An organization is a body that is formed to provide services or products in a society. Companies, government institutions, NGO are some of the organizations in our societies. Globalization has enabled organizations to expand their interest in various regions around the world. Whenever an organization ventures into a new region, it must be ready to deal with ethical and social issues that arise due to changes in culture and values. Occasionally, organizations such as Red Cross and other global NGOs expand their activities into other countries to offer humanitarian aid and attend to ethical and social issues (Jones, 2013). Sometimes, ethical and social issues come up when these organizations initiate projects in a new society. In this paper, cultural issues that affect Red Cross outside the US are analyzed. Through this, the paper will expound the ethical and social accountability concerns tackled by Red Cross as a global organization.
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Unlike any other nonprofit organization, Red Cross is the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States that has played a huge role in helping the victims of natural disasters and human conflicts for over a century (Jones, 2013). Henry Dunant formed the organization. Ever since its formation, Red Cross has championed for the formation civilian reprieve corps to act in response to human suffering in areas of conflict. Similarly, the organization has championed for the war rules to be amended to set restrictions on how warfare is undertaken. A major issue that affects Red Cross interactions outside the US is the cultural tensions (Jones, 2013). Cultural tensions are wrangles that occur in an organization or society because of differences in cultures. Outside the United States, Red Cross employees comprise of volunteers from all over the world.
For instance, an Afghanistan can lead a Red Cross federation in his country. In the same federation, there could be a South African relief monitor, a Chinese finance officer, a British organizational development bureaucrat, and a health team with members from Egypt, Switzerland, Russia, and Japan (Jones, 2013). The above scenario depicts the profile of the Red Cross in a number of conflict prone areas. With such situation, diversity within the volunteers has acted as a catalyst for shifting views resulting in dissimilarities that have led to cultural tensions. Often, intense arguments take place among the diverse volunteers. Differences and quarrels arise from diverse cultural norms that have an effect on their views and communications.
To end social issues, the organization should address cultural barriers among its employees. Equally, the organization’s employees must be ready to tolerate and be open to host countries cultures and values. It has been suggested that Red Cross should employ their staff from the host countries if they want to effectively tackle the social issues they encounter in these regions. By employing the natives, the organization will not be faced with cultural tensions because the employees would understand each other better and will interact with those in need with ease. The above approach is ideal. However, in some host countries, it will be a challenge to get some technical staff with appropriate skills and knowledge in certain positions. In such circumstances, committed volunteers from various countries would be of help. When the organization utilizes diverse workforce, it must make the best out of their diverse skills. The staff should first be trained on cross-cultural issues. Through this, the workforce will acknowledge their diversity.
Other than cultural issues, the ethical issue also affects the organization during its operations outside the United States. Owing to the fact that Red Cross symbolizes global interdependency, their managers and employees’ actions must be ethical. One major ethical issue that has affected the organization’s actions outside the United States is misuse of funds. More often, the organization has been accused of misappropriating the funds meant for disaster victims. For instance, in the year 2010 the organization was accused of misappropriating millions of dollars of donated funds meant for the Haiti earthquake victims (Jones, 2013).
Owing to the above allegations, protests were held in more than ten cities in the US. During the demonstrations, the protesters accused Red Cross as a profit oriented organization. The protesters pointed out that the organization’s employees were spending millions of donated funds in luxury hotels and travelling using private jets at the expense of more than a million starving individuals in Haiti. At the time of the demonstrations, a number of media houses accused the organization for being hypocrite and dishonest. Based on these allegations, it can be argued that the biggest ethical issue facing the global organization is the misuse of funds intended for disaster victims.
To end the above ethical issues, Red Cross should use their code of ethics to institutionalize ethics within their organization. The code of ethics should illustrate a broad value system of an organization, describe the organization’s principles, and detail guidelines for decision making that are in accordance with these principles. Equally, all Red Cross managers outside the United States should ensure that the code of ethics is implemented and adhered to at all time.
The above ethical perspectives can be compared across different cultures the organization operates. Usually, a host country’s culture determines how the funds are to be utilized in assisting the victims of disasters (Cook, 2010). As such, some cultures dictate that money be used in mitigating the effects of disasters. Other cultures dictate that money be used in ending the miseries of the disaster victims. Similarly, different cultures determine the amount of money to be spent on aid. In developed countries, a large percentage of aid is usually spent on mitigating future related catastrophes.
On the other hand, a larger percentage in of aid in developing countries is usually spent on tackling the immediate challenges facing the victims such as providing shelter, medication, clothing, and food. Through this, a little percentage of the aid is left back to address the core causes of the disaster. Owing to this difference in how money is spent, nonprofit organizations are usually accused of misappropriating the donor funds when the funds are not used in accordance with the victims’ expectations (Cook, 2010).
With regard to the above illustrations, it is very essential for Red Cross to tackle the issues based on cultural context of the host country. Understanding cultural differences in the host countries is very important for Red Cross managers in foreign countries for them to perform effectively. In the past, effective cross-cultural training for managers has been a challenging task demonstrating the need to adapt and understand automatic and schema-based components of perceptions and behaviors specific to particular institutions and organizations (Cook, 2010).. Knowing how the victims or the host employees perceives communication, vision, risk taking and charisma is key when a Red Cross leader is developing his leadership techniques for a culture that is not his own.
Cook, P. J. (2010). Problem analysis and ethical dilemmas. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions. Web.
Jones, M. M. (2013). The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Web.