The Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe Essay

2502 words - 10 pages

Frequently leaders of organizations are challenged with making difficult decisions. It appears that British Petroleum’s (BP) decision making was focused on cost cutting, and not the employee’s safety, gulf residents, or the environment. The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is a result of the systematic failure within a major corporation to be ethically and socially responsible to all stakeholders involved.
The priority was corporate profits. A series of cost cutting measures ultimately unveiled a corporate giant that chose to neglect its ethical and social responsibility. The BP case gave light to what many companies are challenged with. It is the ability to balance financial and ethical commitments. BP’s commitment at that time was clearly to their financial stakeholders. BP’s culture and behavior showed that there were no other stakeholders to be considered. The fact that the cost cutting measures was their only concern, begs the question, what was their thought as it pertains to its ethical responsibility to society? Realistically, can companies be ethically responsible when profits are what turn the lights on and off? If achieving ever-increasing profit is the basic purpose and principle of business and economic profitability is the primary and overriding factor in strategic business decisions, ethical behavior and business behavior eventually must conflict. (Duska, 2002)
Ultimately BP is accountable for the series of negligence, and unethical behavior that resulted in an environmental nightmare. One environmentalist wondered how BP can call itself a “green company” when its environmental record is so poor. (Jennings, 2012, p. 416) According to all accounts, it wasn't just BP, but contractors Transocean, and Halliburton shared some of the blame. Some scrutiny had also been placed on regulators due to the relationship between Vice President Chaney, who had worked for Halliburton, and was a shareholder. “The principal regulator at the start of the event was the Minerals Management Service. The improprieties that surfaced around Minerals Management (including corruption and sexual favors) lent an air of seediness that cemented a layer of the definition of this problem as unethically, incompetence, and corruption”. (Hoffman, Jennings, 2011, p. 101)

Discuss the ethical, negligence and environmental issues you can see in this case?
The decisions made were based on reducing cost. BP’s focus was on revenue, not the employees, gulf residents, or the environment. This catastrophe unveiled what their priority was. It boils down to corporate profits. The choices made were in connection to cost savings, and the overall impact of these cost saving measures were clearly not fully explored. BP failed to address the ethical or potential environmental risk that they were about to encounter. The ethical issues that BP confronted were ignored and dismissed.
Similar issues have surfaced within other corporate financial scandals, and it...

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