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Constructing three chapters of proposal - Dissertation Example

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Chapter I: Introduction Ranked among the most disastrous man-made crises attributable to commercial operations are the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and more recently, the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Damage from these incidents affected the lives and livelihoods of people distributed over a broad geographical area, and experts expect the repercussions to extend to subsequent generations because of their effect on the environment and wildlife…
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Download file to see previous pages In 2011, a pipeline fire killed 100 people and seriously injured 120 in Nairobi. In 2010, a Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos) pumping station in Central Mexico exploded, killing 27 and injuring 50 (Ellingwood, 2010). In 2006, a pipeline explosion in Nigeria killed up to 500 people (BBC News, 2006), but the fatalities in this incident are only second to the Ufa train disaster in Russia in 1989, where train sparks set off a gas leak from an LPG pipeline and killed 645 people (Observer-Reporter, 1989). Oil and gas accidents can have catastrophic results, all the more underscoring the importance of assessing the crisis management systems in this industry, and ascertaining whether or not these are within acceptable standards to ensure the protection of the public. 1.1 Background of the Study One of the more comprehensive and meticulous definitions of “crisis,” as it is conceived in business crisis management, is that of Fink (1986, quoted in Reid, 2000, p. 2), who states that “A crisis is any situation that runs the risk of: 1. Escalating in intensity. 2. Falling under close media or government scrutiny. 3. Interfering with the normal operations of business. 4. Jeopardizing with the positive public image presently enjoyed by a company or its officers. 5. Damaging a company’s bottom line in any way.” Fink’s well-crafted enumeration of the attributes of a crisis situation noticeable lacks one element: that of being “unforeseen” or “unexpected.” This is a defining trait of a crisis for other authors (Hoff, 2001; Boi, 2005; Laws, Prideaux & Chon, 2007), but apparently not for Fink, whose definition focuses on the impacts rather than the causes of the crisis situation. In many instances, crises are so characterised not because they are unforeseen. Rather, they are foreseen (or at least foreseeable), but are historically and statistically deemed so unlikely to happen that precautionary and preventive measures against them are overlooked (Loveridge, 2009; Daft & Marcic, 2011). Warranting the necessity for the enhancement of crisis planning, prevention, assessment, and mitigation for the oil and gas industry are the deleterious effects of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Casale, 2010). Despite the serious harm to the environment and to livelihoods in the affected area, the potential closure of large oil and gas companies or the shutdown of their pipelines is a risk which major oil producers could not be take because of their critical role in the world economy (Omolara & Olayide, 2011; Kamal, 2012). The matter of oil and gas crisis management to ensure continuity, therefore, becomes an important area of study. Unfortunately, there are few academic studies which have addressed this area. Lee Clarke of Rutgers University underscored the fact that all most oil and gas companies have to rely on currently are what he calls “symbolic planning” and “fantasy documents” upon which crisis strategies are built (Morse, 2004). 1.2 Statement of the Problem In defining the research problem, it became apparent to this researcher that the threat of impending crises (i.e., crises that are unlikely, but may eventually happen) confront all organisations in varied ways. Consequently, all organizations need some ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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