Good management is vital in any organization if it is to realize its set objectives. An ideal management system is characterized by good planning, organization, directing, staffing and controlling. If there is a failure in any of these components, an organization is bound to fail. This paper seeks to look at the managerial decisions of BP in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
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Problems experienced in the deepwater horizon oil spill
Most recently, the BP organization has come under public scrutiny citing the deepwater horizon oil spill which threatened its stability owing to the grievous problems it caused. Eleven workers lost their lives when the oil mines exploded on April 20 according to Frayer (2010). Another major problem that has been experienced in the wake of the BP oil spill is grievous environmental harm. The ecosystem suffered greatly from this oil spill and loads of dead marine life floated to the murky shores. The use of chemicals to cleanse the waters has caused more harm than good since more sea life continued to die (Adam, 2010).
Environmental pollution spread to Louisiana which is 42 miles away. Wetlands have been on the receiving edge as the oil seeps into the surroundings. Bird and marine nurseries were not spared either leading to humongous deaths. The beaches became uninhabitable as the devastation spread further and oil debris accounted for big losses in the tourism sector as tourists chose other destinations. This dented the economy and caused so much frustration that took people a lot of reassurances from the company and president Obama himself. Many fishermen were rendered jobless owing to the closure of the fishing areas and more so the fish were already dead. Oystercatchers were not spared and this led to unemployment as well as a decline in supply to the markets. The figures released show that 27 mammals, 491 birds and 227 turtles perished in this disaster (Adam, 2010).
Underlying issues causing the problems at the BP Company
The management and discipline problems at the BP Company were attributed heavily to the deepwater horizon oil spill. For instance, workers had pointed out the potential hazard but the management failed to give enough consideration to the risk. In addition to this, the BP management has been judged harshly for its failure to issue a sound decision once the disaster struck. The delegation has been a major issue with this company whereby workers have been confused about whose orders to obey. The workers interviewed expressed their distrust in the management which they owed to lack of expertise (Frayer, 2010).
Many of them were also quick to quip that they were not fully aware of their responsibilities and this led to incompetence and laxity. Another underlying problem was the company’s ignorance of the hazards that had been already highlighted by the workers. They had identified this well as a potential danger due to the fact that it had a lot of cement at the bottom. Various pressure tests were carried out on this well and came out negative but the company failed to take any action towards abandoning the site (pp. 2-7).
How these problems could be managed
The deepwater horizon oil spill problems could have been managed in a more professional way. The BP management should have taken responsibility early enough the instance they were warned about the potential hazard. The company also took its time to address the public concerns and this reflected badly on them. The management should have stopped downplaying this problem early enough and this way; the problems that emanated from it could not have seen the light of day. They should have taken the cue and admitted their mistakes through disclosure of the predicament. For Tony Hayward, the BP CEO to deny that it was their fault the well exploded was way out of line and ended up angering the masses (Caliendo, 2010).
Sensitivity would have been vital here since people lost lives and families were left without breadwinners. The BP oil company thus owed these families an apology instead of running around in circles when its workers were victims in this disaster. The CEO’s remarks came across as selfish and insensitive when he said, “We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused their lives. There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” This did little to console these families and thus made the country look bad. The BP Company needs to learn from its mistakes if the records are to go buy. In 1999, this company came under fire and was fined US$22 for improper disposal of its wastes. Fifteen people died in 2005 in North Alaska following an explosion from one of its refineries in the area. These further portray poor management and the administration needs to improve on its public image (3-5).
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Corporate Responsibility Theory
For any business to prosper, it must gain public trust which is brought about by credibility through its ethics. Corporate responsibility revolves around all parties working together with the intention of taking the company to higher levels. Self-interest must be pushed aside to allow for a selfless and dedicated commitment to the company’s laid down objectives. Public image speaks volumes about a company and it must embark on improving its public relations. When it comes to corporate criminal liability, the organization itself has to be in the front line to take responsibility for its employee’s shortcomings rather than initiating a blame game.
An organization has the responsibility of proving to the public that it is in control of the circumstances in question. On corporate governance, the BP organization must initiate voluntary interventions which will strengthen its accountability. The BP organization directors must also have the company’s best interests at heart and dedicate their time and energy to realizing them. They must have the necessary skills to run such a huge organization and demonstrate by how they handle issues that confront them. The model of ethical decision-making is important in such an organization as it gives clear guidelines on how dilemmas like the oil spill could have been handled without stepping on too many toes.
The BP Oil Company faced a huge crisis occasioned by its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill which not only claimed people’s lives but also caused grievous harm to the environment. The effects are being felt to date and they are attributed to the company’s poor management as evidenced in this paper. To reclaim its face, the BP Oil Company needs to be more disciplined in the way it runs its businesses.
Adam, D. (2010) BP oil spill: death and devastation – and it’s just the start. Guardian News and Media Limited. Web.
Caliendo, H. (2010) Leadership or lack thereof in the BP oil spill. The Booth The company. Web.
Frayer, L. (2010) Investigators: BP’s lack of discipline contributed to the oil spill. AOL News. Web.