ACC 530 Case Ethics After an Oil Spill (group)



Kindly find following some questions that are related to Case: Ethics After an Oil Spill

1.       What do you think motivated the company’s decision to offer the community $5,000 to hire its own expert? Why do you think the community was insulted? If you were the company’s local manager, what would you have done?

Objective: exploring with the students the source/origins of our values or strongly held beliefs, what encourages us to make the decisions that we make, the “whys” behind our choices.

2.       What options are available to Enbridge?  How would it decide?  What factors are relevant to the decision? What is a rational decision?  Answer while taking various points of view—Enbridge, its financial advisor, the city’s mayor, Wrigley’s citizens—and contrast likely alternative decisions.

Objective: Thinking of means for discussing decision-making:

3.       What is the difference between doing something ethically required and doing something heroic or charitable?  On what grounds do you reach your own opinion about Enbridge?  What type of company is it, and what is its corporate character?

Objective: introduce various perspectives on ethics.

4.       What responsibilities does a company have to the community in which it is located?  For whose benefit ought a company be operated? Enbridge is a publicly traded corporation. How might the factors considered in its decision-making change if it were privately controlled?

Objective: introducing the basic debate about corporate social responsibility:

5.       What facts would be helpful to you, as an outsider, in evaluating the company’s behaviour after the spill?

Objectives: Thinking of factors influencing the company e.g. Financial, strategy, mission… etc.

6.       What values are involved in this situation? How would Enbridge answer that question, internally? How would the people of Wrigley answer that question, if asked?

Objective: Thinking of different values and social structures influencing the company.

7.       Did Enbridge have obligations that went beyond cleaning up the area directly affected by the spill from the company’s pipeline? Were they obligated to offer the $5,000? Consider the suggestion made by a member of the community, that Enbridge should donate money to build a swimming pool or hockey arena for local kids. Would a donation of this kind help to satisfy the company’s obligations to the community?

Objective: allowing students to hypothesize about the reasons for the community’s dissatisfaction, and to brainstorm about actions the company might have taken to satisfy these concerns. If they were Enbridge managers faced with the task of recommending such actions to the company’s board, how would they make their case?


Case #3, Ethics After an oil Spill

Question 1: Motivation of the Company Decision to offer the community $5,000 to hire its own expert? Why community was insulted and recommendations as a company local manager

As an ethical best practice, organisations operating in different sectors must appreciate wrong doing and own up to their mistakes. To support this, Yang (2017) which had focused on a similar phenomenon of China oil spills core findings were obtained. The report found that there is a need for developing a domestic liability and compensation mechanism while ensuring they are extending pollution caused offshore oil spills. It is in this background that the company was motivated to offer the community $5,000 for hiring their own expert. Also, by the community hiring their own expert, the issue of bias would be mitigated. According to Quinn et al. (2009), the rationale of avoiding conflict of interest is ensuring there are no biased decision with vested interest of the organisation and general public. It is in this light that the company decided to compensate the community with $5,000.

The community was insulted by being compensated with $5000. This is informed by the fact that the oil spills had significantly impacted the community wildlands and its sustainability. Further, the community wildlife, water sources, health, recreation and other aspects of public lands had already been severely destroyed. As it could have possibly been evidenced in their report, the oil spills would elicit long-term and devastating implications on animals in terms of direct contract, inhalation and ingestion of toxic chemicals. As supported by Helle et al. (2020) which evidence the habitat losses by disrupting life cycles of animals and erosion of shorelines. This is with immense issues on boating and hunting strategies. Hence, with all the identified issues and consequences, offering a compensation of $5,000 is an insult to the local community and unethical. There was a room for offering an appropriate support and compensation to the community. This is by embrace of a sustainable and a long-lasting initiative which would also mitigate further environmental degradation.

As a local manager, owing to the scope of the organisation in terms of their size, I would ensure I proceed with  a contingency plan established through a holistic consultation with the entire community. The rationale of this would entail an assessment of the phenomenon, monitoring progress of the mitigation process to the point of holistic cleaning.

Question 2: Options Available to Enbridge, decision, factors relevant to the decision, rational decision

The options available for Enbridge are informed by the current issues facing them. These issues include;

  • The oil pipeline in Enbridge leak
  • Reversing the current issue of environmental degradation for the Wrigley citizens
  • Solve the issue with their brand image as it has already faced similar predicament with a pipeline ruptured in Michigan
  • Receiving an approval of a new project they are pursuing in the face of opposition from environmental groups

Further, the current available decisions which Enbridge has brought forth include;

  • Cleaning up the spilled oil
  • Remediation/restoration of the polluted land back to something like its original state
  • Compensation of the local community for the pollution and loss of use of traditional hunting grounds

While these options are viable, Enbridge would have to put into consideration of what is financially appropriate to compensate the community. This can first be done through an engagement of the financial advisor. This would later be presented to the City Mayor and Wrigley’s citizens. As a best practice in decisions which touch ethical practice, Rees et al. (2019) note that there is a need for pursuing an in-depth negotiations. Through negotiation, evidence of mutual respect for all the parties would be evidenced with different options discussed supported with sufficient details and documentation.

Further, in terms of rational decision, Barkovi (2019) identify it as being inclusive of leveraging on the objective data, logic and analysis as opposed to subjectivity and intuition for assisting in solving a problem or achieving an alternative among the solutions available. Hence, by Enbridge ensuring that they compensate the community for the loss and engaging in rehabilitation programs of the oil spills, this is an enough demonstrator that they are ethical. They would also need to demonstrate embrace of reforms, compensation and restoring the damages, this demonstrate their interest in ensuring the community is fully satisfied. Finally, for Wringley’s citizens, the best option suiting their practice would be consenting with all the other engaged parties to the point of completion of the pipeline and  guarantee their success in restoring the already contaminated spaces and areas.

Question 3: Difference of doing something ethically required and doing something heroic/charitable; what grounds is opinion about Enbridge achieved; type of company and its corporate character

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