Organizational Redesign at BPCL The Challenge of Privatization


The assignment focuses on the outcomes of the study of the module-Organizational Behaviour which deals with the importance of the organizational principles in any company linked to its success in long run. I have focused myself to study the Case of BHARAT PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED in reference to change of organisation structure bringing in success.

Though the objective of the study is to analyse the organisation in the context of dynamics of change affecting its very functioning with respect of organizational issues, the limitation of the study is inability to take up all issues considering organisation behaviour.

In 1952 two different companies Shell Petroleum Company and Burmah Oil Company, UK signed an agreement with the Indian Government to prepare a new refinery in Mumbai and the name of the refinery was Burmah Oil Refineries Ltd. In 1957 it started and worked in a proper flow, In 1976 Indian Government changed their policy and nationalized the petroleum industry. Indian Government acquired the complete equity in Burmah Oil Refineries Ltd and changed from Burmah Oil Refineries Ltd to Bharat Refineries Ltd. In 1977 the Indian Government again changed its name to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL).

Industry Environment

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Indian governments acquired BPCL in 1970 in the act of nationalisation arrangement of Indian government's. In 1991 It was monitored and under the supervision of government till economic reorganizations. Government monitored the all the expenses, raw materials and the end products purchase and selling price, manufacture capacity, uses of the raw materials, circulation, and what is the return on investment were monitored by the government. Three main combined marketing and purifying companies were there at that time and many small and independent companies were supplying their product to these companies. Government improved their strategy for work and enlarged the distribution network in all over the country, like setup new retail outlets to reduce the competition along with their competitor.


As a part of the ongoing economic reforms the government was actively pursuing privatization of the public sector companies.

A couple of senior managers' state "Privatization is a slight that will happen. One can't bother too much about the future without knowing what is going to happen. It is inevitable and we can't do about it."

"We don't know what will happen to BPCL and us. Tomorrow we may not exist as BPCL. We might become a part of Shell or Reliance or some other organization." The impeding competition as well as the uncertainty of existence in the present form created anxiety in the organization across all levels. Some considered it to be an opportunity where as others considered it as a let down by the government and the organization. The organization initiated numerous changes in order to transform itself to face the future competition.

Initiation of the Restructuring Process

The initiation for restructuring the organization was by the personal initiative of the CMD Mr. U Sundararajan. He had earlier been appointed by the government to study the petroleum industry in other countries as a preamble for deregulation. He had formed a cross well-designed team for studying the effectiveness of the models followed by different countries. Mr.

Sundararajan and the team studied more than two hundred books and numerous articles on deregulation, oil industry and best practices. Mr. Sundararajan realized the inability of his organization to compete with MNCs with deregulation. He started the reorganization process through discussions with the top management, the board and the government

The path which BPCL LTD choose to face the competition and initiatives taken in terms of organizational Behaviour has been assessed in this assignment.

For the purpose of analyzing the focus was laid down on key aspects of organization behavior which are organizational structure, change of team and organizational culture and climate in terms of Coaches of Organizational Learning which can be correlated to the case.

Coaches of Organizational Learning

Consultants from Innovation Associates (a subsidiary of ADL) initially trained a group of trainer in systems idea and organizational education. A team of around thirty full time coaches and more than sixty part time coaches were trained in turn by these. These coaches conducted two programs namely 'Visionary Leadership Planning' (VLP) and 'Foundations of Organisational Learning' (FOL). More than six hundred managers have undergone VLP and more than five thousand management and non-management staff have undergone FOL. VLP program is designed to help teams clarify and understand reasons for their unique existence, co-create team aspirations, realistically assess current reality and formulate a Strategy to cover up the gap. The teams identify High Leverage Results they are passionate about and assign responsibilities to a few members with the whole team agreeing to support the process. FOL program is designed to create a common language of learning in organizations. The coaches were instrumental in creating a non-threatening atmosphere for change and also in providing the inputs on systems thinking and learning organization, enabling effectiveness of the various task forces empowered for quick result changes.

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One of the trainer states

"We have applied for instructor education with skeptism. We later realized the importance of systems ideas and organizational education. The first program was a mind opening experience. The inputs on functional silos reflected our organization. Now we are hardcore followers of systems ideas".


Communication played a important role during out the change process. A bulletin was promoted that provided usual updates to the whole organization about the visioning exercise, the assessment of current reality, status of the quick fix opportunities and the new structure. In every stage the break through teams had a high level of interaction with the concerned divisions. The informal channel of communication was also taken care of by including community from all realistic constituencies in the change & break through teams. A top down approach was used to communicate the change plan with help from the break through team members.

