Disaster response organizations like the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) act as choreographers in a huge show involving countless characters (government, media, NGOs, donor National Societies, affected communities) and materials (food, clothing, medicine, trucks, tents, blankets). When done well, the right aid gets to the right people at the right time. When done poorly, confusion and chaos prevail. During 1998’s Hurricane Mitch, the worst to hit the Gulf of Mexico in 200 years, the latter seems to have won out. Unsatisfied by IFRC’s response, its customers (donor National Societies) demanded action. In this recent case, Professors Van Wassenhove, Kumar, and Becerra-Fernandez, along with Ramina Samii, take us through the group’s post-Mitch self evaluation and its ensuing restructuring process, drawing parallels that can be applied to the business community.
Editor’s Note: see related case study on The Gujarat Earthquake at
Authors: Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Kuldeep Kumar, Luk N. Van Wassenhove, Ramina Samii
Subjects: Nonprofit, Organizational Behavior
Company: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent