COPING WITH ETHICAL CONFLICTS IN ORGANIZATIONS
Mark A. McLane, Rose & Associates, LLP
One of the most difficult challenges geoscientists and engineers face in E & P organizations is the continuing issue of organizational pressures to influence their objective estimates of both Reserves and Resources, which, of course, are inherently uncertain. Usually the pressures are for more optimistic volumes and values, but in some cases, conservative pressures may take place. Sometimes such influence may be overt; more often it is subtle, thus deniable by those responsible. The subject professional may feel vulnerable with regard to peer approval, professional career advancement, remuneration, or even job security. Less experienced professionals may be particularly susceptible to such pressures, often having insufficient financial resources to weather a termination. Examples of such pressures will be reviewed in this session.
Remedies to counter inappropriate organizational pressures include 1] Education of staff, supervisors, managers, and executives regarding technology, uncertainty, and ethics; 2] Policies requiring a clear paper trail recording the rationale, maps, calculations, and assumptions involved in estimations of Reserves and Resources; 3] Having respected senior professionals available to mentor younger professionals and counsel senior managers and executives; 4] Having the Reserves and Resources function be independent of operating units, reporting to the corporate Board of Directors, with a senior ombudsman available to mediate material conflicts; 5] Mandating that the compensation and incentives of those responsible for Reserves and Resources estimates are independent of their annual results; and 6] Making clear to all Professionals that, in irresolvable ethical conflicts, they should be prepared to tender honorable resignations, rather than compromise their integrity.
“You are There” Scenarios
Two realistic example scenarios will be presented utilizing PRMS principles, in which the Moderator will introduce an unfolding ethical situation and seek discussion as to resolution at various stages of its resolution. There will be opportunity for role-play involving attendees.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90098©2009 AAPG Education Department, Houston, Texas 9-11 September 2009