The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

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The ICRC is a self-employed, neutral organization that offers humanitarian protection and aid to victims of armed conflict and other violence (ICRC, 2017c, para. 1). It responds to different crises worldwide and has an important role in upholding international humanitarian law. The roots of its work lie in the Geneva Convention of 1949. Its mission is to provide support and protection of the lives and dignity of the people affected by violence and military conflict (ICRC, 2017b, para.2). The first reason why I chose ICRC is that it has a compelling purpose: to promote the dignity and well-being of people living in armed-conflict regions. The ICRC offers protection to civilians living in these areas and assists in the form of emergency aid and health services. In this respect, the organization has had a massive impact in these regions. For the year 2016, it organized visits to 987,200 detainees, offered aid in the form of support to 33.8 Million people worldwide, and supported 441 hospitals (ICRC Annual Report, 2016, p.80-81). The organization can connect people in these conflicts affected areas and offer them protection, assistance, and give them a hope in life (Forsythe, 1996).
Secondly, I chose the ICRC because it is a non-governmental organization. Being a non-governmental organization enables them to maintain impartiality and be independent in its operations, (Curtis, 2001). The humanitarian assistance that is provided as service to the people has a great influence by a politician. For example, humanitarian activity in Afghanistan is under the influence of western countries political ideologies rather than being guided by the actual conditions on the ground. Most importantly, principles such as independence, neutrality, and impartiality govern the humanitarian action. As a non-governmental organization, the ICRC can steer away from political pressure (Lambert, 2014). To steer away from political pressure, the organization should change its focus to its mandate. Also, its mandate to help the victims of armed conflict is rooted in international law, as agreed in the Geneva Convention. Therefore, the ICRC can follow the guidelines of neutrality, independence, and impartiality in its global operations.
Thirdly, I chose ICRC because it allows ordinary citizens all over the world to leave a legacy by contributing to a noble cause. Concerned individuals can remember the ICRC by making a will, that is, a contribution to its cause. Under this initiative, ordinary people can offer hope and love to victims of conflict and violence. It recognizes that a movement is needed, and it also works with other societies with a common goal. The movement communicates that humanity is a supreme principle and no person, should be denied this right. By working with various stakeholders, the company reaches the most desperate places worldwide. I am motivated to be a member of such a movement which provides help in the most hopeless of situations.
The ICRC was formed in February 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland (Forsythe & Rieffer-Flanagan, 2016). In the beginning, the primary purpose for the existence was to improve the care of the wounded soldiers during the war as well as providing medical services to the military. With time, the ICRC made several advancements. For example, during the First World War of 1914 to 1918, the ICRC opened a Central Prisoners of War Agency in Geneva (Forsythe & Rieffer-Flanagan, 2016). The purpose was to ensure that communication between captured soldiers and their families remained open, (Maurer, 2016). Additionally, the era was marked by the introduction of several ambulances with volunteers who were able to extend their services to the battlefields.
After the First World War, the formation of the League of Red Cross Societies took place in 1919 to coordinate and support the activities of the ICRC. In 1929, the association started to provide more protection to the prisoners of war (Forsythe & Rieffer-Flanagan, 2016). During the Second World War, the ICRC worked jointly with the league to provide relief supplies through shipping across the globe to reach both civilians and prisoners of war (ICRC, 2010b). When the strife was over, the organization settled on helping the families find their loved ones.
From 1945 henceforth, the ICRC has been continually appealing to the international governments to reinforce their humanitarian laws as well as abide by it (Walker & Maxwell, 2014). Hence, it has been dealing with the conflicts revolving around the charitable aspects. To date, the association actively takes part in the internal and international conflicts and natural calamities like disasters.
Organizational Analysis
Since its formation, the ICRC has been dedicated to shielding and providing aid who suffer from armed conflicts and other brutal situations (ICRC, 2009). Over time, the mission has transformed to provide humanitarian services by upholding the lives and dignities of armed conflict and other casualties of fierceness. The structure of the ICRC at the formation year in 1963 was comprised of a committee of five individuals headed by Henry Dunant. Notably, the team was known as Geneva families, investigatory commission, and Geneva Society for Public Welfare (ICRC, 2010b). The membership gradually advanced to representatives of the official delegates from the International Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and foreign officials. Currently, the configuration entails an assembly with 25 co-opted members with Swiss nationality, assembly council with delegated powers, and the directorate where executives are found (ICRC, 2014a).