One CUSECS member reiterates

"Communication played a fundamental role in CUSECS project. The common updates through the newsletter and informal communication through the members to their parent departments was useful in updating the whole organization quickly. We identified enablers in each department, people who are opinion shapers and we particularly embattled them. We convinced them first and then asked them to communicate to others about the change"

Top Management Involvement

The CMD was occupied throughout the reorganization process. He communicated his hold to the change activities by personal involvement, and regular appreciation to the change management team and the particular task forces. He played the role of a mentor to the team members. He also interacted with a large number of employees during the visioning, assessment and finishing point stages. Young managers recount stories of his support to the change team, where he gave total freedom to come up with creative ideas and safe guarded them from backlashes from well-known constituencies.

Mr. Sundararajan recalls

"In the prime period I talked to lots of group of people regarding the need for reorganization. The leader has to 'act' not just 'talk'. Lip service will not work for long. If individual says one will take of care of the subordinates then one has to when something happens"

Change Opportunities for Quick Results

During the assessment process, the break through teams identified many opportunities where small changes were likely to produce foremost results. Special task forces for working on the identified opportunities were created and started working in equivalent. The job forces were provided with adequate training and were in constant communication with the break through teams. At one point of time there were more than six hundred task forces working across the organization on thousands of opportunities identified in the change plan. Market study, brand building, packaging, operational efficiency of plants, correct quantity and quality of products, cash collections, and safety are some areas where task forces worked to produce quick results.

Creating a Shared Vision

The visioning exercise was conducted to develop clarity and common understanding about the potential of the association. The visioning work out started with the panel. The exercise was extended across the company in a escalation approach flowing from the top management to the junior management facilitated by internal experts trained particularly for the same.

The core of the vision as articulated by the organizational members across the organization is given below.

Be the BEST Establish first class brands and Make the workplace exciting corporate image Improve boundary management Excellent customer care and service Fulfill social responsibilities, to Go for excellent performance and ethical operational efficiency Apply the best technology. Make people a source of improvement Make systems strong and dynamic.

Below figure elaborates the nine broad themes in the shared vision of BPCL. The visioning exercise provided an opportunity for articulation of the aspirations of the people. The process brought the whole organization out of lethargy, and increased the energy levels and expectations on persons, teams and the company. Since the vision was iterated throughout the organization, there was greater buy in for the change.

One of the managers states

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"We were all amazed that the vision was so much in unison across the organization. It clearly stated that people had great aspirations but never expressed them. This exercise made us realize the possibilities for the future of BPCL".

Change Plan

Based on the inputs from the shared vision and current reality, a workshop was conducted to develop a change plan. The change plan came to six volumes with over one thousand and six hundred pages.

The change plan included the

Organizational assessment

Well defined corporate values

Vision articulated in terms of critical business processes, and

Areas of change to achieve the vision

Organizational Assessment - Current Reality

Based on the initial diagnosis by the CUSECS team and the visioning workshop for top management, it was decided that an organization wide assessment exercise would be conducted simultaneously with the shared visioning exercise.

Six 'break through' teams were formed. The teams were responsible for assessing the organizational reality in terms of Marketing, Lubricants and Refining Support services and management Logistics processes LPG.

The marketing team looked at the customer management processes, product management processes and execution management processes.

The refining team compared the effectiveness of the refinery; lube oil processing and LPG plants with the best international players taking into account the machinery age and technology employed. Various performance parameters like crude acquisition, energy consumption, and capital expenditure were assessed.

The logistics team also looked at the existing logistics infrastructure, economics of supply and distribution, opportunities for cost reduction, supply points vs. consumption centers, impact of taxes and duty, and comparison with benchmarks and competitors.

The LPG team compared the LPG marketing with that of the international and local competitors. The customer base, pricing policies, interface between the customer and marketing and future plans were critically reviewed.

The lubricants team analyzed the organizational competitive position in comparison to the competition. It also looked at the packaging, pricing, branding, trade channels, the existing joint venture arrangements, and future plans. The team responsible for support services and management processes evaluated the human resource practices (for example work culture, HR processes, training and development, and appraisal and compensation), the information systems (for example use of different software packages, integration and use of IT), and accounting practices in terms of clarity, speed and cost.

The break through teams also assessed the organizational structure in terms of roles and responsibilities, levels and accountability, human resource development in terms of training, appraisal and compensation. Each team interacted with all the stakeholders concerned including the unions, suppliers, distributors, customers, financial institutes, local communities, government officials, and so on. Assessment was carried out in a non- threatening manner, with constant and rich communication of the activities carried out by the break through teams.

