Management styles in the oil and gas industry
An OPITO case study

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Page 5: Paternalistic

Sometimes managers need to adopt a paternalistic style. This means that they may make decisions without consultation or participation, but they have the employees' best interests at heart. If the decision is presented in this way, although employees are not involved in making the decision, they are less likely to feel unhappy about it. In the oil and gas industry it is important to create for every employee a well-rounded, safe, rewarding and challenging work environment. In this way employees will be motivated to work at their best and actively contribute to creating that safe working and living environment. Abraham Maslow claimed that all workers have a 'hierarchy of needs'. After the basic and safety needs (for example, for food or accommodation) have been met, higher order needs for things like social interaction and self development, need to be addressed. For example, giving responsibility can increase motivation as it implies trust.

The Academy and the oil and gas industry respond to the individual learning and development needs of employees, using at times a paternalistic management style. This helps all staff to develop and grow into competent, flexible and motivated people. Young engineering technicians can join the industry through the Upstream Oil & Gas Technician Training Scheme. In this scheme, suitable recruits are given a choice of career paths and guided through training. The best young talent is selected based on an assessment of their practicality, open-mindedness, team working and vision.

Once young people are employed, they are given many benefits designed to help them develop into the sort of employees the entire industry needs. Responsibility and a capacity to view the bigger picture are encouraged. Individuals are challenged to meet problems and solve them. These things help to grow personal confidence and allow young technicians to see that management gives them trust as well as excellent rewards.

OPITO | Management styles in the oil and gas industry