Case Study: British Petroleum and Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill


'Like many multinational organizations in the 1980s-1990s, BP adopted a new organizational design in response to changing environmental conditions and new organizational priorities and strategies'.

How and why might BP’s organizational design and its relationship with the broader environment be contributing factors in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?  Discuss using relevant organizational theories.  

Some students may find it easier to think about the following two questions:

  1. How and why might the recent difficulties experienced by BP be explained by its organizational design?  
  2. How and why might the recent difficulties experienced by BP be explained by its broader environmental relationships?


This is a case study in management. The case study explores the contributing factors from British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The questions on the case study are about British Petroleum’s organizational setup and its broader international environment might have contributed to the Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill. These two questions have been answered keeping in mind the organizational setup, behavior or work culture of BP and the relationship that it shares with the international environment.

Total word count is 1503

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