The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is one of the most prominent and recognized organizations in the world. It is a humanitarian movement boasting overs 97 million volunteers, staff and members worldwide. The organization was founded on three main reasons that form its objectives and mission in its operations. Namely:
- To protect human life and health
- To ensure respect for all human beings
- To prevent and alleviate human suffering
The following is an analysis of the organizational culture of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This analysis will employ the use of the typologies of culture to fit our understanding of the organization’s culture into a theoretical construct and this will be a way for us to label what we observe.
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Value
Individualism vs. Collectivism
While individualism points to a preferred state of the society where every individual is expected to take care of themselves and their immediate family, collectivism points to a much more closely interwoven society where society is expected to take care of each other with the ultimate reward and payback being an unquestionable loyalty (Schein, 2010). This concept addresses the manner and level to which human interdependence is tolerated within a society.
Collectivism is the fundamental building block and material of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This is because the objectives, mission and vision of the movement if to ensure respect for all human beings, while protecting human life and health through preventing and alleviating human suffering. In essence, the movement embodies collectivism in every aspects of its operations. (Borda, 2010)
Large vs. Small Power Distance
Power distance explains the degree to which disparities in power distributions is tolerated by society. This describes and determines the behaviour and character of the more and less powerful within a society (Vinken, Soesters, & Ester, 2004). The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement favours a small power distance where the less and more powerful individuals in the society are accorded the same treatment and respect. This is essence describes how the organization believes that inequalities in the society should be handled.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aim to ensure that all human beings are respected regardless of racial background, nationality or sex. The movement achieves this goal through its operations in the marginalized communities in the world.
Masculinity vs. Femininity
While masculinity represents a society where assertiveness, material success, heroism and achievement are preferred, femininity represents modesty, relationships, quality of life and caring for the weak (Schein, 2010) (Borda, 2010). The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement embodies femininity in every aspect of the organization’s existence, operations, mission and vision.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aim to foster a society where modesty is the fundamental drive towards societal behaviour. The organization’s operations are founded on the basic belief that all human beings are naturally good and can come to the aid of the weak and needy to alleviate their pain and suffering. This is what the movement believes will foster the kind of relationships required to ensure that the quality of life in the world is improved.
Long v. Short Term Orientation
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is in every sense seen to be fostering short term orientation in its perceived ideal society. This is because a short term oriented society aims to achieve perseverance and persistence, observing order by instituting a sense of shame and order relationships by status. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement believes that this perception of an ideal society is far much better as compared to a long term oriented society where protecting face and personal steadiness are the virtues that define the society. (Borda, 2010)
Borda, A. Z. (2010). International humanitarian law and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. London: Routledge.
Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Vinken, H., Soesters, J., & Ester, P. (2004). Comparing cultures: Dimensions of culture in a comparative perspective. Leiden: Brill.