By the strictest interpretation of the law of the corporate jungle, BP should be doing everything it can to dodge responsibility for the mess it has made of the Gulf of Mexico and to minimize the costs of the cleanup, all in the name of maximizing shareholder
value. Though the list of things the oil giant has done wrong in the Gulf region is very long, BP hasn’t done that.
BP has waived the cap on cleanup liability, exposing itself voluntarily to massive costs to clean up the oil sloshing around the Gulf. The company says it has not fought a single claim for damages. And BP now appears open to cutting its cash dividend to preserve funds for dealing with the disaster.
In doing so, BP has acknowledged that a company’s single-minded focus on near-term shareholder value only goes so far. Mr. Hayward has instead focused on the idea of BP’s “stakeholders,” a much broader view of who matters to the company that he says encompasses the people of the Gulf Coast who are affected by the spill.
Such a stance is heresy according to the gospel of shareholder value that has dominated corporate governance for all of recent memory, wherein all things are secondary to ensuring that stockholders are protected and rewarded.
Dans le cas présent, toutes les parties prenantes (stakeholders) perdent. Si BP avait suivi la norme de la primauté des actionnaires dans sa véritable signification, cela aurait également été bénéfique pour les stakeholders. Et inversement, agir de façon à protéger les stakeholders aurait servi les intérêts des actionnaires.