Essay on Enron : A Nation 's Greatest Success Stories

Essay on Enron : A Nation 's Greatest Success Stories

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Enron, one of our nation’s greatest success stories, was riddled with fraud, insider trading and a complex account scheme amongst other things. The board of directors set a standard of business that honored the values of respect, integrity, and excellence. The issue was, the company didn’t follow what it preached and corruption trickled down the corporate ladder. Enron set such a high level of intense competition that it used a system referred to as “rank and yank” which promotes employees to compete not only with rival companies but also with each other. While the board of directors attempted to set ethical business standards they weren’t complying with anything other than their non-existent ethical values. Allowing their employees greed and need for power to overstep the need for ethical compliance throughout the company. This lack of corporate culture at Enron was based off individual factors such as an apathetic culture, intense competition and a lack of ethical compliance, which contributed to the firm’s rise and fall
Enron didn’t rise to the power that it eventually became overnight. It began as a merger of two gas pipeline companies in 1985. Enron provided wholesale as well as retail sales of energy through natural gas and electricity. In the 16 years that followed the merger, the ethos of greed, arrogance and negligence set in place by Chairman Ken Lay, CEO Jeffery Skilling and CFO Andrew Fastow, was one that is unmatched to this day in Corporate American history. This apathetic culture, defined in Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases as “showing minimal concern for either people or performance,” where the individuals focus on their own self–interest rather than the interest of shareholders is where a compa...


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...arian would not have allowed a rank and yank system because it creates more opportunity for the employee to act unethically in order to get ahead. The board of directors was caught selling off shares in order to cover themselves when in the future they would end up laying off 4,000 employees and destroying these employees’ retirement plans. A utilitarian would not have to make this choice because he or she would not allow things to escalate to this point.
Enron functioned as a company that failed at upholding the ethical values its board of directors initially attempted to instate. Over the course of its years in power the company’s board of directors failed to act ethically. The downfall of the corporate culture at Enron can be attributed to an apathetic culture, intense competition and an overall lack of ethical compliance, which ultimately destroyed the company.

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