The management consists of the assembly (committee) that defines the aims, strategies, and guidelines for overseeing financial matters (ICRC, 2017a). In a departure from the past when only Genevan members sat on the committee, the other Red Cross actors now have equal chances to take part in the commission (ICRC, 2010c). Additionally, the delegates and integrated partnership have been actively managing the Red Cross activities in the entire 80 operating countries, and thus expanding beyond the original scope of Swiss-centered administration (ICRC, 2009).
Structure of the Organization and the Summary of the Leadership Framework
The Assembly
The organization has five governing bodies (ICRC, 2017a). The assembly, for instance, is the supreme administrator that is overseeing all the ICRC_x0092_s activities. It formulates policies, defines general objectives, and approves the budgets and accounts. The assembly also appoints the key management officials such as the directors, director general, and the head of internal audit.
Assembly Council and the Office of the President
The assembly council is the subsidiary body of ICRC that prepares the activities of the assembly while taking decisions on matters of strategic financial and human resources, management concerns, and communications (ICRC, 2017a). Likewise, the office of the president maintains the external relations, ensuring that there is a smooth running of the organization. Additionally, agency carries out ICRC humanitarian diplomacy.
The Directorate and Internal Audit Unit
Being an executive body, the Directorate is in charge of implementation and overseeing the institutional strategies of attaining the general objectives as proposed by the assembly and the council (ICRC, 2017b). Also, the officials are in charge of managing the ICRC’s staff and the overall smooth running of the establishment. The internal audit, on the other hand, monitors, assess the efficiency and the performance of the ICRC.
Overall, the ICRC’s leadership framework has the topmost board that assembles with the president and the vice president. Both offices jointly make decisions as well as fostering effectiveness of the operation of the entire organization (ICRC, 2017d). With the input from the assembly council and internal audit leaders, the organization can strategize on various matters and better management. The directorate department, headed by the Director-General ensures that the staff is running well. It also ensures that it implants strategies of achieving set goals (ICRC, 2017d). Notably, the department obtains assistance from various sections such as the human resources, financial resources, and logistics, operations, international law, and policy, as well as the communication and information management.
Procedures for Strategic Planning
Strategic Management and Performance
ICRC takes Career development seriously if thorough training is something to go by. Moreover, health security has been key to ensure that personel within the organization operate within safe environment. ICRC has gone beyond to provide job security for its officials to ensure that the employees have the required motivation to work. According to human resource management principles, ICRC can be said to have been operating within the required standards (ICRC, 2012). It is also worth noting that ICRC_x0092_s decision making process is based on performance information. The performance information is collected overtime following constant monitoring and reporting. Equally important, the governing bodies of ICRC ensure that it is informed when it comes to decision making, strategic planning, and general objectives.This ensures that ICRC_x0092_s strategy is aligned to its mission.
Clear Mandate, Strategy, and Plans Effectively Implemented
When formulating strategies, ICRC considers a number of things that include skills, competencies, and budget at their disposal. Strategies employed by ICRC differ from one country to another depending on the objectives of the programs being implemented. On an annual basis, a report is prepared detailing various indicators emanating from ICRC_x0092_s plans of actions. ICRC aligns its strategic plan to its mission of addressing the humanitarian needs (Vincent, 2011). This aspect has been clearly shown by the 2011-2014 strategic plan. The annual headquarter_x0092_s appeal document indicates a list of objectives that inform ICRC_x0092_s strategic planning. The strategic orientations have been categorized into four: response, expertise, coordination, and partnership (ICRC, 2012).
Governing Body Effective in Guiding Management
Before approving the objectives and budget, ICRC has to oversee the field activities and the operations at the headquarters (ICRC, 2017e). As a matter of fact, the governing bodies have to inform and direct ICRC on the institutional strategy, policy, general objectives, and decisions.
Partnership Behavior
The relationship between ICRC and its partners stems from the technical legal advice that ICRC offers. This collaboration promotes the implementation of domestic legislation and accession to treaties. The partners may be regional or international organizations such as National Societies, international NGOs, commonwealth, and the UN system. The collaboration between ICRC and partners has been effective due to the good networking environment and the resourcefulness of ICRC on international humanitarian law. Concisely, the relationship can be termed as strong and efficient.
