British Petroleum A Case Study


BritishPetroleum: A Case Study

BritishPetroleum: A Case Study

Effectivemanagement of an organization involves handling various aspects oforganizational governance that requires sound corporate decisions.Communication and management of ecosystems associated with a firm areamong the main aspects of organization to consider when studying thecorporate status of a firm (Walker,2014).In addition, the management of conflicts is important in promotingthe cohesiveness of a firm’s operations towards achieving itsobjective. To explore these aspects, this paper will explore BritishPetroleum (BP) as a case study with a view of exploring how the firmmanages these aspects. This paper seeks to explore the informalcommunication channels, the ecosystems of the form and the dynamicsof its conflict management at BP.

InformalCommunication Channels

Thecommunication at BP has been largely formal due to its large businessprofile. However, the firm has over time embraced informalcommunication channels to pass messages at the firm and to thepublic. This is to align the organization with the changing businessenvironment and the change in the people’s expectations aboutcommunication from public institutions. Most of the BP’s informalcommunication channels are based on the technological platforms.According to Cornelissen(2011),the change in the technological environment has forced institutionsto adopt communication strategies that allow the organizations tointeract with the modern people. Therefore, the adoption of theinformal communication channels, places the firm in progressiveposition to compete with other organization.

Socialmedia communication is one of the main informal channels that BP usesto communicate its policies and messages to the public. According toWalker (2014), the social media allows a multinational company toengage with the public and learn the opinions of the people. Thecompany has used Facebook and Twitter as platforms of posting themessages that the firm wishes to pass to the world. The social mediahas been beneficial to the company in times of disasters that haverocked the company. BP has used Facebook and Twitter to engage thepublic and explain the strategies of handling disasters (Haywar,2010). Through the social media, BP expressed apologies to thevictims of the oil spill in the Gulfregion.According to the CEO, the spill was unfortunate and the entireorganization expressed sincere apologies that included deep feelingsthat his words could not express (Hayward, 2010).

Anotherinformal media that the company uses is the online video platformsthat carry graphical and audio visual messages to the public. Throughtheir website, the company posts video messages that communicateofficial information using the informal platform like YouTube. Thecompany runs a dedicated YouTube channel that it posts all itscommunication to the public. For instance, the company has posted avideo message that presents its long term business outlook to theworld (BP, 2015). Through the video, the firm communicates astrategic plan and vision for the company up to 2035 (BP, 2015).

Ecosystemsassociated with BP

BPis greatly associated with ecosystems that form the core of its oilexploration and mining projects. As an oil exploration and miningcompany, the firm is constantly involved in projects that use theenvironmental resources that provide natural oil and gas, the mainproduct for the oil company (Safina,2011).While the company is associated with environmental ecosystems, it isalso greatly associated with business ecosystems. One of the mainecosystems that are associated with the company is the aquatic lifefrom where the firm drills its oil wells that are located in theseas. The film has been involved with the drilling of well in severallocations that are at sea and lead to the interaction with theaquatic ecosystem. According to BP (2015), these include, the UKNorth Sea, in Africa, Asia Pacific and in the United States.

Anotherecosystem is the wildlife and the land environment. The firminteracts with the wildlife and impacts on its ecosystem balancebecause of the displacement that the firm causes in new oil wellsites. As a result, the firm has set up policies to reduce the impactof its operations on the environment. According to BP (2015), thecompany is conscious about its environmental impacts of its businessand has projects to promote better environmental ecosystems andcleaner water supplies. The impact on the ecosystem also includes theatmosphere because the firm produces emissions during its operations.

Theother main element of the ecosystem that is associated with BP is thebusiness ecosystem formed by a network of business players. BP ispart of a network of oil producing companies that compete with eachother to form a complete industry. The company is networked with itssuppliers and distributors who sustain its business operations, itsprojects and its future outlook. According to BP (2015), the companyhas strong partnerships with retails and has established sustainableand convenient retail businesses in all the areas it has businessinterests.

Sourcesof Conflict at BP

BPis a multinational company that has experienced significant conflictsin both its internal and external business environments. According toCornelissen(2011), thesources of such conflicts are main operational and administrativedisparities. One of the main sources of conflicts between the firmand the world is the environmental concern by the public about theimpact of BP’s operations. Another cause is the accidents thathappen in the firm’s oil wells, leading to death of people andenvironmental degradation. In such situations, the public isconcerned with the negative effects of oil spills and the emissionsthat the firm has from its oil wells and other operational projects.

Theseconflicts impact negatively on the firm and its general outlook. Thisis because the conflicts paint the company negatively, therebyportraying a negative corporate image. At the same time, theconflicts portray the company as an irresponsible firm, even when thecompany is trying its best to maintain best business practices. Inaddition, the conflicts have a cost implication of the company. Thecompany spends money to compensate people who are affected byaccidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. AccordingtoSafina (2011), thecompany took full responsibility of the events that happened in theoil spill. The company spends on such conflicts to show that it isresponsible and considerate of the environment and people.


BPhas embraced management practices that seek to align the company withthe dynamic modern society and mitigate the impact of its operationson the ecosystem. In addition, the firm has maintained propercommunication channels for internal and external communication. Whilethe company has had formal channels, the management of the oil firmhas used the informal communication channels of social media andonline video platforms. Moreover, the firm has maintained touch withthe business environment so as to understand the causes of conflictsin the organization and manage them appropriately.


BP,2015. BPEnergy Outlook, Video,Retrieved From, &lt April 11,2015

BP,2015.Retrieved From, &lt 11, 2015

Cornelissen,J. (2011). CorporateCommunication:A Guide to Theory and Practice.New York: Sage

Hayward,T. (2010). BPCEO Tony Hayward Issues an Apology for Remarks.Retrieved From,&lt 11, 2015

Nigel,S., White, R., Brisman, A. (2015). EnvironmentalCrime and Social Conflict: Contemporary and Emerging Issues. Farnham:Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Safina,C. (2011). ASea in Flames:The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout.New York: Crown Publishers

Walker,R. (2014). StrategicManagement Communication for Leaders. Stanford:Cengage Learning