Module 11 Week 11 Discussion Post

November 5, 2015

Corporate Social Responsibility: BP Oil Spill


  1. Case 4: BP struggles to resolve sustainability disaster (page 342). Answer the 3 questions on page 352.  Submit your answers to the Discussion tab of the Canvas shell.

These are the three questions from page 352:

  • What aspects of BP’s ethical culture could have contributed to the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster?
  • Did BP engage in purposeful avoidance of risk management? Why or why not?
  • What should BP so in the future to rebuild its reputation and manage the risks associated with offshore drilling?
  1. What is BP’s social responsibility?


Q1. Overall, the history and facts shared in the case study illustrate a corporate culture of profit over safety or adherence to rules and regulations. The continued infractions, specifically with the violations of the federal Clean Air act, demonstrates a near wilfull intention to bypass laws and programs designed to both protect their employees and the environment. This is supported not just by the actual incidents themselves, but in the repeated avoidance of the red and yellow flags by contractors and others as to actual and potential problems.

Q2. Yes. The utter lack of resolving core issues is systemic of a corporate culture of complete and total risk avoidance. What’s the most interesting for me was that after each significant event and subsequent fine, there appeared to be no shift or change to course correct the obvious culture of either “whatever it takes,” or completing operations as cheaply or as inexpensive as possible. While the million dollar fines sound like a lot, for a company that operates billions of dollars in revenue each fiscal quarter, it’s very easy to see why the fines don’t threaten a company of this size and that they can take whatever shortcuts they want, even at great risk to the lives of their own employees, and the surrounding environments.

Q3. BP should have a complete overhaul of their corporate governance structure by a third party consultancy with a specific review and possible implementation of a strong enterprise risk management system. Beyond the PR side to each of their incidents, at the core is a lack of proper planning for every scenario their people and facilities could encounter. They should look at everything from redundant processes and necessary equipment for safety and to avoid cataustrophic failures and then develop and implement strong and effective mitigations for each potential challenge. Combined with better maintenance completion and logging, for all the systems, BP could definitely reduce, if not eliminate, problems in the future. Additionally, this foundation will not only provide safer, cleaner, and a better business and company overall, but can also be a cornerstone to an effective PR campaign subsequent the 2010 disaster, but also a manuscript for the company and its officials for any future accidents or problems.

Q4. On the subject of ethics, specifically personal, I believe any company that uses the shared planet for profit should carry forth an even greater social responsibility to all its citizens. By that, I mean that they are an industry or business that has a negative impact on the world overall, given these resources are finite, harmful, but also necessary to our societies. Therefore, I believe while BP has been running a huge PR campaign to correct the negative attention of the 2010 gulf oil spill, there must be more action than recovery but both preventative and truly embracing their previous campaign of beyond petroleum without the sacrifice of its employees and systems. I believe they have made improvements overall in their social responsibility, but that’s based on a very lackluster history so there’ been and still is now room for enhancements.

Post Tags:

Corporate Culture, Corporate Social Responsibility, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,