Outside Organizations that ICRC has Established Relationship with
Being an institution that extends the relief services to the victims of warfare and natural disasters, the ICRC has been intermingling with other organizations to reach out to those in distress and offer critical support in line with the organization’s mandate (Flaherty, 2017). For instance, the organization collaborated with the UN to deliver relief foods and other assistance after the Second World War. Also, since 1994, the ICRC has been engaging the UN to enable it to take part in the international debates and accessing deliberation and negotiation with the international organizations. (Standoz, 1998)
Additionally, the ICRC works together with the United Nations Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHR) to develop and implement the first AID training programs to in the entire areas of operation (Parliamentary Assembly, 2002). Further, the association works closely with research institutions and the private sector to monitor the trends of humanitarian assistance including methodologies, funding, and standard intervention procedures used in dealing with crises.
Focusing on the Legal Policy Issues Related to the ICRC_x0092_s Mission
In the meeting with other humanitarian institutions, the ICRC has been cautious to commission experts who deliberate on the agendas of the association (ICRC, 2014b). The action rewards by increasing the effectiveness and impartiality of the operation. The assembly is the body in charge of the definition and implementation of the strategic plans. The body has the mandate of running every activity of the organization. Notably, the role of planning in the international organization is that it enables such institutions to have the procedures of exploring activities to realize the goals (ICRC, 2014b). Similarly, the merits apply to the domestic establishments.
How ICRC Follows the Result-Based Model
The ICRC proceeds to define the objectives with the action plan as well as the indicators needed to tackle the goals (ICRC, 2014a). In this process, the target population and the list of activities based on the program define the level of organizing aims and plans of actions. Also, the annual report provides descriptive, quantitative and financial information. The results-based management model assists the international organizations to operate in multiple countries since it allows them to coordinate activities with all the actors in different countries (ICRC, 2016). Likewise, the methodology gives more insight on a proper understanding of the target group as well as boosting both internal and external interaction.
Strategy for Transformational Change
Creating Awareness for Change.
Creating awareness is the first stage for initiating transformational change in any organization. Research shows that being aware of knowledge structures improves collaborative knowledge solving (Engelmann, Kozlov, Kolodziej & Clariana, 2014). Therefore, new management should focus on imaginative and interactive ways to communicate critical aspects of its functions. Through such, the organization will secure broader support for ICRC action. The scope of ICRC intervention requires that it responds to a challenging environment that is rapidly changing at national, regional and international levels (Standoz, 1998). Awareness, therefore, will enable strengthening and expanding processes and seizing opportunities for effective action.
Prepare and Plan for Change Required
ICRC should invest in new technologies in order toensure that it remains relevant to the evolving needs. ICRC Assemble (2017) assert the need for ICRC to adapt and to changing humanitarian challenges. They propose that organizational capacity should be strengthened if ICRC is to remain relevant. Moran & Brightman (2000) argue that leaders should engage the _x0093_TRY_x0094_ model in order to align behavior with change. There is need for preparation for change to ensure that all structures within the organization work together seamlessly. This calls for a continous review of processes and accountability in leadership.
Implement the Change
Over the years, ICRC has been preparing reports frequently in order to make sure that management is kept abreast of the developments. This ensures that the management can monitor the operations in a bid to ensure that the organization is progressing. It is therefore imperative that the organization understands the critical role that the staff undertakes (ICRC, 2017b). Cummings & Worley (2013) assert that in an organization, change involves a process of unfreezing, moving and refreezing. This means that the only way for an organization to initiate change is by executing the laid down plans which involves the contribution of all players.
Alignment of Strategy and Organizational Goals
Uniquely, the implementation of a strategic document has an equal weight if not more than formulation of the document. This means that the formulation of the strategy should ensure that the strategy is in line with the mission of the organization. The objectives of the organization can only be achieved if the formulation process addresses the aspirations of the organization. It is therefore important that all stakeholders are consulted in the formulation stage. It is only in such a case that change can be experienced following the implementation of the strategy document (ICRC, 2009).
