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The Bhopal Carbide Disaster - Case Study Example

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The Bhopal Carbide Disaster

Throughout the crisis the most significant feature to be observed had been the lack of communication between the government officials, the plant management in India, the higher management in America and the local people working and living in the surrounding region. Aside from the public that was directly involved in the operations of the plant, there were also stockholders to be notified, the public relations staff which had no clue as to what was going on and finally the press. These two groups of publics must have proper communication channels but this was not the case in Bhopal as was evident when the crisis struck. The internal public in this case were basically the senior management which was based in the United States, the local workers and their managers, the government officials (as they were holding 49.1% of the total shares along with the private investors and had been responsible for the layout and design of the plant) and finally the residents and people living in the neighboring community. These people had a direct impact due to the leakage and were the ones who were directly involved in all the communication which took place in the aftermath. The external public involved was the press which found out about the event and the private stockholders who had little effect over them. This group remained unscathed throughout the whole ordeal.

After the event took place the communication was evident to be of poor standard. The press was the deliverer of most of the news as the communication systems of Bhopal itself were completely inept. The U.S. has to rely on the coverage of the press as its main source of info as they had no system of communication prior to the event. The internal public had to rely on the external public for all the latest happenings. This communication provided a grim picture to the public and UCC came out in the worst light. The civilians and people living in the neighborhood of the plant were agitated by the management and the press was successful in raising their worst emotions towards the company. The effect of this communication on the internal management was that they were not fully prepared to tackle the situation. The management abroad was unaware as to what happened and the press informing them about it proved that they had no established link with their venture abroad (Edward Broughton, 2005). However, one thing which can not be denied is the ineffectiveness of communication EVEN AFTER the event. As was evident when due to a lack of communication the CEO in an act of goodwill decided to go to Bhopal but instead wound up under house arrest with charges of "culpable homicide".

The public relation tools which could have been applied were:
Strategic planning and positioning, Article placements, News releases, seminars, newsletters, videos, and speeches.
However, there were no such PR tools used by the management for the crisis management. They were caught unaware due to the lack of communication between the headquarters and Indian management. However, the locals and external public i ...Show more

Summary

Union Carbide Corporation was a chemical manufacturing company based in the U.S. which had its establishment in various different nations out of which India was one. In Bhopal, India, UCC had initially a plant before the pre-partition days of India. But after the independence of the nation the government took over half the control of the operations of the plant and transformed the plant into an extensively labor-intensive plant to support them in providing jobs to the local people…
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