This brief aims to investigate the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 in regards to proper crisis planning, communication and management to ensure smooth business continuity after such a critical incidence. The notion that crises have a recognizable life cycle is a constant theme that is quite common in crisis management literature (Coombs 2011).
Seymour and Moore (2005) suggest that there are two types of crises: the Cobra crisis and the Python Crisis. The Cobra crisis is a crisis that occurs suddenly and that the company has no chance to foresee. The Python, also known as the slow-burning crisis, on the other hand, is a crisis that develops over a longer periods (Moore & Seymour 2005).
British Petroleum, commonly referred to as BP, is a global leader in oil and gas exploration and supply. It was founded in the early 1900s where it was then referred to as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. This was because it was a company established in Britain and whose main activity was exploring Persian oil fields. The company, which has its headquarters in London, operates in more than 80 countries and employs over 80,000 employees globally. The company aims to be responsible in a competitive environment and be recognized as a powerhouse for progress (BP 2012).
At around 10 pm on 10 April 2010, there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which ended the lives of 11 people, injured over 15 others, and resulted in one of the largest marine oil spills in about 2 decades. The oil rig later sunk after having been aflame for over one and a half days. The spillage was estimated to be over 5,000 barrels in a period of 87 days. The environmental impact of this crisis is yet to be established but scientists estimate it will be a couple of decades before a conclusive report on the consequences can be released (CNN 2012).
[...] Mitroff, I & Pauchant TC 1990, We're so big and powerful nothing bad can happen to us: an investigation of America's crisis prone corporations. Michigan. University of Michigan press. Moore, S & Seymour, M 2005, Global Technology and Crisis: Strategies, Planning and Communication in the informal Age. London: Taylor & Francis Walaski, P Risk and Crisis Communications: Methods and Messages. New York. John Wiley & Sons. [...]
[...] It is therefore safe to conclude that crisis plans are effective tools for managing continuity and restoring reputation. Reference Alsop, R. J The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation: Creating, Protecting and Repairing Your Most Valuable Asset. London. Kogan Page Publishers. P.17. BBC 2012, US oil spill: `Bad management` led to BP disaster. Retrieved April from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12124830 Blyth, M Business Continuity Management: Building an Effective Incident Management Plan. New York. John Wiley & Sons. BP 2012, BP Initiates Response to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. [...]
[...] London. Sage Publications Ltd. p.63-66. Coombs, W and Holladay, S. J The Handbook of Crisis Communication. New York. John Wiley & Sons. Cornelissen, J 2011, Corporate Communication: A Guide to Theory and Practice 3rd ed. London. Sage Publications Ltd. Frost, C 2000, Operational Risk and Resilience. Amsterdam. Elsevier. [...]
[...] Hiles, A 2011, The Definitive Handbook of Business Continuity Management. 3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons. Hindle, T Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus. New York. John Wiley & Sons. Miller, DP & Heath, RL 2011, Responding to Crisis: A Rhetorical Approach to Crisis Communication. New Jersey. Lawrence Erlibaum Associates. Mitroff, I 2010. Crisis leadership: planning for the unthinkable. London. John Wiley & Sons. [...]
[...] The BP Oil Spill was a preventable crisis based on the report written by the National commission as well as its internal report. The presumption is that BP could have been suffering from faulty cultural rationalization judging from its complacency to the early warning signs highlighted by their engineers (Mitroff & Pauchant 1990). The report cited poor management, human and technical and engineering design errors as the root cause of the accident. Other players that were found responsible for the rig include Transocean and Halliburton though to a lesser extent. [...]
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