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Case Study the Oil Rig

In: Business and Management

Submitted By birdlanlan
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The Oil Rig

A U.S. drilling company operates three rigs in Angola and the “Explorer IV” rig is one of them. A small jack-up is set up to house a crew of 150 men, of whom 30 are American expatriates and 120 are local works. However, there are a lot of disparities of their living conditions including space, food and medical care. For example, the quarters for the local workers are about the same size as the quarters for American expatriates. Also, expatriates will be taken to Luanda for medical surgery if seriously injured, but Angolans can only be treated on the rig by a medic. Moreover, several regulations prohibit Angolan workers from entering the Expat section.
The ethical issues in this case are: first, is it ok to treat the American expatriates and Angolan workers so differently? If so, to what extent is it acceptable?
From a view of legal standpoint, there is no legal issue existed based on the article, nor does the writer have any knowledge about the written laws that prevent the oil company of doing so.
In the “categorical imperative” principle, Kant states that “One ought only to act such that the principle of one’s act could become a universal law of human action in a world in which one would hope to live”. He also thinks that “One ought to treat others as having intrinsic value in themselves, and not merely as means to achieve one’s ends”. However, in the case, the disparities between local workers and Americans indicate clearly that the Angolans are treated as means. First, 30 Americans are in an area equal in square footage to that of the Angolan workers. The huge difference is so unreasonable that this might be considered as discriminate. What’s worse, a tacit regulation exists prohibiting Angolan workers from entering the Expat section. Although not explicitly written, it is obvious that no basic respect can be seen from this rule. Also, lack of communication between expatriates and Angolans is another problem. It is understandable that the different languages they speak partially prevent the communication; however, there are still many other ways to show care and amity to Angolans. Regretfully, none of these approaches are taken by expatriates. Moreover, if seriously injured, Angolan workers only have the amputation operation performed on the rig by a medic. The ignorance and indifference treatment to Angolan workers makes people feel bad. Life and health are important to everyone and should be treated the same way. In all, the American expatriates take the local workers as means of the drilling and as tools of finishing the work. If the Americans were asked whether they are willing to be treated the same way like they treat the Angolans, their answer would be a big “no”. Then why create such a word that no one would hope to live? Besides, from the economic view, the disparities in the two parties definitely affect the interpersonal relations. As a result, no mutual sense of mission and accomplishment can be achieved for the oil company.
The “reasonable person”, according to Kant, would expect to live in the world where there are respects, communication, and care between people. The living conditions, food qualities and medical attention may vary, but not to such an unreasonable extent. For example, workers and administrators can share the entertainment room. When injured, the standard medical process should be performed based on the severity of Injury rather than on the identity. If this story was presented on the newspaper, there would be criticize on the company and the company image would be considered as “non-humanity”. The moral restrictions will drag down the company’s economic performance, eventually.

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