Bhopal Gas Tragedy Communication Failures Case Study

Bhopal Gas Tragedy Communication Failures Case Study-46
This led to an overall impression of "stonewalling" by the company and thus reduced the effectiveness of their overall attachment strategy (Shrivastava, p. Some note that given the horrific nature of the tragedy, Union Carbide's strategy was about as effective as could be expected under the circumstance, (Higgins, 1987).Others however, point to Union Carbide's lack of preparation in planning for a crisis (Shrivastava, p.99) which led to a lack of available information and a perception that the company was unsympathetic to the victims. Union Carbide's leadership was faced with what could be described as a mix of crisis types (Coombs, 1995, p. The Bhopal incident contained elements of both an accident in that the events at the plant were beyond the company's ability to entirely control and transgression in that allegations of the plant's lax safety and maintenance standards directly contributed to the deadly chemical leak.

This led to an overall impression of "stonewalling" by the company and thus reduced the effectiveness of their overall attachment strategy (Shrivastava, p. Some note that given the horrific nature of the tragedy, Union Carbide's strategy was about as effective as could be expected under the circumstance, (Higgins, 1987).

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Failure to have a Crisis Communication Response Team (on-call) was a major factor in the media's immediate perception that Union Carbide was not forthcoming with information (Higgins, 1987).

Union Carbide failed to account for the fact that the Government of India might have substantially different communication goals than the corporation had.

The Indian government had a vested interest in doing all it could to shift blame and responsibility for the accident to Union Carbide in order to divert attention away from the government's failure to properly monitor safety conditions at the plant (Shrivastava, 1987).

Union Carbide had no means of established communication with its plant in India.

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.

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Even minimal safety standards that the plant had devised were pushed aside to provide more financial benefit.

Union Carbide's communication's staff clearly intended to adopt a strategy of publicly accepting moral (if not legal and financial) responsibility for the incident and focused the company's efforts on the human cost of the accident.

This was widely perceived to be the correct strategy (Kurzman, 1987).

“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. “The flouting of industrial safety provisions winked at, accidents, even fatalities, are improperly investigated and an unholy alliance allowed to develop between the high government functionaries and the…

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