British Petroleum & the Mushroom Philosophy

Have you ever heard about the Mushroom Philosophy of
Employee Relations?  It is taken in part from the process
of growing mushrooms.

The Mushroom Philosophy is an approach to employee
communications and development that is described as:
“keep them in the dark, feed them manure, and hope they

As I watch British Petroleum’s (BP) half-hearted attempts
to provide data about the oil spill, I keep thinking
that BP is practicing the Mushroom Philosophy of Public
Relations ” (1) keep them in the dark with minimal
information, (2) feed them “garbage” as if it is real
info, and (3) hope the public buys it and thinks well of

HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: The Mushroom Philosophy never works
regardless of the venue – employee relations, public
relations, vendor relations, etc.

In the absence of regular daily briefings and full
disclosure, BP, like any other company facing a crisis, is
letting everyone else tell its story.  In fact, one of the
top stories of this oil disaster is the absence of
information from BP.

Case in point, an Internet article from Scrape TV News
states, “Tony Hayward, the CEO of the company, has
reportedly stopped talking to everyone about the ‘whole
stupid oil thing.'”

If true, it is comments such as this that are causing BP
to lose the whole PR game and ensure that its name will
become synonymous with the Mushroom Philosophy.

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