The Causes of a Crisis, Crisis Management and Environmental Risks illustrated through the Buncefield Case Study
GEORGIOU, ANASTASIA MARIA (2009) The Causes of a Crisis, Crisis Management and Environmental Risks illustrated through the Buncefield Case Study. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
Crises are inevitable events whether the company is crisis prone or crisis prepared. However, the consequences of every crisis or disaster differ as do their magnitude and severity. There have been a number of frameworks developed that try to explain crises and crisis management. The crisis models referred to in this thesis include Turner’s (1978) socio-technical framework, Shrivastava’s (1988) HOTRIP Model, Mitroff’s (1989) Onion Model, the Medical Model and Perrow’s (1984) Normal Accident Theory. While the focus of this report is on crisis and crisis management, I centre on the environmental effects of crises. Environmental risks have grown in importance over the years possibly due to global warming, the greenhouse effect and people being more environmentally aware and concerned about their environmental ‘footprint’. In this study I use the crisis models as well as themes like ‘organisational culture’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’ to describe the causes and environmental effects of the crisis at Buncefield. Therefore, the methodology I adopt is a Case Study Approach. The Buncefield Oil Storage Terminal suffered several explosions on 11th December 2005 injuring people, damaging properties and emitting black smoke into the atmosphere. The main sources used to uncover the reasons for the occurrence of the crisis at Buncefield are the government reports written in response to the incident. The results of this critical analysis of the Buncefield crisis suggest that human, organisational and technical factors all contributed to its creation, with possibly the technical factors playing a more significant role than managerial factors. This fits in more with Shrivastava’s (1988) framework and may even contradict Turner’s (1978) theory.
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