• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : MGMT2030
  • University : Macquarie University
  • Subject Name : cross cultural management

Case Study Analysis: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Table of Contents


Identification of Stakeholder’s Problems, Goals, and Concerns



Problem identification

Analysis of alternative solutions

Solution 1



Solution 2







The report will discuss the cross-cultural communication faced by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Furthermore, according to the problems identified alternative solutions will be discussed for ICRC.

Identification of Stakeholder’s Problems, Goals, and Concerns


1. Clarifying the duties and responsibilities of every employee of ICRC.

2. Improved performance management system

3. Staff development by reinforcing their mobility across geographic locations.

4. Growing diversity.

5. Promoting women employment by appointing them top management positions.


The main concern while adapting these challenges and implementing goals was to preserve the culture and uphold the values of independent humanitarian action and neutrality. Furthermore, the organization mainly comprised of the Swiss generalists and now it's becoming an international organization, so there is a major concern of losing cultural values of Geneva. The HR team of the organization is also worried about the policies and standards to be established for achieving flexibility and coherence among all the operations.ICRC needs to prioritize individual interests and the needs of the organization for development.

Problem identification

ICRC is a humanitarian international group that had provided charitable relief during chief catastrophes which facilitated many people across the world (Shucksmith2017). For the past decade, the numbers of natural and man-made calamities are increasing, and this has increased the number of terrorist activities all around the world. The number of people who suffered from civil wars has not changed warfare significantly. The disengagement of the higher officials of different nations led to the appearance of the more obstinate Cold war. According to ICRC, humanitarian activities have been politicized(Shucksmith2017).

Over the years, these activities have been increasing and so are there objectives and demands. Furthermore, organizations that promote humanitarian like ICRC were evolving. Their vision was the same as ICRC to facilitate people who suffered the disasters and the wars. The military actors of the United Nations had a strong convict that humanitarian is necessary for achieving neutrality and impartiality in the country. There views and morals were such that they reinforced their strength and maintained their inimitableorganizational identity.

ICRC followed the bottom-up approach for starting in this work by identifying the needs of the local people. This made the organization to propose the hierarchy and work independently, not like other committees who were financially dependent on the UN government(Forsythe 2016).This sector demands the immediate response of the officials as the crises are continuous. ICRC was formed to reduce the sufferings of the civilians from the wars by providing them immediate medical services. The organization mainly reflected the Swiss values which are equality, consensus-seeking, and framework. In 1848, the federal constitution of Switzerland was introduced which gave the rights to the cantons for self-government formation to solve the local issues (Forsythe 2016).

Over time, ICRC was dominated by the Swiss-French ethos, but English was dominating in the public relations sector. However, French remained the priority of the headquarters and the top managers as it distinguished ICRC from the UN organizations.However, in recent times, people started considering ICRC to be “very Swiss” or “very Genevoise”. During the 1980s, the expansion of ICRC was not supported by the Swiss labor markets, so, the organization decided to open the emigrant positions for all nationalities Asia, Latin America, and Africa(Smithand Peterson 2017).

They were offered projects in Geneva which eased ICRC in retaining the staff for two years. Recruiting foreign staff improved the relations of the Swiss government with other nations. By implementing this strategy, the percentage of non-Swiss emigrants increased to 30 percent.This internationalization increased the number further to 57 percent in 2008(Shucksmith2017).

The newly appointed staffs was responsible for coordinating and managing the protection activities, management with the specialists, and looking after the integration of other activities. This entrenched values of neutrality, discretion, independence, and humanism in ICRC. Although the emigrants were from different nations, they worked with a shared objective to facilitate the civilians and promote neutrality. Still the problem was that 93 percent of people among the expatriates were the "westerners"(Forsythe 2016). However, this eliminated the cross-cultural communication problem in the organization. ICRC became a premium choice for the new graduates as the organization promoted fascinating and inspiring work, and also gave the rights to the workers for presenting their views and opinions.

