In order to identify at what stage of global corporate citizenship the company is, it is necessary to assess its activities in all eight aspects that include 20 principles.
As far as ethical business behavior is concerned, Massey Energy Corporation lags far behind the requirements posed by higher levels of global corporate citizenship. Namely, it does not practice ethical oversights at the board level and does not set any ethical standards for its employees (as long as they run as much coal as it is required). However, the popularity of the company’s products in 13 countries allows inferring that its business practices in relation to stakeholders are fair (otherwise, they would soon fail to export coal abroad).
The situation is, therefore, better with stakeholder commitment. Judging by the position of Massey in the national and global markets (it has been selling its product to more than a hundred industrial, metallurgical, and utility customers for rather a long period of time), customer satisfaction is rather high. It is not indicated in the case how the company communicates with its stakeholders; yet, its success implies that the leaders are still able to engage in a genuine dialogue and implement effective communication strategies. However, taking into account that this is counteracted by total negligence of employees’ needs, it cannot be said that the company organizes its activities to the advantage of all stakeholders.
As for relationships with the community, Massey Energy is not detached from the social environment. It made donations to scholarship programs, provided emergency support to the region during natural disasters, supported local educational institutions, and gave jobs to the population. Yet, the relationship has never been reciprocal since the corporation conceals all its operations from the community.
Consumer principles were followed only partially. On the one hand, the company offers quality products and services to the population, which indicates that it cares about its customers and respects their rights. On the other hand, it fails to provide truthful information about its practices. It seems that its leaders are aware of the fact that is knowing details about their working conditions and employment issues, a lot of potential consumers might be scared off by the company’s unethical conduct.
The lowest score goes to Massey’s ability to observe global corporate principles related to employees. Actually, the company fails in all aspects: It does not provide a family-friendly work environment (employees work in fear of making a mistake, which will result in losing one’s job); its human resource management is highly irresponsible (a lot of safety rules were violated, which led to life losses); no reward systems are in place for employees (their wages are cut each time they fail to meet the requirements); the top management does not engage in communication with workers or invest in their learning and development (all the operations performed are aimed exclusively at maximizing profits).
Details of Massey’s connections with their investors and suppliers are not provided in the case. However, its leading positions in the market indicate that the company strives for a competitive return on investment and involves in fair practices with its suppliers.
Finally, there is no demonstration of the organization’s commitment to the environment. It implements a widely accepted practice for mountaintop removal mining to apply explosives for eliminating the top layers. This leads to a number of environmental problems (dumping of the valleys, killing wildlife, contaminating rivers, etc.). Despite the fact that Massey Energy paid a fine for violating the Clean Water Act, it continued following the same path. This allows stating that sustainable development is not among the company’s priorities.
The analysis of each category of corporate citizenship principles reveals that the company is far from innovative, integrated, or transforming stages. Some of its activities characterize it as being at the second stage (engaged): for instance, functional ownership as far as its structure is concerned. However, the majority of business practices are still at the elementary level. This can be proven by the following examples.
First, as it has already been mentioned, citizenship content (which refers to the sustainability of operations) is at a very low level. Massey Energy does not demonstrate effective shareholder and resource management. Neither does it care about environmental protection. Although the organization is the leader in the coal market, it maintains its position mainly due to providing half of all the electricity generated in the United States and therefore being highly useful for the government. Second, the strategic intent of the company is based exclusively upon legal compliance. Even in this respect, the corporation managed to cheat, keeping two books. This also indicates that its operations were not transparent (flank protection was more typical).
Third, leadership can be characterized as being totally out of touch. Yet, there is a paradox in this aspect. It is evident from the case the Blankenship had a reputation as a detail-oriented and deeply engaged CEO: He even lived in the coalfields and insisted on approving every operation and figure to ensure that they correspond to the plan. Yet, at the same time, there was no way for employees to approach him with any problem whatsoever, especially if it could lead to a tie-up that would negatively affect productivity. Workers were fired for poor performance if they dared complain about safety issues. Thus, the CEO was very close to the work process but out of touch with his people. The same can be attributed to stakeholder relationships, which were likely to be interactive with customers but totally unilateral with workers.
Another dimension, issues management, can be called defensive. Blankenship never introduced any policies to solve technological and HR problems that existed in the organization. Instead of that, he opted for concealing them and finding excuses to continue following the selected course.
These examples prove that in spite of being a huge and successful corporation, Massey Energy cannot boast of fair, sustainable, and innovative practices. The organization has never strived to introduce any kind of innovation unless it could increase the amount of extracted coal (no matter by what means and at what human costs).