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Bp's Oil Spillage Case Analysis

Essay by   •  December 11, 2011  •  Case Study  •  373 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,001 Views

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Crisis management in organization:

On April 20, 2010, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered an explosion and sank two days later'(Blockbook). Due to the accident 11 people were killed and the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon released a lot of crude oil into the ocean. Not only this causes a huge environmental disaster, it also ruined the fishing and tourist industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm responsible for the oil rig, BP, is exposed to a lot of criticism and needed to respond in the right way. By reconstructing the communications by BP in the aftermath of the accident, I try to determine whether they responded well to the crisis and if they were able to restore their reputation. Another point of discussion is which contextual factors might have hindered or facilitated the repair BP's reputation.

If we take a look at the case we can see it is difficult to define the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill either as an accident or as a scandal. On the one hand they have directly identifiable victims: the 11 men that died and the people that got injured. On the other hand it is a scandal, because the event is a result of many faults preceding the explosion. According to Marcus and Goodman (1991) in both types of crisis different kinds of responses should be used. Following a accident they suggest to deny responsibility for the event, but in the case of a scandal they recommend to apology to the public. Denial would not have been appropriate, due to the fact that a scandal is a 'result of human and organizational lapses' and not a 'act of god that could have been foreseen' (Marcus&Goodman, 1991). If we take a look at statements made by the CEO of BP, Toney Hayward we see he apologizes for this crisis. 'The explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico never should have happened, and I am deeply sorry that they did' (The Guardian, 2010). According to Marcus and Goodman (1991) this is an appropriate response in the aftermath of a scandal. Probably BP also sees it as the easiest way to get back on track and continue operations.

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