Case Study

Governance challenge at an international humanitarian organization: The case of the IFRC

11 pages
March 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1589

The case illustrates an aspect of board work that is seldom witnessed: a board’s self-reflection exercise and the subsequent recognition that its governance practices need to be transformed. It also offers a great opportunity to engage in discussion about major theoretical issues, such as the debate about the effectiveness and positive impact of independent directors vis-à-vis shareholder/stakeholder board representation. At the practical level, the case opens a window on the efforts of progressive boards in building and establishing processes conducive to sound governance practices. The case provides a platform for organizations considering the transformation of their governance practices and is relevant to both non-profit and for-profit organizations. It encourages reflection about governance whatever the nature of the organization and thus illustrates the applicability of principles of corporate governance to non-profit/humanitarian organizations. The lessons drawn from this case- should also appeal to private companies since they highlight the challenges and opportunities that governance transformation presents. Some elements of the case have been disguised for reasons of confidentiality.

Learning Objective

The main objectives of the case are to observe the role of progressive boards, the transformation of governance practices, the organizational mechanisms and processes conductive to sound governance, and the “universal” applicability of corporate governance models.

Transformation, Board Role, Board Director, Humanitarian Organization
World/global, Switzerland
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Field Research
© 2015
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