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ExxonMobil Company Overview Report

Introduction: What One Needs to Know about ExxonMobil

Reaching the number five spot in the top 2000 companies of 2014 (The world’s biggest public companies, 2014) is obviously an achievement, and ExxonMobil has clearly proved to have the potential to evolve and impress. After a few minor alterations and a huge redesign of its resourcing strategy in 2010, ExxonMobil seemed to have everything to become a prime example of economic growth and business evolution. However, due to major dents in its HR strategy, the company may be facing another era of going downhill.

Company background: watching ExxonMobil being born

To be completely honest, ExxonMobil owes a considerable part of its success to its predecessors, the Standard Oil Company. There is no secret that Standard Oil was huge in 90s; therefore, creating a merger with Imperial Oil seemed the most legitimate step to be taken (A guide to the ExxonMobil historical collection, 1790-2004: Part 1, n. d., para. 2).

Thus, the ExxonMobil Company was born. With Rex W. Tillerson at the helm and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as ExxonMobil’s key stakeholder (Park & Lee, 2013, December 6), it seems quite reasonable that the company has become so powerful.

HR: Strategic Plan

Element Decsription
Strategic Planning Long Range Perspective
  • Corporate philosophy: striving for success
  • Environment: Strained
  • Strengths: efficacy
  • Constraints: competition
Operational Planning Middle Range Perspective
  • Planned programs: staff training course;
  • Seminar on time management
Budgeting: Annual Perspective
  • $ 185 billion in five years ($37 billion a year)
Issues Analysis
  • Business Needs: improving competitiveness by hiring better professionals
  • External factors: outsourcing
Forecasting Requirements
  • Staffing levels: 300
  • Staffing mix: 65% of resources
Action Plans
  • Recruiting highly professional employees

Locating the problem: ExxonMobil and its ethical code

While the company’s performance is clearly beyond outstanding, certain concerns have been recently raised regarding ExxonMobil’s company ethics.

According to the latest records of the company’s human resource management, ExxonMobil defied its LGBT members their rights: “Some 80% of shareholders voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s anti-discrimination policy” (Grindley, 2012, May 30). As a result, the current HR policy results in company losing the chances to hire experts and selecting less competent employees because of their gender and personal preferences.

Thesis statement

Unless the ExxonMobil Company recognises the necessity to update the company’s ethics and reconsider the company’s policy towards the representatives of the LGBT community, the progress that has placed the company on the fifth spot in the Forbes ranking of the top 2000 companies of the year will inevitably be reversed, and the ExxonMobil Company’s untimely demise will follow.

ExxonMobil and What It Has to Offer: The Company’s Purpose, Examined

ExxonMobil’s vision: being the best of the best

With the company’s key goals revolving around becoming bigger, obtaining greater revenues, attracting more customers and expanding its influence on other companies, it will not be a surprise to find out that the company’s vision concerns “being the world’s premier petroleum and petrochemical company” (ExxonMobil, n. d., para. 1).

ExxonMobil’s mission: money and profit as the focus of attention

Likewise, the company’s mission praises the same concept of being the best and – arguably – being the company with the top annual grossing rates. As the official mission statement says, the company leader wants to “achieve superior financial and operating results” (ExxonMobil, n. d., para. 1). While there is nothing wrong with this kind of mission, it is desirable that the company could focus on its organizational behaviour and ethical principles better.

From the SHR Axis Perspective: ExxonMobil’s Corporate Values, Reconsidered

System: powered by operations integrity

Despite the company’s ethical policy, which is far from flawless, its production process organization is truly outstanding. Tillerson has managed to integrate the company’s processes fully. By using a smart principle of supply and value chain management (Oz, 2009, p. 40), the Exxon has managed to deliver incredible results and outsmart its key competitors.

Organization: from the CEO to an ordinary employee

The principles of the company’s organization are rather simple. Exxon is headed by its CEO, Rex Tillerson, who is responsible for creating the action plan for ExxonMobil and distributing responsibilities among the company’s managers; a board of directors; and the company’s numerous managers and employees (Exxon Mobil Corporation, n. d.).

