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

‘We were an orgn made up of Swiss generalists. We are becoming a multicultural and professional enterprise.”
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

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