he reason why this accident occurred and warning signals failed to be notice need to be explored through investigation of organizational culture that are deep rooted within different departments of BP.
Overconfidence and complacency
First, organizational complacency is latent; it spreads slowly within an organization with time while no one observes it. It becomes too easy to forget about “what the competition is doing” when your organization is satisfying its targets.
An organization should always be ready for the worst situation, even though they are enjoying a period of success. Some managers think it is difficult to make decisions to destroy a well-functioning operation in exchange for new progress that might stimulate productivity (Weick, 1987).
Overconfidence and complacency has been detected throughout the entire team of BP. Possibly, this team thought they have kept a high safety record and federal regulators rubber-stamped the Teansocean / BP proposals. Furthermore, one of the drilling companies in the Gulf prepared a contingency plan to deal with such large oil spill.
This industry is compromised to risk which is increasing on a constant basis with modern technologies and use of complex equipments. In the past decades, drillers tended to go deeper waters and sunk well, this is related to larger internal pressures and risks. Even though advanced technologies and regulations were updated compared to the original shallow waters, this is not matching to the degree with growing hazards. Therefore, when drillers become more experienced, disasters will become more. Based on Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management’s opinion, catastrophe could be avoided if existing practices and guidelines are obeyed by organizations. However, BP and Transocean believed that their past successes are the best evidences that they have high skill and are invulnerable (Meigs, 2016)
Second, when people are operating under conditions of pressure and outcome, combined with changing conditions and tight time schedule, they may feel a sense of urgency and this can result in taking shortcuts from best practices for safety. Once they have rationalized their demand to take shortcut frequently and are achieving successful outcomes, the new standards of behavior are formed and shortcut becomes the new “normal”. This behavior directly leads to myopic vision that seeks for speed regardless of safety (Huberman, 2001). Bp’s shortcut culture under the condition of risk-taking and cost-cutting made them difficult to detect weak signs. The situation was similar in the year 2005 in Texas City and in the year 2006 in Alaska North Slope Spill. The US presidential National Oil Spill Commission stated that those who participated in the BP oil spill had made decisions of reducing costs and time, leading to these incidents. In fact, there is no specific proof that BP or other participants in the Macondo well project had decided to give priority to costs. Whereas, underlyingly “unconscious mind” has controlled the actions of its personnel and even the whole organization. Perhaps, BP’s managers faced with high pressure to fulfill performance goals like cost reduction, meet production targets or tight plan schedules. It is more likely for managers to discount near-miss signs. They knew that the company faced cost of over $ 1 million a day in rig lease and contractor expense, leading to seek for fasten their speed instead of recognizing warning signals (Detwiler, 2012).
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