The System Used for Evaluation of the Performance
Transparency and Accountability
ICRC being registered in Switzerland means that it has to operate within the prevailing laws. It therefore has to meet the standards set for budget management systems (ICRC, 2017f). There are also financial and legal provisions that need to be addressed. In addition, donors may request for particular information from ICRC which is availed provided that relevant protection have been set (ICRC, 2012, p.16). Lack of flexible budgets has been noticed to impede the ability plan for proper resource allocation. On the other hand, ICRC publishes annual reports detailing information on achievements or failures in the exercise of its manadate. The analysis ensures that ICRC operates within the strategic plan and that proper allocation of resources is done to ensure that ICRC_x0092_s mandate is implemented.
Routinely publishes comprehensive operational information, subject to justifiable confidentiality
To start with, ICRC_x0092_s external resources division hosts reports and other funding _x0096_related documents which are accessible by donors (ICRC, 2012). This site is password-protected to ensure that these documents are protected. Moreover, the donor activities are protected by the available extranet site. This indicates ICRC_x0092_s resolve to maintain high levels of information integrity and privacy.
In a bid to promote the principles of humanitarian law, ICRC created a department for communication and information in July 2010 (ICRC, 2014a). The tools for nformation and communication are designed to disseminate information in line with ICRC_x0092_s mission and mandate.
In addition, the openness portrayed by ICRC_x0092_s transparent publications contain a lot of information about ICRC_x0092_s engagements. This is compounded by ICRC_x0092_s respect for confidentiality which enables it to carry on its manadate (ICRC, 2012). On an annual basis, ICRC publishes reports that are specific to particular countries in order to ensure openness. Whenever donors demand for sensitive information, ICRC puts measures to ensure that information shared is protected. This process ensures that relevant legal provisions are followed. This assurance anables ICRC to build trust, and ensure communication in order to influence change.
Is transparent in resource allocation, budget management, and operational planning
In order to meet the changing needs, ICRC has to maintain a high degree of flexibility in project management. Standoz (1998) notes the increasing concern of donors for ICRC to tighter budgets. Moreover, the donors have been keen on reporting. However, ICRC advances the need to maintain flexibility in project management regardless of the increasing concerns.
The inherent rapid response nature of ICRC demands that funding of ICRC remains flexible. The 2010 annual report underscored this importance stating the need for a flexible funding policy based on the fact that the implementation of programs by ICRC is need-based and therefore, resource allocation should be predictable.
Adheres to high standards of financial management, audit, risk management and fraud prevention.
Firstly, ICRC is audited by donors. This means that it has to uphold high standards of accounting because their funding depends on the perception of proper accounting of resources. In addition, auditors are changed after every five years. This turnover of auditors ensures the process is not compromised by staff. All these precautions are set to ensure that strict compliance of auditing is followed. This means that both internal and external auditing is conducted according to Swiss laws (ICRC, 2012 p.3).
ICRC_x0092_s Present-Day Organizational Structure
Initially, volunteers controlled the operations of ICRC. However, due to the expanding portfolio, the need for dedicated and fulltime employees arose (Forseythe et al., 2016). Currently, ICRC has employed staff at national levels in countries where they are in operation. The assembly of council comprises of five assembly members who meets up around ten times in one year. These meetings provide a forum to address urgent issues. The head of the council runs for four years and is elected by the assembly. In addition, members of the assembly have to be conversant in English, French or German. The assembly post has a tenure of four years which lapses after another election. Over the years, Swiss has been notably dominant in the assembly. This can be attributed to the fact that Swiss has been very instrumental in supporting the ICRC to carry out its mandate. The professionalism with which Swiss has engaged in ICRC has increased faith in Swiss operatives.
The structure of the International Committee of Red Cross can be categorized into three divisions: the directorate, the assembly, and the staff. ICRC was created in 1863 to provide humanitarian support to people inwar zone areas and those facing natural disasters.The operations of ICRC is not limited to particular countries but it has a global presence. The director-general heads the directorate. He serves as the chief executive officer. The function of the directorate is to carryout the daily chores of the organization. There are five departments that are headed by directors who report to the director-general. These departments comprises of operations, human resource, communication and information management, international law and cooperation, and financial resources and logistics. The candidates for directorate posts are vetted by the assembly. The term of service is usually four years.
