BP is one of the global leaders in terms of proven reserves and market capitalization in the oil industry. It mainly deals with production and exploration, chemicals, and marketing and refining. A big company like BP should be very careful when making any decision according to Jennings (2008). BP could have averted the spill of oil on the Gulf of Mexico if they had consulted properly. According to Robert (2010), BP employees who were working on the oilrig failed to consult widely with an experienced engineer about pressure results. The crew misread the rig's pressure test that was negative at that time. Furthermore, the crew made a poor decision by abandoning the Macondo well. If the site leaders had explained about the negative results to the visiting engineer then there would have been no disaster. They decided to work autocratically instead of being consultative. In addition, the BP management did not update its safety measures and the penalty for not complying is not more than $ 35, 0000. For BP they felt that it was cheaper to pay the fine for not complying with the safety regulations rather than updating its safety technology for millions. This is a very poor decision for BP and for that, even the workers lost their lives because of the explosion.
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BP is a global market player and it is enormously powerful. It does not have democratic legitimacy, but repeatedly it is able to pilot world's social developments better than the national governments. However, piloting social development is a big dilemma that BP should handle carefully to avoid any conflicts. BP can be one of the largest oil companies that produce very clean natural gas, and at the same time, it can be one of the largest pollutants of the environment. This became evident last year when the oil-drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico about fifty kilometers of the coast of Louisiana. BP reported that the spill would have minimal impact on the environment but two months later, the oil spill became the largest oil disaster in U.S. history. During the disaster, chief executive Tony Hayward made some ill-advised remarks concerning the management of the oil spill. The public relations structure for dealing with the spill was going to concentrate on damage control. The credibility of BP suffered a big blow from the public due to its failure to stop the spill on time. BP's response to the disaster made it worse (Robert, 2010).
Tony Hayward tried to shift the blame to Transocean, which is the company that owned the sunken rig. This was a very poor decision from BP's management team because it slowed down efforts of managing the spill. Instead of trying to find the cause of the accident, BP and Transocean started pointing fingers at each other. This is a clear evidence of BP's attempts to try to escape its responsibility. In his views, Robert (2010) says that in this situation, BP and Transocean should have worked together as partners to find out the cause of the explosion. In pointing fingers at each other diverts the efforts of investigation to defending the image of the two companies. One of the damaging comments from the chief executive that was not ethical is that, the amount of oil that was spilling in the gulf was nothing compared to the ocean. This comment shows that BP was unconcerned about the damage that the spill might have on the environment. The decision to utter such words in public could as well mean that BP made little effort to contain the situation. This is a clear view of unethical ways of dealing with disaster. BP did not consider the greater good of the community around the Gulf of Mexico rather it considered helping itself (Jennings, 2008).
In relation to the environmental and economic damage that the oil spill caused both locally and globally, was an escape of social corporate responsibility. Furthermore, as the manager, Tony Hayward should have made a moral appropriate judgment on what to tell the public. It is the responsibility of a good manager to make sure that, whatever is done or said by an organization should reconcile with what is best for the society. In addition, Hayward created a culture of dishonesty and insincerity by telling the public that the spill was very tinny. He continued to say that since oil is lighter than water the it will obviously rise to the surface, but some evidence showed that there were underwater plumes about hundred and twenty meters below water surface. If he had come clean on how deep the oil spill could remain or reach then even the government could help in the situation. Downplaying such vital issues proves that the management is not keen in settling the matter. Although the CEO managed to apologize later, the remarks did do some damage to the organization and the efforts of containment process (Robert, 2010).
One of the biggest hindrances that befell the efforts of cleaning the spill was lack of transparency. During the disaster, there was a wide range of disparity in the estimates of the amount of oil that was spilling. The lack of clear picture of the amount of oil spilling from the Gulf made it difficult to structure the cleaning process. It was a fact that if they did not know how huge the mess was then how could they prepare well for the cleanup process. It was a very baffling issue to try to hide the rate of leakage. If BP had come out clean concerning the leakage rate, the other organization including NGOs would try to help in cleaning the mess. The U.S. government as well as BP did not have a legitimate motive for restriction of the press and other independent experts; Robert (2010) shares the same views. An organization should be transparent especially for matters that have huge impact on environment and the community. This raised some ethical questions regarding the amount of details that a private company should release to the public. BP should have acknowledged its predicament instead of finding ways to conceal yet the truth is the damage is increasing (Jennings, 2008).
In conclusion, today's world of business is extremely competitive. Every organization should have a way of making itself noticeable or have something that can make them be appealing to the public eye. Public relations serve the company by assisting in giving the media and the public a high-quality understanding of the company's deals. It is an important channel of getting feedback from the community through research on different areas. In addition, a public relation member of staff must be able to work under immense pressure. The staff must be able to handle many questions from the public and media and the entire question answered honestly. BP thought that by withholding some information then the damage will be minimal, on the contrary, this may cause more damage than expected. Finally, a good public department can build a healthy relationship with investors, customers, donors, employees and the community. Having good reputation through public relations can work better for any organization than other forms of promotions. Therefore, any organization should consider having a working public relations department that is going to be honest to both the public and its workers. BP would have been able to reduce the damage on the environment, the community, and the amount of money spent through making the right and ethical decisions, and exercising the right business culture.
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