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Texaco Case Study

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Symptoms of Problems at Texaco

Identification of Root Problems and Unresolved Issues

Highly qualified African-American employees filed a class action suit against Texaco in 1994, stating that the company failed to promote African-American employees to a higher position and it failed to compensate them in relation to Caucasian employees in similar positions. Throughout the investigation of Texaco if was found that documents would potentially damage Texaco were being withheld. When secret tape recordings from Texaco executives revealed not only vilely insensitive racial attitudes but it also demonstrated the eagerness of the executives to withhold any and all sensitive internal documents pertaining to the discrimination court case.

Discrimination throughout Texaco was a big problem. Texaco's problems were not just with the lower-level employees, but also with the other levels of management. Comments from Caucasian managers were "I never thought I'd see the day when a black woman had an office at Texaco" (Trevino, 2004). Being called uppity and a "smart-mouthed little colored girl" (Roberts, 1996) were only some of the comments made by the Caucasian employees.

The company's problems got worse when a former senior financial analyst wrote a book speaking about the humiliating experiences that minorities faced while at Texaco, this would also include him. These problems continued because the minorities at Texaco were scared to speak up for themselves at the time. When minority employees would file a grievance they would not be addressed and no one would follow through. Management and other employees were scared that their jobs would be given to the minorities and that minorities would have more control than they did. (RW Online, 2004. Texaco: Case Study of Corporate Racism para5). The persons responsible for investigating and reprimanding those who were discriminating never took action against those committing these actions leaving those that were discriminated against feeling powerless in their fight to correct this behavior.

Many of the minority employees felt that issues were not being addressed. This made them feels insecure at their job and helpless. It had become apparent to many that going to management were not going to help alleviate the problem. The total number of people who were discriminated against may never be known, but through the bravery of the few, the prejudice of that behavior has been stopped and has been corrected.

Texaco later implemented a solution for its problems but many thought it was not enough. Rev. Jesse Jackson, in 1996 "urged patrons to carry on with an economic boycott of the oil company" he suggested the boycott would add pressure to Texaco and that they would be pressed in implementing better employment policies for minorities and that these policies would be enforced. (CNN News, 1996).

Roles of Key Players

The employees of Texaco at the time obviously were the ones affected by this discrimination. Peter Bijur, the CEO of Texaco and the key person for the changes that took place in the company, was a key player in this case in the months leading up to the settlement. Other key players for the changes at Texaco were Bari-Ellen Roberts, a former senior financial analyst and Angela Vallot, the Director of the corporate diversity initiatives, who was responsible for the restructuring of the organization's diversity plan. Richard Lundwell, senior coordinator of personnel services in Texaco's finance department who gave the tapes to the plaintiff's lawyers in the discrimination suit, lost his job in August as part of job cuts by Texaco. Ulrich retired in March 1995.

Identification of Root Problems and Unresolved Issues

The executives of Texaco had to admit and take responsibility for the faults and behavior of the organization. The most obvious thing for Texaco was to induce and commit to an overwhelming change. Mr. Bijur had to make it clear that



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