The assessment exercise created an internal environment for change. The organizational assessment exercise found the following

Collective dissatisfaction with the status quo

Low customer focus and customer orientation

Huge gap between the vision and capabilities to achieve it, and

Many opportunities for quick improvement

Change Team

A change team was formed with twenty-two managers nominated from various functions across levels. The team size grew to thirty as the project progressed. The team members had varied performance records, educational qualifications and experience. The CMD did not believe in giving importance to those with higher degrees over others. His philosophy was to provide an opportunity to average people in an empowered and enabled environment to achieve great results.

Mr. Sundararajan says

"Initially when we formed the change team I asked for nominations from various departments and they nominated all kinds of people. I did not nominate the best mangers in BPCL because I have observed many times in my career, if people are given the right environment and opportunities they would rise up to it. And my faith was not misplaced. These youngsters did a wonderful job."

The change project was titled CUSECS for Customer Service & Customer Satisfaction. The consultant ADL trained the CUSECS team. The training included topics like negotiations, interpersonal effectiveness, presentations, systems thinking, and best practices. The CUSECS team was provided with all the information and support required to develop skills in diagnosis, change strategy formulation, organization design, and implementation. Those who could not take up the huge workload and stress were requested to leave and join their parent departments. The team conducted a short diagnosis of the organizational issues with facilitation by consultants and made presentations to the top management.

One of the CUSECS team members state:

"We were initially frustrated and unable to understand why ADL wanted us to think through everything ourselves, rather than telling us what is best. Later, we appreciated their approach in enabling us to think and decide for ourselves what is best for the organization. We were trained exhaustively starting from presentation skills, negotiation skills to systems thinking and so on".

Designing the New Structure

There was a clear consensus among the change management team, top management team and the consultants that the functional structure would not be able to sustain initiatives taken to create the customer centric organization. The obvious solution was to create customer centric strategic business units (SBUs). The change management team with assistance of the consultants considered various options. The redesign process took about a month. The CMD was personally involved in this. To prevent any interference from day to day activities he officially took leave and was present as a resource person. The change team discussed the various choices in structure with all the stakeholders. There were apprehensions among senior managers regarding the new structure and no consensus emerged on the new structure. Politicking and power plays were observed, with each function trying to retain the existing status in terms of power and control. Finally the CMD personally called for a meeting of the functional heads and other senior managers. Asking the group to discuss, negotiate and come with a concrete solution acceptable to everyone, he locked the room and waited outside. Finally a design was approved that was acceptable to all. The final structure was not the optimum structure as envisioned by the change team but one acceptable to all the members of the top management team.


The new structure was rolled out in phased manner to ensure effective implementation. The new structure was first implemented in the LPG SBU. Based on the experience, the new design was implemented across the organization with necessary modifications. Further, in each of the proposed SBUs specific regions were identified and the new structure was implemented to verify the smooth functioning before full implementation.

Organizational Structure

The older structure was functionally organized. There were mainly four functions (refineries, marketing, finance and personnel) each headed by an executive director reporting to the (CMD). Other support departments like corporate affairs, legal, audit, vigilance, coordination and company secretary were directly under the CMD.

The Director refinery was in charge of refinery, corporate planning, JV refineries and special projects. Other than corporate finance and marketing finance EDP was also under the Director finance. In marketing, there were different departments for retail, industry, LPG, lubricants and aviation segments. Corporate communication was also under Director meeting.

The whole of India was divided into four regions and further into 22 divisions. Each region was headed by a Regional Manager who was in charge of all activities within the region and reported to the Director marketing. Each region had a manager in charge of each of regional personnel, regional engineering, regional industrial customers, regional retail, and regional finance. Regional LPG was under regional industrial customers. The division was the responsibility of the Divisional Manager reporting to the Regional Manager. He had a manager each for sales, operations and engineering. Each of these was responsible for sales, depots and engineering respectively for all the customer segments.

Across the marketing function, except for the corporate departments (LPG, industrial customer, etc.) specifically looking after a customer segment, every individual and role is focused on multiple customer segments. For example any strategy addressing the industrial customers originates from the Corporate Department (Industrial Customer), goes via the Director Marketing, Regional Manager, Divisional Manager to the Sales Officer. All of them are responsible for multiple customer segments like retail, LPG, industrial, etc. and deal with different classes of customers. Hence there was very low customer awareness in terms of the unique needs of the different customer segments, with no single individual at the operational level having clarity on any single customer segment. Moreover, the marketing strategy was formulated by people who were far from the customer with very low understanding of the customer they were targeting. The implementers were responsible for diverse customers with a low understanding of the logic of these strategies meant for each customer segment. Thus the old structure had created a bottleneck between the strategy formulators and implementers in terms of the regional structure, and between the field staff and the corporate offices and refinery.

