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Effects of the oil spill on stakeholders and society

Discuss about the Bp Problem with the Oil Spill for Technology in Society.

The British Petroleum (BP) offshore drilling ring caused an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This occurred when their equipment failed causing the explosion and making the ring to sink. This event had serious effects on the stakeholders (Bozeman, 2011). The effects of the oil spills are being felt by the society and economy either on the long-term or short-term period. The occurrence led to the loss of human lives who worked at BP. The aquatic creatures could not survive due to the pollution in the deep-sea. The oil spills led to a decline in tourist arrivals who visited the coastal region. People who relied on fishing and other recreational activities had to suffer due to the lack of a source of income. The values for property decreased and the commercial activities in the region were highly affected. Investing in this region became a risky thing as the place that was always busy and highly populated, was now unattractive to investors. This essay seeks to discuss this situation and the ethical issues involved from the BPs and other stakeholders.

BP Management must make sure that they reduce their operating expenses and increase their profits. They have to work under limited time and hit the set targets. The company gives bonuses and other benefits to those who achieve the set targets. This is a show of self-interest while ignoring the safety of the environment. Halliburton presented two options for constructing the well designs. BP company decided to pick on the cheap and fastest well design. Halliburton knowing that there was a high probability of the well design failing disagreed with Bp, as they wanted to satisfy the customer and any disagreement would lead them to lose the job (Mezi? et al. ,2010). The long string casting method reduced the operating cost and time resulting in a reduction in the price charged to the public. This was deemed effective if only the explosion did not occur, but unfortunately, the oil spill happened. BP was fined due to their act of negligence (Flammer, 2013). This proved that the well design option they settled for was not the best.

Engineers do not give priority to their safety, although they have raised their worries about the absence of safety strategy to the organization, they involve themselves in the controversial decision. This is due to their worry about having job security while ignoring public safety and environmental damage. Whistleblowing promotes public safety and may have been done. Conferring to NPSE’s way of behavior, Engineers must follow the uppermost values of uprightness and reliability when carrying out their duties. Engineers will guide their clienteles on the outcome to expect on the projects in the future ignoring their self-interests at the cost of the dignity and honesty of their profession.

BP's negligence and the engineering decisions

BP’s code of conduct states that if one is not sure of the way out in a given situation, or else is worried about the code of conduct is broken, one is obligated to express himself out (Summerhays & Villiers, 2012). Employees should have reported the safety issues and if no action was taken, they ought to have stopped working and speak up for their safety. Employees have to weigh their respect for the company and their respect for the fellow workmate’s lives and the public at large. This overshadows the respect for the company. The employees ought to have insisted on directing BP managers that if they carry on their exercise, their safety was at risk. They would have snubbed their interests of securing their jobs resulting in putting their workmates, public lives and the marine lives at risk.

Some employees fail to report t when they see something going wrong in their place of work, and thus they become partly liable in case of misfortunes. However, this would be due to the culture of BP, where anyone trying to raise concerns about safety that will derail the drilling plan would lead them jobless. The worker and those who had worked for BP in the past said that the management abandoned old equipment, distressed and abused the workers not to report the problems they encountered (Cherry & Sneirson, 2010). They also postponed or ignored inspections so that they would reduce production costs involved. Besides harassment, some employees were even fired. This not only happened to the employees but also to some sub-contractors. They were unable to forward their concerns regarding their safety due to the culture in BP of putting speed and finance first ignoring safety.  This deed of firing and mishandling employees is not justified. It shows that BP was not ready to follow the safety procedures. By dismissing its workers, BP reduced the threat of internal information going outside as those fired served as examples to the rest of the employees. This was demoralizing the employees, as they had to be silent about safety due to job security. The workers could also have thought of a different way out for conveying their safety issues to the management. The workers could have sent anonymous emails or write suggestion letters withholding their identity. This would have prevented harassment and been fired and would have probably made the management to act differently.

Whistleblowing and employees' responsibility

Whereas concealing the issues concerning safety in the organization, BP increased the duration where they enjoyed the big amount of profits and maintained a good reputation. This was later to turn into a great loss felt by BP and the world, which was much greater than the benefits they enjoyed (Barnett, 2014). The employees lost their lives, a large number of marine lives perished, and huge sums of money were used to help clean up the oil spill and also compensating the affected people (Dubinsky et al., 2013). The action of BP is not justified. According to the code of conduct for companies, activities carried out should be done in a professional, ethical and responsible manner. Managers in BP should do things in a proper and accountable way. The management was receiving concerns about safety yet they failed to rectify or even act on them. This showed that the management did not act professionally in line with the organization code of conduct. BP might have possibly considered not to reveal the oil spill loss thinking that this could have helped in reducing the community fright and preventing confusion (Smith, & Ashcroft, 2011). Through the imposed fear, BP should concentrate on developing and implementing the control measures. Thus, BP concealed the facts so as to get a full advantage to the community as well as the company hoping that the company will be able to clean up the spills. This is unethical and should not be tolerated by any organization. 