People: in search for experts with an outstanding attitude

ExxonMobil is very straightforward in its HRM principles. According to the company’s policies, the CEO is interested in hiring people who are highly professional. The rest is of minor concern for the HR specialists and for the CEO. The recent complaints regarding the company infringing the rights of the LGBT representatives employed at ExxonMobil, however, proves that Tillerson has misrepresented the company’s hiring policies.

Culture: striving for delivering the top results

The idea of pursuing excellence is not bad; on the contrary, the focus on the quality of the employees’ performance predisposes the factors for creating a very decent organizational environment. However, it is also important to focus on the relationships within the company. Ignoring the fact that these are live people that they are dealing with, the company resource managers face the threat of employee satisfaction rates decreasing, as well as the following reduction in employees’ motivation and productivity.

In fact, Exxon’s culture can be defined as hierarchical one, since the company’s leader has created a specific structure of responsibilities delegation and has assigned each of the company members with a unique role.

The great controversy: concerning equality principles

Since there is no way to ignore the “elephant in the room,” one must address the awkwardly infamous case of the LGBT representatives’ complaint. According to the official statement made in press, the company was accused of discrimination after “hiring managers allegedly chased after the less-qualified prospect while ignoring the applicant linked to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community” (Hsu, 2013, May 23, p. B2).

Approach towards Resourcing: Choosing the Unconventional Methods of Outsourcing


It is quite remarkable that the company is both developing economically and regressing ethically. One of the major HR changes that ExxonMobil has made recently concerns its agreement with the government to cooperate (Exxon pressures government to lift oil export restrictions, 2012, para. 1). Moreover, the company has recently had a $1,000,000,000 contract with local vendors (Mishra, 2009, August 30).


Keeping the track of changes in the realm of the information technology era is not easy. Presupposing that new media, including social networks, should be included into the process of data search, it requires impressive analytical skills and the ability to make crucial decisions fast (Haddock, Wilk & Pfitzmann, 2009). The ability to navigate in the informational flood of the XXI century is clearly one of the ExxonMobil Company’s key assets.


One of the weirdest things about ExxonMobil is that it disregards such an HR option as outsourcing. It should be noted, though, that the company does hire personnel from other companies, yet for rather unique purposes. As the recent data says, the company has been facing a range of issues regarding the Chad conflict and, as a result, had no other choice but to hire the experts for facilitating the company’s performance during the Matabele War (Hoghschild, 2012).

HR Related Pressures and Challenges: Introducing Tolerance

Unfortunately, ExxonMobil has gained a rather notorious reputation over the course of its existence, particularly due to its policy towards the representatives of the LGBT community. Unlike other companies, ExxonMobil refused to provide the employees that belonged to the LGBT communities with specific privileges. As a result, the company was shunned by liberalists, yet suddenly gained the support of conservatives.

The company’s course regarding its choice of staff leads to creating rather disturbing moods within the organization. Therefore, the style of the human resource management predetermines the company’s organization culture and ethics, therefore, misguiding its employees and creating an environment that lacks diversity.

The lack of diversity principles in ExxonMobil

As the evidence provided above shows, ExxonMobil could definitely use more diversity in its HRM policies. Although the company’s production processes are impeccable and well-coordinated with the rest of the procedures, i.e., the supply chain management, resourcing, product promotion and communication with the customers in order to collect their feedback, the quality of relationships among the employees of the ExxonMobil Company is deplorable. Without proper control of the company leader, the HR department discriminates against the representatives of the LGBT movement.

Developing a sound diversity program for ExxonMobil: suggestions

Since the HR department, uses the lack of supervision based on their prejudice, ExxonMobil must change the HRM style to the transformational one. Thus, the possibility of introducing better ethical principles and new patterns of organizational behaviour will become possible through changing the managers’ and employee’ motivation (Parolini, Patterson & Winston, 2009).

