Business Ethics Case Study: BP

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British Petroleum referred today as BP has been a household name for many decades and has been in existence for over a century. BP has had its fair share of lawsuits and investigations stemmed form corporate fraud, environmental catastrophes, and ethical dilemmas in addition to the largest oil spill in the history of the world. At times during BP's history the company had failed to protect its stockholders, however, the energy giant became recognized as a leader for good practices in protecting and promoting the environment even before the 2010 oil spill.
BP was the first company prosecuted for violating the Clean Air Act after an explosion of a oil refinery killed and wounded several employees. The company failed to acknowledge some of the
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While the company was purchasing propane it was also guilty of fraudulently driving up the price above the legal limits. Nevertheless, the Assistant Attorney General made an example of the BP agents who took advantage of the stakeholders. Once more BP paid out millions in fines and restitution and their image and reputation was tarnished. (para. 6 pg. 588). Evidently, BP did not take the previous events and cases seriously. Following the 2010 oil spill, BP's CEO was indicted for lying and misleading congress about the amount of oil that was leaking from the explosion. It has been determined that the company was more worried about its stock prices than being socially responsible. In response the federal government required BP to pay millions as part of the punishment to the Security and Exchange Commission. Obviously, BP struggled with ethical misconduct for many years which not only cost the shareholders millions of dollars but severely damaged BP's reputation. BP was not only a pioneer in the petroleum industry but was the first company that was caught and punished for violating the Clean Air Act. BP appeared to be more focused making profits and expanding their business without considering the affect on stakeholders. This very large company did not have a unified ethical mission until 2005 that put good practices and standards into consideration. …show more content…
As stated in out text "Perhaps the most important role of the code is that it put in writing, for the first time, BP's ethical and legal expectations. It gives clear guidelines for individuals covering five key areas: health, safety, security, and the environment; employees; business partners; government and communities; and the company assets and financial integrity." (Thorne, Ferrell, Ferrell, 2011). BP is a great company and despite ethical struggles where great strides were made and lessons learned from their past conduct and not only to improve and promote their image but to revolutionize other industries on how to take a larger role as a corporate ethical citizen. It has not hurt the shareholders feelings that BP has been able to increase profits for shareholders in concurrence with boasting BP's reputation.
References:
Leinw, D. (2013, January 3). Transocean to pay $1.4B fine for Gulf oil spill. Retrieved August 17, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/01/03/transocean-settlement-gulf-spill/1806935/

Thorne, D., Ferrell, O., & Ferrell, L. (2011). Business & Society. (4th ed.). Mason

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