BP violated the codes of ethics in several ways. As stated in IEEE, one should be truthful and real while declaring estimates and claims. The BP underestimated the oil spill rate. BP management responded to the public by stating that the estimates were complex to make. Considering the Reversibility theory of ethics, BP managers were obligated to inform the people who use and live at that coastal region about the actual damage caused by the oil spill and its effects; this could have helped them to determine the magnitude of the effects on their health and livelihood in general. The ecologist and another specialist also need to know the exact data so that they can act appropriately. Thus, BP should not have underestimated the oil spill.

 BP was withholding vital information needed. Agreeing with NSPE standard of morals, engineers will shun the usage of declarations comprising a substantial falsification of information or overlook a material detail. A live streaming video of the wellhead was to be made available to the public by BP. However, the company released a compressed video lacking the significant details. It is possible that it tried to ignore important proofs from the people. Conferring to the code of morals, engineers should not avail openly or unevenly any involvement meant to influence the public specialist or protected work (Freudenburg, & Gramling, 2011).  The BP Company acted dishonorably by buying online search engines and scientists to try to reclaim its tattered image

BP management's ethical violations

In conclusion, whereas dealing with ethical issues, there could be some conflict of interest between the engineers and the BP management at the expense of public interest. Ccompromising human lives is not justified even though at times it calls for the sacrifice the engineer’s interests (Griggs, 2011). The BP management did not respect the uncompromising principle when they compromised the condition of the rigs safety equipment.

 Halliburton and BP engineers worked on their self-interests of job security at the cost of the public and aquatic lives leading to rising of the oil spill disaster (Mariano et al., 2011). The difference between what is correct or incorrect in any ethical issue is unclear. A decision that is acceptable to one party may be unfavorable to the others. A suitable measure would be to fulfill all or most universally agreed approach (Goldstein, Kriesky & Pavliakova 2012). However, professional codes of ethics may fail to include all possible situations that an employee may encounter thus the engineers should put into consideration all likely solutions and make a decision founded on the most suitable method.

References

Barnett, M. L. (2014). Why stakeholders ignore firm misconduct: A cognitive view. Journal of Management, 40(3), 676-702.

Bozeman, B. (2011). The 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill: Implications for a theory of  organizational disaster. Technology in Society, 33(3-4), 244-252.

Cherry, M. A., & Sneirson, J. F. (2010). Beyond Profit: Rethinking corporate social Responsibility and greenwashing after the BP oil disaster. Tul. L. Rev., 85, 983.

Dubinsky, E. A., Conrad, M. E., Chakraborty, R., Bill, M., Borglin, S. E., Hollibaugh, J. T., & Tom, L. M. (2013). A succession of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental science & technology, 47(19), 10860-10867.

Freudenburg, W. R., & Gramling, R. (2011). Blowout in the Gulf: The BP oil spill disaster and the future of energy in America. MIT Press.

Flammer, C. (2013). Corporate social responsibility and shareholder reaction: The environmental awareness of investors. Academy of Management Journal, 56(3), 758-781.

Griggs, J. W. (2011). BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Energy LJ, 32, 57.

Goldstein, B. D., Kriesky, J., & Pavliakova, B. (2012). Missing from the table: the role of the

environmental public health community in governmental advisory commissions related  to Marcellus Shale drilling. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(4), 483.

Mariano, A. J., Kourafalou, V. H., Srinivasan, A., Kang, H., Halliwell, G. R., Ryan, E. H., & Roffer, M. (2011). On the modeling of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Dynamics of  Atmospheres and Oceans, 52(1-2), 322-340.

Mezi?, I., Loire, S., Fonoberov, V. A., & Hogan, P. (2010). A new mixing diagnostic and Gulf oil spill movement. Journal of Science, 330(6003), 486-489.

Summerhays, K., & de Villiers, C. (2012). Oil company annual report disclosure responses to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. New York publishers Smith, L., Smith, M., & Ashcroft, P. (2011). Analysis of environmental and economic damages From British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Pearson.

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