The operating environment of ICRC depends on perception that stakeholders have on it. The impact of stakeholders cannot be overlooked because ICRC depends on donor funding to carryout its functions. The nature of its mandate demand transparent and accountable operations. ICRC ensures this by having frequent reportrs and publications that indicate the organization_x0092_s undertakings and achievements. Over the years, ICRC has seen various changes in structure aimed at achieving its goals. There is need for ICRC to maintain high standards in its strategic planning in order to gain trust among stakeholders. ICRC has achieved trust among stakeholders due to the high confidentiality levels it has accorded to private information. The mandate of ICRC solely depends on this factor of confidentiality because it is in line to the organization_x0092_s mission. In addition, budgeting and overall financial and operational planning is core to ICRC_x0092_s operations because donors demand auditing of funds that have been advanced. It therefore falls on the management to ensure proper accounting in order to prevent fraud (ICRC, 2017f). In a nutshell, ICRC should ensure that the organizational structure is fit to achieve the goals of the organization.
ICRC_x0092_s Current Mission
Dahlgren et al. (2009) argue that the fact that ICRC has engaged in low key engagements, it has successfully states of interest. ICRC has avoided to use public pressure to coerce international humanitarian law onto governments. In doing this, ICRC has managed to improve the living conditions of prisoners of war and to free captives of war. This achievement can be attributed to the manner that ICRC has conducted its operations as a purely neutral body.
The work of ICRCinvolves responding to emergencies. The respect that beholds ICRC in matters of international law ensures that the same respect translates to the national level. Stibbe (2006) contend that the people who are involved with ICRC in addressing humanitarian needs within conflict zones should observe neutrality. This ensures that the mission of the organization is followed and that the lives of people within the affected areas are protected. Moreover, Hafner-Button (2009) argues that wrong interpretation of historical disagreement may negativel;y affect the intervention process.
Challenges Facing the Organization and Factors Tied to them
Forsythe (1996) contends that in some areas where ICRC has been in operation, the assailants have still pursued the victims. This poses a challenge in various parts around the world. In this vein, the staff and other partners are exposed to danger. This may reduce the productivity of the affected staff thereby impeding on the accomplishment of the organization_x0092_s mandate.
Secondly, there has been overexpectations around many parts of the world. This has resulted from the fact that ICRC has had a reputation of achieving many of its past objectives. The logistical challenges may however change from one place to the other. For example, a region with a conflict involving arms may have a difference in terms of logistics with an arm-free zone. Bugnion (2004) assert that in such areas, ICRC may face logistical problems in a bid to alleviate the suffering among the people in the armed conflict zone.
In addition, there has been a perception that ICRC may be involved in exposing perpetrators of violence (ICRC,2017g). This perception creates a challenge because people of influence within conflict zones may fear to relate with any form of legal approach notwithstanding international humanitarian law. Convinving perpetrators of violence that ICRC is a neutral body remains to be a hurdle.
Potential Areas of Transformational Change in the Organization
With the advent of technology, more work within ICRC can be computerized. This would reduce the number of employess significantly. Tools and instruments for data collection have improved following the improvements in information communication and technology (ICT). In addition, studies have shown that ICT have a positive impact on productivity of workers.
The world is dynamic and so should the strategies within the organizations. Evolving humanitarian needs have increased the need for ICRC to collaborate with other bodies such as the Wrold Health Organization. The duties of an organization may be overlapped due to the growing multi-faceted sectors. Indeed, the need to collaborate comes up but caution should be taken not to divert from the mission of the organization. Moreover, the organization should avoid taking partisan approach when the need arises to collaborate with other organizations.
ICRC contributes to the Millennium Development Goals indirectly through its programs of assistance to individuals and communities. It also manages health programs, which target vulnerable areas and individuals, particularly women and girls, (ICRC, 2012). ICRC implements results-based management through all its programs, although not in a standard way, (ICRC, 2012). Standard reporting already provides common outcome indicators, but ICRC is strengthening its results-based monitoring and reporting by moving from a narrative reporting approach to one based more specifically on documented evidence of results. (ICRC, 2017h) ICRC is introducing measures to collect higher level indicators, which should improve its capacity to report on organization-wide results. ICRC works efficiently in many low-income countries and among communities most affected by poverty and the consequences of conflict. It has developed a strong tracking record of effectively targeting people in need and delivering efficient operations in these contexts, (ICRC, 2010a)
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