The Manager’s Job at BP: Decision Making and Responsibilities on the High Seas: Abstract
Based on public documents, the case revisits the recent history of the world’s fourth largest company, BP p.l.c. The events described confront students with some of the challenging situations top managers face when corporate reputation and performance are at stake.
Two issues in particular are addressed: first, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010; and, second, BP’s “beyond petroleum” corporate development and rebranding strategy. These two interwoven storylines contrast BP’s efforts at building a “green” reputation with the inherent environmental and social risks of the oil industry. Each storyline offers a unique perspective on the British oil major, while focusing on the central topics of corporate responsibility and decision making in complex situations, whether short term (oil spill) or long term (“beyond petroleum”). The case is presented from the point of view of Steve, a fictional executive assistant of former BP CEO Tony Hayward.
Teaching notes are available for teachers only. Contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre for more information.