Performance Management Process: Putting the Emphasis on Quality

ExxonMobil is credited as not only one of the most prosperous enterprises in the world, but one of the most successful companies period. In many ways, Exxon owes its achievements to the specific performance management process (PMP) (Oakes & Gallagan, 2011, p. 212), as well as performance evaluation principles. By using a global PMP, Tillerson manages to coordinate the actions of the company’s affiliates.

Culture: ExxonMobil Attempting at Keeping in Pace with Progress

Women at the helm: gender equality as the key to the HR strategy

Speaking of the notorious HR principles and the organization culture aimed solely at gaining profit, one must mention that the situation with women employment has miraculously improved. For no obvious reason, Exxon Company has shown that it offered career options to a number of women.

It was not that ExxonMobil would be open-minded enough to offer its female employees directors’ chairs; however, women are provided with equal benefits, as well as equal salaries and incentives. Thus, it begs the question why Exxon is so unwilling to provide the same options for the LGBT representatives.

Motivation and retention in ExxonMobil

As ExxonMobil’s official statement on the company’s financial and HR policies states, the employees are motivated by both financial incentives and the public recognition of their skills, which is provided as an appraisal, a letter of gratitude, etc. In the recent years, the range of incentives has been extended to include the following items: a savings plan, a pension plan, medical coverage, disability insurance and life insurance (Employee benefits, n. d.)

Company Rituals and Their Significance: Creating a Specific Pattern

As it has been stressed, ExxonMobil puts shockingly little effort in developing its organizational culture. With a major emphasis on employees’ performance, Tillerson does not seem to care about the relationships between the employees. As a result, prejudices are very common in the company.

The fact that ExxonMobil has practically no team spirit related rituals does not make the situation any better. It could be suggested that the employees should be taught about the significance of teamwork. Thus, ethical values could be enhanced within the company.

Rex Tillerson’s Leadership Style and Principles: Taking Chances

Tillerson’s leadership style can be described as laissez-faire combined with the elements of authoritarian style, which is not necessarily a good thing. Allowing his employees enough room for making the choices related to the production process and the use of resources, especially the human ones, Tillerson seems very stringent about organizational processes control and supervision. As a result, the company delivers outstanding results, yet discrimination issue persists in ExxonMobil.

Major Transitions: Switching from a Direct-Served Retail Market

A sudden switch from a direct-served retail management must have been the riskiest step that Tillerson has ever taken. Though adapting to the changes was not easy, Tillerson managed to make the process as little painstaking as possible. Using retail services, the company has acquired a range of new business partners.

Key factors triggering the change

Because of a sharp increase in the price of crude oil, ExxonMobil leader has found it financially devastating to manage gas stations using the principle of direct-served retail. It is obvious that, unless the oil priced had gone through the roof in 2000, ExxonMobil would have not been in existence for another decade.

Taking Kotter’s eight steps

Speaking of the way in which the deviation from the traditional direct-served retail was carried out, one must mention that ExxonMobil needed the change badly. In 2000, the price for crude oil made $27.39 (nominal) and $37.19 (inflation adjusted) (McMahon, 2014, March 6). Compared to the corresponding $16.56 and $23.20 in 1999, the change was truly drastic. Unless Tillerson had undertaken the required measures, the company would have ceased to exist.

Despite the fact that Tillerson never emphasised the significance of creating the team spirit that would enhance the company’s productivity, he did assemble a group of people, with the help of whom he managed to carry out the transformation of the Standard Oil into the ExxonMobil.

The vision of the company has clearly been shifted from the original one towards delivery of the results. The original vision and mission had an original concept of corporate ethics, aiming at satisfying the customers: “Standard Oil mission is to be the most successful oil refinery company in the country” (Standard Oil, n. d., para. 1). However, this concept was replaced with the idea of earning better revenues.

