Quality and Environmental Issues in Shell International

Quality and Environmental Issues in Shell International

Enid Mumford (Manchester University, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-118-6.ch012
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Abstract

Shell provides an excellent example of an international group that for many years has used socio-technical values and approaches to help the introduction of major change into both its internal structures and its external projects. Shell was one of the first of the multinationals. It has an Anglo-Dutch ownership and is one of the very few companies which divides effective control between two or more different nationalities. Its size and the fact that its products are vital to society mean that it has been able to exert considerable influence on governments (Molitor, 2001). However, today, its future in terms of products and markets is uncertain. Oil industry experts predict that petrol reserves will run dry around 2050. Shell itself has forecast that more than 50% of energy will be from renewable sources by this date, while OPEC foresees supplies lasting until 2080. Other forecasts calculate a 42- to 50-year remaining supply. These estimates may not be correct but it is undeniable that fossil fuel supplies are finite and world supplies are steadily diminishing, although new sources of oil are being discovered. It seems certain that petroleum and natural gas supplies will soon no longer be burned as fuel. This makes companies such as Shell International fascinating subjects for study. We need to ask What are their plans for the future? A recent chairman of Shell has said, “The only sure thing about the future of the energy industry is that it will be very different from today.” Leading oil corporations like Shell have now declared themselves to be “poly-energetic.” They have major investment plans in alternative sources of energy such as sun, wind and hydrogen (Bracho, 2000). This means that they must be more expert than most international companies in managing major change. Shell today is certainly not standing still. It recognises that the oil era may be coming to an end and that it now needs to be very aware of alternate sources of energy. Shell’s future investment plans include gas, sun, wind and hydrogen. This is not only because of exhaustion of the oil fields but because the countries of the world are demanding alternative renewable and cleaner forms of energy (Bracho, 2000). Shell management says that its businesses exist to meet the energy needs of society in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally viable. It maintains, “All of our businesses are united by common goals: to make the most of our existing business, to gain new business and to break new ground.” For many years and in different ways it has also sought to be an efficient and ethical employer and supplier. This has meant that it must be continually aware of what society expects and needs from it. To achieve this in recent times, throughout the late nineties Shell International held conversations with many different groups to try and discover both today’s expectations of multinational companies and how the general public in different countries saw Shell and its activities. This, called Shell’s Transformation, involved 7,500 members of the general public in 10 countries and 1,300 opinion leaders in 25 countries. Six hundred Shell employees in 55 different countries were also interviewed. The picture that emerged was both good and bad. Half of the general public and opinion leaders had a favourable view of Shell, while 40% were neutral and 10% unfavourable This last group saw Shell as negligent in its care of the environment and human rights (The Shell Report, 1998). Shell decided that it must again make it clear to the world and to its customers that, while its primary responsibility was the economic one of running a successful company, it fully accepted a responsibility to ensure that it ran its businesses in a way that was ethically acceptable to the rest of the world. In 1976 it had produced a Statement of General Business Principles to provide an ethical code of conduct which would take account of changes in society and in worldviews. In 1997 there was major revision of these, involving both internal and external consultation. Shell now had nine principles which would influence all its activities and relationships. There were key new commitments to human rights and to a contribution to sustainable development and a stronger “no bribes” clause.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Enid Mumford
Managing change of any kind requires effective problem solving. This is especially the case when the change involves designing and implementing new... Sample PDF
The Problems of Managing Change
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Chapter 2
Enid Mumford
In order to understand the present and predict the future we need to learn from the past. A major part of this book will examine how ideas derived... Sample PDF
Socio-technical Design: Its Early History
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Chapter 3
Enid Mumford
As the case studies in the chapters that follow are all examples of participative organizational and systems design, I will now describe the... Sample PDF
Participation in Practice
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Chapter 4
Enid Mumford
The book now introduces some case studies on organizational design and asks you to think what you would do if you were a manager, researcher or... Sample PDF
Analysing Problem Situations: The Dock Workers of Liverpool
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Chapter 5
Enid Mumford
Once you have obtained a reasonably good understanding of the problem to be tackled, the next step is to decide what to do and how to do it. This... Sample PDF
Work Design in the Coal Industry
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Chapter 6
Enid Mumford
The last two case studies showed the importance of understanding a problem before embarking on its solution and the need to develop an appropriate... Sample PDF
Considering Structure: Different Organizational Solutions in Automobiles
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Chapter 7
New Problems in Banking  (pages 109-129)
Enid Mumford
In the last three case studies there has been a logical progression through the management of change, considering first the definition of the... Sample PDF
New Problems in Banking
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Chapter 8
Enid Mumford
This chapter moves away from a concentration on the “what” to do and focuses on the “how” to do it. An important strategic decision at the start of... Sample PDF
Involving Employees in Design: Rolls Royce
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Chapter 9
Enid Mumford
This chapter and case study address two important design problems. The first is the challenge presented by the task of developing systems that... Sample PDF
Designing an Expert System
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Chapter 10
Enid Mumford
One very important group we have not discussed in detail before is senior management. It is they who take the important company decisions on what to... Sample PDF
Senior Management, Decision-Making and Design
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Chapter 11
Enid Mumford
Most socio-technical system design has been used to create participative, high quality, people-friendly systems for specific projects or parts of... Sample PDF
Company-Wide Participation in Air Products
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Chapter 12
Enid Mumford
Shell provides an excellent example of an international group that for many years has used socio-technical values and approaches to help the... Sample PDF
Quality and Environmental Issues in Shell International
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Chapter 13
Enid Mumford
Participative systems design has, in the past, been seen as a positive group process of thinking through needs and problems and arriving at... Sample PDF
Designing for Problem Prevention
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Chapter 14
Enid Mumford
The philosophy of this book is that problem solving and the management of change will be facilitated by participation. By participation is meant... Sample PDF
Designing for an Uncertain Future
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Methods and Tools
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