Strategy occurs in increasingly complex environments which are continually reshaped by forces of globalisation and by technological advances. These changes not only affect the pace of change in the organisation’s environment, as well as in its resource portfolio, it also requires of strategic managers a heightened sensitivity to the public appearance of their decisions. The ubiquity of media and electronic communication in our daily lives affords the public hitherto unimaginable insights into managerial or political communications as, for instance in the case of Wikileaks, and holds the possibility of projecting newsworthy issues onto a world-wide audience. Moreover, empowered by the ability to choose between many potential suppliers from around the world to satisfy their needs, consumer choices are increasingly based on ethical considerations. The ways in which a firm’s actions are perceived are therefore of paramount importance when making strategic decisions. However, this raises the question of the suitability of strongly analytical strategy formation processes, as well as dominantly endogenous, resource-focussed approaches to sufficiently consider the importance of the symbolic capital (Holt and McNulty 2008) that establishes authority and credibility with various stakeholders.

You are now asked to consider the strategic implications of the recent BP Deepwater Horizon accident.

Your analysis should include thoughtful consideration of the MBA programme threads. You will find information and outcomes from the event in the following article, ‘Opposition grows to BP’s legal strategy’ – please click here to access article.

In addition, you may want to incorporate ideas from the following articles in your project:

Tsoukas, H. (1999) ‘David and Goliath in the risk society: making sense of the conflict between Shell and Greenpeace in the North Sea’, Organization, 6 (3): 499-528.

Holt, R. & McNulty, T. (2008) ‘Securing the license to act: a foundational capability’, Journal of Strategy and Management, 1 (1): 72-92.

Your final module project analysis should address the following:

•Conduct research and provide an analysis of BP’s strategy before the accident occurred using appropriate strategic frameworks (which you have learned throughout this module)
•Discuss implications of BP’s strategy in terms of public perception and its possible impact on business performance
•Critically discuss BP’s ability to strike a balance between its interests and wider needs and expectations in light of the strategic frameworks and models you have encountered
You will complete this project in two submissions. For the first submission in Week 4, submit approximately 2,000 words in which you:

•Identify the key issues in the situation
•Research related literature on strategy, e.g. positioning, resource-based view, dynamic capabilities.
•What was BP’s strategy prior to the accident? How can their actions be understood in light of the strategic frameworks you have encountered?
•Summarise and demonstrate understanding of related literature