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Every organization has its own unique culture or value set. Most organizations do not consciously try to create a certain culture. The culture of the organization is typically created unconsciously, based on the values of top management or founders of the organization. The American Red Cross (ARC) is a prime example of an organization that takes into account the behaviors, habits, and rules that groups of people use when interacting with each other. This paper will assess the corporate culture of the ARC from their mission and vision to the selection criteria for hiring new employees.

The mission of the ARC is to “[provide] relief to victims of disasters and [help] people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies” (http://www. redcross. org). According to its website, the ARC is built on a foundation of diversity-positive leadership. Throughout all its operations, the ARC is an inclusive organization fostering service to all Americans and international neighbors in need. There is overwhelming evidence that clearly indicates the ARC has a history of commitment and diversity. It uses peoples’ talents to help better meet the needs of the communities it serves.

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Diversity is important in order to create a learning experience. The workplace of ARC employees and volunteers can vary from an office environment to a field in ruins after unpredictable disasters. The office environment of ARC is very similar to any office atmosphere. What sets it apart, however, is the discipline and rules individuals are required to follow. As Bower (2003) indicates, “a business of high principle attracts high-caliber people more easily. ” Since a lot of the work performed by the ARC involves handling human blood, employees are required to follow strict rules in human hygiene.

There is also an expected dress code for employees of ARC, which includes the visibility of nametags. Rules and regulations are necessary to promote a clean workspace and organized environment. One goal of the ARC is to make every employee feel like they are a part of a balanced team and a part of the organization. To reach this goal, the ARC uses slogans to help promote harmony. According to the website of the Northwest Florida chapter (ARC of Northwest Florida, 2003), “every organization needs a slogan or fundamental rules. ” There are many slogans used by the ARC.

Most of these are a striving attempt to bring people together in order to lend a hand to their peers in stressful situations. These are some of the slogans used: Such slogans tend to energize people to give their blood, help others in need, and volunteer their time and effort to be of assistance to the needy. Slogans promote good in people and encourage volunteers and employees to work together as a team towards one main cause – to save lives. Slogans are used to promote good will, but nothing can take the place of instilling company ethics into its employees during training.

According to the ARC website (ARC Benefits, 2004), “employees are encouraged to take advantage of the many training opportunities available to help them to reach their career and educational goals. ” As a result, each department within the organization is provided with a budget designated specifically for training employees. A training department has been established specifically to provide intense training programs for every employee in areas such as communication, project and people management, as well as conflict resolution.

In addition to these areas, the ARC also offers training to their employees and volunteers on many different health and safety procedures. Through this training, employees and volunteers gain the qualifications necessary to educate millions of people annually within the community and other organizations on first aid, CPR, and other emergency medical procedures. The American Red Cross offers many benefits to motivate its employees. According to research, “motivation represents the forces within a person that affect the direction, intensity, and persistence of his or her voluntary behavior” (McShane and Von Glinow, 2002, p33).

The greatest reward for employees and volunteers comes from the incredible feeling of self-worth brought about by helping those in their time of need; they become status symbols of the community, which only further motivates them. Organizational care is a “deep structure” (Denison, 1996) of values and systematized principles centered on fulfilling employees’ needs (McAllister, 2002). Employees are motivated because their efforts are appreciated. Individuals are shown that they are valuable assets to the organization. Since the ARC was founded in 1881, there have been many instances of heroism.

Employees and volunteers have assisted survivors of such notable events as the sinking of the Titanic, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In addition, the ARC played a major role in providing aid during World War I and II, as well as the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf wars. During these events, thousands of volunteers dedicated their lives to helping the wounded. In many cases, these volunteers put their own lives in danger and occasionally lost their lives while helping others.

The American Red Cross is able to distribute assistance to the public because of generosity demonstrated by the American people. Americans offer able bodies and unneeded goods to those in time of need. We assume the ARC measures their efforts in several ways, one of which being the response time of each local chapter to an incident. “The nearly 1,300 Red Cross chapters across the country are required to respond with services to an incident within two hours of being notified. ” (ARC System & Procedures, 2004).

Due to the common goals amongst each of these local chapters and the organization as a whole, if these requirements are not met, some type of reform to better the process is probably executed. The ARC does not just pride itself in helping people after disaster strikes, its pride also comes from helping individuals, families, communities, and organizations to be better prepared ahead of time for such circumstances. Another way leaders could measure effectiveness would be to analyze the percentage of donations versus overhead and fundraising costs.

The ARC was questioned about its action taken after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and now posts its financial statements for the world to view in order to show that it is not out for profitable gain. Its purpose is to provide an outlet of sharing between the members of our country. As we all know, the ARC was formed to help those in time of need due to critical incidents and crises. What we might not know is that there are occasional internal crises for the ARC. According to Scheller-Wolf and Jinxin (2003), the only way the ARC can get the most out of blood donations is to ensure proper timing for truck delivery routes.

There are many useful components within blood including plasma, platelets, and red blood cells. In order to have unspoiled specimens, the FDA identified only a small window exists between the time of extraction and when processing the components can begin. The ARC took this into consideration when they went to the lengths of determining the most beneficial truck route for each of its 36 Blood Service Divisions. The values of the ARC provide guidance for executing such specific actions.

One being humanitarianism, the ARC exists “to serve others in need, independently and without discrimination, providing relief for victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies” (ARC Benefits, 2004). According to the ARC website (ARC Employment, 2004), the ARC developed an approach to promote active participation within communities to help identify problems and implement solutions. This approach would provide the necessary resources and direct hands-on technical assistance to national societies, to develop business tools, and to improve upon procedures tailored to local need.

ARC chapters “lend their expertise to national societies in specific areas including volunteer and youth development, fundraising, income-generation projects, and governance development. ” The ARC has set a goal that by 2008 every household in America will be involved with the Red Cross as volunteers, employees, blood donors, financial donors, customers and/or suppliers. The organization selects and replaces its employees through paid and non-paid intern positions. Criteria set forth require that prospective volunteers or employees be computer literate, understand Microsoft Office, and have some knowledge of biomedical services.

This empowers each individual to lend the helping hand that the ARC strives to provide. In conclusion, a fine-tuned corporate culture is vital to success. The American Red Cross has set the stage for other organizations to emulate. From its mission of providing relief for disaster victims to its hopes of getting every household involved in the ARC, this union of people makes a bold statement of how it uses corporate culture to bring people together as one in order to assist those in need.

Now is the time to thank those who have made it their life’s dedication to provide a resource when needed without regard to personal satisfaction. The 9-11 tragedy is a striking resemblance of the dedication of the American Red Cross and it exemplifies how hard the ARC works to help people. Based on its record of helping people in time of need, the American Red Cross is recognized as the best humanitarian organization in the world.


American Red Cross Benefits (2004). Electronically retrieved June 5, 2004, from The American Red Cross web-site at http://www.redcross. org/general/0,1082,0_151_,00. html. American Red Cross of Northwest Florida, Volunteer Handbook, Revised August (2003).

American Red Cross System and Procedures (2004). Electronically retrieved June 5, 2004, from The American Red Cross web-site at http://www. redcross. org/faq/0,1096,0_378,00. html. American Red Cross Employment (2004). Electronically retrieved June 5, 2004, from The American Red Cross web-site at http://www. redcross. org/faq/0,1096,0_315_,00. html.

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Kylie Garcia

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