The Bhopal disaster happened in the early hours of the morning of December 3rd, 1984. It is one of the most terrible industrial disaster or maybe even the most terrible disaster that ever happened. It took place in Bhopal which is the capital city of an Indian state called Madhya Pradesh. The factory was a Union Carbide subsidiary which produced pesticides (Temik and Sevin). Union Carbide was at the time one of the biggest American chemical firm. The subsidiary was called UCIL (Union Carbide India Limited). On its website dedicated to the tragedy, Union Carbide insists on the fact that UCIL was an Indian company and that the American firm only owned over half of the stock. The remainder of the stock was owned by Indian financial institutions and private investors. The plant was built in 1978 in Bhopal where about 300,000 people were living. It was located 5 kilometers far from the village and 1 kilometer far from the railway station. The Indian government had encouraged the building of the plant since it was trying to increase the productivity of its agricultural sector and to reach food self-sufficiency.
[...] In UCIL, the Union Carbide Indian subsidiary, Keshub Mahindra, the Chairman and J.Mukund, the Bhopal Factory Manager were appointed to new positions. Also, a large number of Bhopal plant managers left the company after the plant closure. The trauma of the disaster cascaded to the bottom of the hierarchy. As a matter of fact, in addition to these high-profile departures, lots of employees decided to leave the firm. This compelled the human resources department into designing a new recruitment scheme to renew the workforce but also to offset the side-effects of all these resignations. [...]
[...] Just only because an announcement of what happened in Bhopal, the firm lost a huge amount of money. The truth of all the UCC shareholders in the company was at stake. Recovering the truth is not so easy and it depends on a good communication of what it is going on in order to show a real transparency that can avoid gossips and wrong information. If you don't communicate other people will communicate instead of you. You have to communicate and the objective of a good crisis communication is to fill the gap between what you perceive and what the people perceive of the situation. [...]
[...] Union Carbide decided to sell its Indian subsidiary, the one that had operated at the Bhopal plant to Eveready Industries India Limited in 1994. Obviously the firm wanted to get rid of a subsidiary that had already caused too many troubles to its American parent company. To answer shortly to the question raised above, we should say that surely Union Carbide acted as if it was its own crisis even though it was more the one of its subsidiary. But it decided to sell the Indian firm in order to get its independence. [...]
[...] Thus, Bhopal is not only an industrial disaster, but also a human tragedy Analysis of the triggering event We have to mention that in the 1980s, the sales of pesticides had fallen down; thus a series of cost-cutting measures (many operators had been fired) had been taken, which affected the quality of equipments and the effectiveness of safety regulations. At 9pm two operators are cleaning a pipe with water. Unfortunately, slip-blind plates that would have prevented water from pipes being cleaned from leaking into the MIC tank had been malfunctioning for roughly a week. [...]
[...] Stakeholders can be defined as “individuals and organizations that influence, or are influenced by, the crisis.” The Bhopal disaster triggered such a huge crisis that it is almost impossible to list all stakeholders involved in it. Indeed, while it seems quite straightforward to understand who the actors that influenced the crisis were, it is much more complicated to determine all those who have suffered from it From the direct victims of the industrial explosion to Union Carbide Corporation's shareholders, from the Indian authorities to the media, from UCC's CEO to the doctors who had to cure people, there is such a wide gap. [...]
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