Merging between Exxon and Mobil can be viewed as the company’s broad-based action. Tillerson conjured an admittedly good plan with detailed description of key stages, thus, leading the company to success. The redistribution of roles and responsibilities has also contributed to Exxon’s rapid success.

Speaking of the “never letting up” principle, one must recall the infamous issue of discrimination spotted at Exxon. Skipping the seventh step of Kotter’s system cost the company its reputation among liberalist public.

As for incorporating changes into the company’s culture, arguably, Exxon succeeded in Kotter’s principles implementation. Tillerson’s employees seem to be concerned solely with the efficacy of their performance. Nevertheless, the aforementioned lack of diversity must be affecting the relationships among the staff in a negative way, especially when it comes to the communication between few representatives of minorities and the rest of the staff.

Implementing changes: about the tools

The changes, which were implemented as the company refused to utilise the old principles of direct-service retail, were enhanced with the help of such tools as expansion and mergers. It was obvious that a rapid change in the company’s trading policy would reduce Exxon’s revenues.

Hence the need to acquire the support of other business partners emerged. While being apart, Exxon and Mobile were rather vulnerable towards the outside factors; when combining their forces, they could resist a range of risks by using the principle of noninsurance transfer (Rejda & McNamara, 2014, p. 13).

Types of ExxonMobil’s Innovations

Making the technology of tomorrow work today

ExxonMobil’s greatest and by far the most successful marketing point concerned the company’s devotion to the so-called technology of tomorrow (ExxonMobil, n. d.a). While fascinating the general audience and being a very clever advertising step, the given statement hardly has anything to do with groundbreaking technology.

After all, the fuel cell technology, which ExxonMobil uses to produce oil, is not that innovative – in fact, it was not in the distant 2000 already (Fuel cell technology, 2000, August 20, para. 2). However, there are other domains, in which the company’s original approach shines through.

Unique innovation management process

The innovation management process, on the other hand, deserves to be taken a much closer look at. Presupposing that two processes should be run simultaneously, i.e., the business process and the research, innovation management at ExxonMobil is split into generating the idea and testing its feasibility and technical readiness (Bhore, 2011, p. 3), and checking whether the strategic needs are correlated with the business ones, with the immediate commercialization of the final product (Bhore, 2011, p. 3).

Corporate Image of ExxonMobil: An Ethically Bankrupt Genius

Despite the fact that the company’s ethical choices have raised a few eyebrows, most people still admit that ExxonMobil is an extraordinary enterprise.

ExxonMobil and Branding: A Knowhow Company

Despite the fact that none of the technology related choices that ExxonMobil has made so far can be considered groundbreaking, it positions itself to the target audience as a technologically advanced entrepreneurship. Tillerson has learned the power of the collocation “latest technology” very quickly, which led to him branding ExxonMobil as a knowhow company (Ducey, 2014).

Conclusion: What Could Have Been Managed Better

One of the weirdest things about ExxonMobil is that it could have been an extraordinarily good example of what corporate ethics, leadership strategy and organizational behaviour should be. Tillerson has recently demonstrated a very strong tendency to promote gender equality within the company, which is a rather decent and impressive step.

Tillerson’s next move should have been aimed at providing the LGBT representatives with equal rights; however, seeing how it would have destroyed the company’s reputation among more conservative public, Tillerson preferred to choose another HR strategy. To gain even more respect, Tillerson should take risks and redesign ExxonMobil’s HR strategy; even though conservatives may disapprove of such a step, the company will still be respected for staying true to its ethical principles.

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Hsu, T. (2013). Exxon is accused of bias against LGBT job seekers. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from ProQuest.

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Oakes, K. & Gallagan, T. (2011). The executive guide to integrated talent management. New York, NY: American Society for Training and Development.

Oz, E. (2009). Strategic use of information systems. In Effy Oz (ed.), Management information Systems (pp. 39–75). Stanford, CT: Cengage Learning.

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Parolini, J., Patterson, K. & Winston, B. (2009). Distinguishing between transformational and servant leadership. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 30(3), 274–291.

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