of fresh groceries. We compare the financial and environmental performance of two revenue models: the per-order model, where customers pay for each delivery; and subscription, where customers pay a subscription fee and receive free deliveries. We build a stylized model that incorporates customers with ongoing uncertain grocery needs who choose between shopping offline or online and an online retailer that makes deliveries through a proprietary distribution network. In contrast with practitioners’ widely-held views, we find that subscription incentivizes a customer order pattern that reduces total grocery sales on account of lower food waste. Subscription also has higher delivery costs, but these disadvantages are countered by delivery scale economies, lower grocery acquisition costs and potentially higher adoption of the online channel. From an ...

REVISION: Supply Networks for Relational Sourcing
Date Posted: Jan  09, 2014
Socially responsible sourcing has become a necessity for many global firms and a competitive advantage for others. Sourcing strategies based on social responsibility now increasingly employ long-term commitments (relational sourcing). This study examines the role that supply network configuration plays in the efficacy of relational sourcing in ensuring socially responsible behavior across the supply network (compliance). Our analysis reveals that, irrespective of the supply network’s topology (star or linear), the effectiveness of relational sourcing can be assessed via two aggregate network metrics: the relational potential (gain in total network profits from relational sourcing) and the exploitation potential (sum of the gains that individual players could earn by unilaterally reneging on the relational agreement’s terms while others abide by them). We characterize the preferred supply network for different product types and find that so-called high-degree networks are more suited ...

New: The Benefits of Decentralized Decision-Making in Supply Chains
Date Posted: Sep  04, 2012
The inefficiency of decentralized decision-making is one of the most influential findings of the supply chain coordination literature. This paper shows that with the possibility of continuing trade, decentralization can be beneficial in improving supply chain performance. In a supply chain with decentralized decision-making and continuing trade, it is easier to incentivize players to coordinate on efficient actions. There are more gains to be shared from coordination, and by virtue of each playe

REVISION: The Relational Advantages of Intermediation
Date Posted: Feb  15, 2012
This paper provides a novel explanation for the use of supply chain intermediaries such as Li & Fung Ltd.. We find that even in the absence of the well-known transactional and informational advantages of mediation, intermediaries improve supply chain performance. In particular, intermediaries facilitate responsive adaptation of the buyers’ supplier base to their changing needs while simultaneously ensuring that suppliers behave as if they had long-term sourcing commitments from buying firms. In

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