Diagnosing Conflict Using the Circle of Conflict or Triangle of Satisfaction Model

Assignment: Diagnosing Conflict Using the Circle of Conflict or Triangle of Satisfaction Model

During the spring of 2010, an oil rig explosion on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in one of the largest oil spills in history. As the weeks progressed and environmental problems increased, a myriad of suggestions, plans, proposals, and arguments were put forward. Each varied significantly, based on the particular group that proposed the solution and its involvement in the oil spill.

Research the British Petroleum Gulf of Mexico oil spill of spring 2010. Use the Circle of Conflict Model or the Triangle of Satisfaction model to analyze the event from three varying positions: BP, the state of Louisiana, and the United States federal government. You may use either the Circle of Conflict or Triangle of Satisfaction Model for your analysis. Write a paper outlining your completed model for diagnosing conflict. You must include outside research to support your findings. Make sure that you use credible resources for your research.

Create a mind map of your analysis with the oil spill as the problem at the center and the three different organizations as the first level from the center. From each of these, you should include additional information, such as the various viewpoints, plans of actions, etc. Provide minimum 5 references.

Diagnosing Conflict Using Circle of Conflict – BP Oil Spill – Sample Answer


The oil spill in Deepwater Horizon is the biggest marine oil spill in the world history. BP Oil Spill incident was as a result of a blast on the Deepwater Horizon platform of offshore oil nearly 50 miles southeastern part of the Mississippi River delta. The incident took place on April 20, 2010 resulting to the death of 11 workers and 14.2 million barrels of oil spilling after Deepwater Horizon sank in the water about 5000 feet. Deepwater Horizon was owned by BP who had contracted Transocean to operate Macondo Prospect. The incident resulted into a conflict regarding who was responsible for the incident, the blame going to the parties responsible for the project. They included the BP, Louisana a local government and the federal. (Cleveland, 2013) This paper employs the circle of conflict model to resolve this conflict.

Resolving the Conflict

This conflict will be resolved by use of circle of conflict model. According to this model, conflict is caused by five aspects which include interests, values, relationships, structural and data. Each aspect can contribute to conflict individually or a conflict can be as a result of combined causes (Kotrv, 2012).  Below is the analysis of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with regard to the model:

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Data: The main conflict in this case regarded who was responsible for the incident. The main reason as to why it was not easy to identify the actual party who was responsible was due to missing information. There was no information regarding the actual cause of the spill that resulted to the explosion. The actual way to resolve this was by identify the actual cause so that the three parties could know who failed to accomplish their duties comprehensively. BP was basically the owner of the company and thus the owner of the project that caused the incident. On the other hand, the federal government permitted for the project and thus responsible of false assurance, the Louisana state government was responsible for inspecting the ground and giving the authorization of the operation limit by evaluating the risk value. There the establishment of the major cause of spill would determine who among the three was supposed to curb the spill and why they failed in this to establish the person responsible.

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Structural: the structural aspect focuses on how the three parties are relating to each other. The owner of the project was BP who had issued a full contract to Transocean, and thus Transocean was working under BP but without or with minimal supervision. The government authorized the drilling besides knowing the danger, however, leaving the supervision role to the state of Louisana government. Therefore to resolve the issue, party with the upper hand should be identified.  The local government had to inspect every single level before authorizing the other. BP was supposed to ensure the best security measures when drilling after the authorization. There was no clear structure control structure between the BP and the local government. The two were supposed to be on the lookout before, during and after a drill.

Relationships: The three parties were responsible of the safety of the well at different measures. However, they started blaming each other after the incident. Federal government could not have authorized drilling associated with such great risks. The BP Company could have ensured that every fault is sealed while the Louisiana could have ascertained that every fault is sealed. Assumption could have been the major caused of this relation. The assumption that one party was responsible then the other is what created the problem. Accepting responsibilities and failure to take them would assist in resolving this conflict.

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Value and Focus: BP believed that their project was approved by the BP because it was safe enough to be carried out and thus, the responsibility for the project failure was theirs. The federal government on the other hand believed that the company understood the nature of the project and thus, they knew the risks involved. Therefore, they were supposed to be careful enough. The BP also believed that the state of Louisana was well aware of the project and their approval to move to the next stage was an assurance the previous drills were successful and thus safe. State of Louisana then believed that BP was responsible of successful drilling since they were to benefit more on the project and theirs was just an assurance to clear the air. The best way to resolve this is by evaluating how deep did each party go to accomplish their duties and was not done by each parties without focusing on their believes. This can be defined based on the constitution and the contract.

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Interest: The problem has already happened and resulted to a huge loss including to the loss of life. This must be compensated and thus, the parties must take charge in compensating this. The problem arises when every part want to avoid to be considered responsible. The main interest is to avoid being blamed for the problems and thus being held responsible for the losses. In this case it is hard to reconcile them since compensation is very high and thus, the powerful ones will continue blaming the weak to avoid the punishment involved.

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