Case Study Action Plan: Union Carbide Bhopal Accident

2186 Words Nov 9th, 2011 9 Pages
Case Study Action Plan: Union Carbide Bhopal accident
Learning Team A: Michael Proffitt, Amanda Garrity, Sean Riedel, Cippy Seidler & La Shonta Fuller
University of Phoenix
PHL 323/Ethics in Management

History:

Controversy
Union Carbide
In December of 1984 controversy surrounded Union Carbide, a chemical and polymer company founded in 1917, when the company had a poisonous gas leak from their pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. (Union Carbide Corporation, 2011) This incident killed thousands of people, and injured many more. The company reacted with genuine concern but the incident became a public relations and financial nightmare for Union Carbide. This disaster raised some very serious ethical issues as well such as careless
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In the eyes of the government, the company could do no wrong” (Browning, 1993). As in many ethical challenges in business, the lack of oversight or lack of enforcement of policies contribute to the dilemma. “Union Carbide is able to continue operating the Bhopal Plant -- despite its deterioration -- due to the state of Madhya Pradesh and the Indian government not enforcing safety and environmental laws and regulations” (Murphy-Medley, 2001). There was almost a collusive relationship between Union Carbide and the Indian authorities. (Browning, 2003). “The flouting of industrial safety provisions {was} winked at, accidents, even fatalities, are improperly investigated and an unholy alliance allowed to develop between the high government functionaries and the… management at the cost of plant safety” (Browning, 2003).
Safety issues were virtually ignored at the Bhopal plant. There were significant precautions taken at the US plant in West Virginia that were not in place in Bhopal. .There was a safety visit made there by the Americans in 1982 but no procedures or changes were put in place based on their recommendations. Even minimal safety standards that the plant had devised were pushed aside to provide more financial benefit. Refrigeration and cooling systems were off-line. This chemical must be stored
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