Activities of a business process are spread out across different functions and levels of hierarchy, engaging many individuals. There was a long chain of non-value adding linkages between any two activities targeting a business / customer. For example, when an industrial customer gives a special order of lubes to the sales officer, the corporate lubes purchases the base oil, plant blends it, S&D packs it and the sales officer sells it. The Sales Officer would communicate the order to the Divisional Manager, who passes it on to the Regional Manager. Then the order would be routed to the Corporate Lubes for processing. Everyone involved in the activities of this process belong to different functions and hierarchy levels. This long chain of communication had led to a lack of customer orientation, low awareness of customer needs and expectations and slow response.

The New SBU Structure

The new structure was focused on the business processes and the customer.

The new structure at the top management level is the same. Five SBUs - Retail, Lubes, Industry/Commercial, LPG and Aviation are customer centered SBUs and come under the director (marketing). The sixth SBU, Refinery along with two new departments IT & Supply Chain and R&D are under the director (refineries). Each SBU would have its own HR, IS, finance, logistics, sales, engineering, etc. The number of layers in the organization was reduced to four from six or seven.

The major change is the introduction of the territories covering a smaller geographical area and focusing on specific customer segments. In retail SBU the new structure had 669 territories reporting to the four regional offices, where as in the earlier structure there were only 22 divisions which catered to all segments. In other SBUs the regional office was removed and territories were designed to directly report to the SBU heads. Each territory team leader was responsible for sales in the territory only for a specific product. The territory structure was designed to enable the field staff to focus on specific customer segments. Authority was also delegated down the hierarchy and decision making pushed to the lowest possible levels. Decisions earlier taken at the regional level were taken now at the territory level. Further authority was delegated to the role and not the hierarchy level. Administrative offices have been moved to supply locations that consist of 125 terminals for main fuels and 35 LPG bottling ones. In LPG SBU head office there are only nine personnel and across the territories even managers at senior positions have been forced to get business. The new design incorporated recalibration of roles and responsibilities and redeployment of more than two thousand people (around one fifth of total employee strength) across the organization. It created new roles at the front effectively using redundant manpower to increase customer interface and interaction.

Since the corporate and support functions are now located within the SBUs the new design included lateral linkage mechanisms (see Appendix C). Governance Councils, Process Councils, and Task forces (to address specific organizational issues) were the mechanisms for integrating the different parts of the organization.

Some Salient Features of New Structure were

Highly empowered work force

Decentralized decision making

De-linking of authority from hierarchical levels

Orientation towards internal and external customers

Regular market research and customer surveys

Conscious brand building efforts

Organizational Structure before redesign

Organizational Structure after redesign


Bharat Petroleum realises that, in the long run, success can only come with a total reorientation and change in approach with the customer as the focal point. Today, Bharat Petroleum is restructured into a Corporate Centre, Strategic Business Units (SBUs) and Shared Services and Entities.

From the last many years Bharat Petroleum continues face many challenges of the quickly changing environment. Bharat petroleum make advance and changes their products and services according to the changing environment. In day by day changing in bharat petroleum only one factor has remained unchanged this is Bharat Petroleum's employees which are the source of strength and motivation of Bharat Petroleum's in their future innovations. Bharat Petroleum wants their employees to understand the complexity of the market, customer's requirements, and offer the innovative products to meets the customers' requirements.

For Bharat Petroleum, promise by its staffs is a critical resource. BPCL believe that only a cheerful worker will place his best result and a good relationship with the customs, Bharat Petroleum deployed and also will plan to implement several steps to make the organisation a great place to work or worker get best organisation environment. Hewitt Associates conducted a survey for Business Today magazine in the January 2001 issue to identify the best employers, and in this survey Bharat Petroleum was one of top ten employers in India. The main motive of the survey was to discover out which companies had really charged the expressive and intellectual energy of their employees. The companies who were in the top list were Hughes, ICICI, P and G, Asian Paints, Hewlett-Packard, HLL, Infosys, LG and Compaq.

Bharat Petroleum adopts significant value-based HR methods for growth of individuals and their organisational skills with a assessment to provide them with a competitive edge and also to realise their private vision in tandem with the commercial vision.

Bharat Petroleum has been conferred the National HRD Award - 2000 by National HRD Network for making Outstanding Contribution to HRD.

At the National Petroleum Management Programme (NPMP) on Excellence in Creativity and Innovation (1999-2000), Bharat Petroleum employees bagged all the three awards in the individual category, along with four certificates of recognition in the team category.