The International Committee of the Red Cross (Icrc): Managing Across Culture

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‘We were an orgn made up of Swiss generalists. We are becoming a multicultural and professional enterprise.” INTRODUCTION
Dr. Jacques Stroun, M.D. – (1999) Director of Human Resources & Finance (before Head of Detention Division, Deputy Director of Operations) ICRC – provide humanitarian relief, Humanitarian ‘Multinational’ Organisation Home base: Geneva, Switzerland

Orgn Values – Neutrality, Independence, Discretion & Humanism Total Workforce – (2008) over 14,000 over 100 nationalities Until recently – ICRC is very Swiss , very Genevoise
Expatriate – open to all nationalities but 93% is westerners (1992) Changing expatriate composition – expatriates number increasing – Africa, Asia & Latin America HR Policy – recruitment from Geneva – sent to field with ‘learning by doing’, operate under sense of danger, meeting immediate challenges, focus on short term, quickly develops and reinforces team and team loyalties, rotation every 12 months, no formal training, no continuity for developing people, Career - little career planning, career developed through interpersonal networks & driven by opportunities, most recruits stayed for 2 to 3 years, no management development, those remain and reach top of HQ –mostly Swiss male (old school boys club) CURRENT CHALLENGES – greater diversity in mgmt ranks – more professionals, foreigners and women. NEW STRATEGIC PLAN (2007 -2010) – challenges to HRM. 3 mgmt priorities – 1. Multidisciplinary; 2. Greater accountability & 3. Increased efficiency thru’ results based management. Role of HQ? – Centralised or Decentralised? Policies & Procedures needed to be Standardised to achieve efficiency & operation coherence but ensure flexibility; CHALLENGES FOR HR – Clarify roles and responsibilities; performance based management system; increase staff for rapid deployment, provide mgmt development & career planning, align ind. Interests & competencies with orgn’s needs & priorities; growing diversity especially promo of women to top mgmt positions. HOW ICRC ADAPT TO THESE STRATEGIC DEMANDS WHILE PRESERVING CULTURE CRITICAL TO UPHOLDING MISSION OF NEUTRAL, INDEPENDENT, HUMANITARIAN ACTION (NIHA). ICRC Culture – barrier to implementation of new strategic direction? THE HUMANITARIAN SECTOR (external environmental change)

World witness massive increase of both natural and man-made disasters Globalisation and terrorism
2003 – 200 million – natural disaster; 45 million – complex emergency ie. Civil war End of Cold War – leads to more intractable type of war
Greater political instability – weak governance
Armed conflicts – active and deliberate targeting of civilians, widespread human rights abuses & use of crimes of violence as weapons of wars Humanitarian – politicised
Securing funds –more difficult; net aids from DAC fallen sharply UN – An Agenda of Peace, no universal criteria for military humanitarian interventation Peace-keeping operations; UN impartiality?
UN agencies –centralised decision making; ICRC – start in the field Armed conflict –danger, unpredictable, precipitous change, hardship, chaos – stress and burnout – PERFORMANCE – Survival & Integrity of Individuals and group of people; employee survival, keeping life and limbs. – High turnover of expatriates & limits staff experience and inst. Memory. Humanitarian ops – less about crisis and emergency BUT more of rehabilitation & development to build local competencies

INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS & RED CRESCENT (IRCRC)
IRCRC – largest humanitarian network in the world
Orgn – IRC ie ICRC, IFRC & over 180 National Societies or NS 3 entities bounded by common heritage & commitment to 7 Fundamental Principles i.e. humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity & universality independent but often work with partners

IFRC – focuses on natural or technological disasters; support public sector, work with NS ICRC – guardian of Red Cross Principles & of International Humanitarian Law, recognition provider to NS,...
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