The recruitment division of ICRC centralized the process to maintain homogeneity. Newly recruited expatriates were given four training by enhancing their general knowledge through educational visits to the museums, documents, war films, and conferences. After this intensive training, they were sent totackle the immediate challenges on the field.They were expected to apply the approaches of "striking the ground" and "getting knowledge by responsibility" but they were not able to meet the on-duty manager's expectations (Smithand

Peterson 2017).There were no career development opportunities for the emigrants. Furthermore, these appointed positions were changed yearly, so, there was no time for the development of employees and training of the new joiners. Along with this, the employees were not staying with the organizations for more than two or three years. This forced ICRC to decide on new management priorities and career strategies. So, the HR team established a new strategy of keeping “reserved staff” which comprised of “the delegates”.

This improved the problem of expatriates shortage by integrating the delegates with the professionals.Another issue was that the headquarters of ICRC was mainly male dominant. Despite the increase in hiring women emigrants, the hiring officials made sure that less number of women are hired. The gender equality policy of the Switzerland government facilitated to increase in women's employment rate by 40 per cent in 2006(Shucksmith2017).

Analysis of Alternative Solutions

Solution 1: ICRC should provide career development opportunities to all the employees eliminating the cross-cultural differences.


By providing career development opportunities employees will not leave the organization by serving for two or three years. This will improve professionalism in the organization. The cross-cultural difference of the Swiss-French ethos and the national emigrants will be solved. There will be equal opportunities for every emigrant to increase their knowledge. More civilians will support ICRC in helping the local people during the calamities. Promoting the experienced employees to the higher position will boost up their enthusiasm for serving ICRC.


Implementing this solution can raise the political bitterness between the governments of other nations and the Swiss government. They might think of attacking Geneva and defaming ICRC. Furthermore, if the older employees are not suitable for adapting the cultural differences, they might quit their jobs in ICRC.

Solution 2: Increase the number of women employed in the headquarters to promote the law of gender equality in the nation(Karwati 2018).


This will give equal opportunity to women for working. Employing women in the headquarters will remove male dominance. Furthermore, women will become more informed about their rights.


Male employees will not consider being under the team of a woman. They might consider it as injustice or disrespecting the male community. This can lead to strikes and even wars if the political leaders join hands with them.


The capacity to effectively encourage, improve and structure associations with individuals from various societies is known as cross-cultural communication. If words are utilized distinctively between dialects or social gatherings, in any case, even undivided attention can ignore false impressions. So, it's recommended that ICRC should educate the employees' everyone should be treated equally. The employees should be asked to use a common communication language "English" at their workplace. Neither French nor any other cultural language should be used.

Empowerment is an instrument that can get change the financial condition of women and their families. It has been realized that no general public can advance without the ladies slack behind. To accomplish strengthening ladies must have training about their privileges within a cutting edge society (Karwati 2018). For achieving this in ICRC, there should be equal rights for the woman to work as a senior officer. To achieve these women must have instruction about their privileges within an advanced society.Furthermore, the civilians will start respecting women and every woman out there will understand her rights.


The report discussed about the key challenges faced by the ICRC organisation. ICRC is a humanitarian international group which helps the civilians in case of any calamity. The organisation faced issues related to cross cultural communication as most of the employees were emigrants from other nations. Along with this, the emigrants use to resign as there were no career development opportunities for them in ICRC. In order to solve these issues the organisation improved the performance management system which also promoted women empowerment at the headquarters of ICRC.


Bird, A. and Mendenhall, M. E. 2016. From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation. Journal of World Business, 51(1), pp.115-126.

Forsythe, D. P. and Rieffer-Flanagan, B. A. 2016. The International Committee of the Red Cross: A neutral humanitarian actor. London: Routledge.

Karwati, L., Ansori, A. and Mulyono, D., 2018. Women Empowerment to Build Entrepreneurship. Journal of Nonformal Education, 4(2), pp.169-176.

Luo, Y. 2016. Toward a reverse adaptation view in cross-cultural management. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management.

Ramsey, J. R. and Lorenz, M. P. 2016. Exploring the impact of cross-cultural management education on cultural intelligence, student satisfaction, and commitment. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(1), pp.79-99.

Shucksmith, C. 2017. Building human security through humanitarian protection and assistance: the potential of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security.

Smith, P.B. and Peterson, M. F. 2017. Cross‐cultural leadership. The Blackwell Handbook of Cross‐Cultural Management, pp.217-235.

Sharma, P. and Varma, S.K., 2016. Women empowerment through entrepreneurial activities of Self Help Groups. Indian Research Journal of extension education, 8(1), pp.46-51.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Cross Cultural Management Case Study Assignment Help

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