Enron Was An Energy Company Essay

Enron Was An Energy Company Essay

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Enron was an energy company founded in 1985 that was in the business of “trading commodities, which soon became the largest business site in the world” (Cbc.ca, 2006). By the end of 2001 it was discovered that Enron had created a “complex web of partnerships” (Cbc.ca, 2006) to hide the level of its level of debt and to artificially inflate stock prices. This financial fraud played out in a company whose “ethics code was based on respect, integrity, communication, and excellence (Cengage.com, n.d.). It is evident that these values were a superficial layer of outward facing trust that masked the problems inherent in the company where the espoused values are not the enacted values (Lecture Slides: Slippery Slopes). These problems are “rooted in a combination of the failure of top leadership [that was supported by weak internal controls], a corporate culture that supported unethical behaviour, and the complicity of the investment banking community” (Cengage.com, n.d.). These problems and the company’s failure to address them led to the creation of an unethical work environment that further exacerbated the extent of the financial fraud.

2.0 PROBLEM SYMPTOMS

The problems surrounding the level of power and deregulation of executives, the unethical nature of the company culture, and the availability of complicit partners were manifested throughout every level of the company in the form of unethical behaviour and can be described as symptoms of these greater issues.

The waiving of and lack of internal controls designed to prevent fraudulent behaviour in companies was a reality at Enron. This allowed and provided ample opportunity for the executives of the company to engage in unethical behaviour. For example, one executive attempted to...


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...r peers lower in order to enhance their own positions in the company” (Cengage.com, n.d.). This sort of animosity would have been detrimental to and would have inhibited collaboration among employees in team situations and possibly sabotage. All of these symptoms of a larger culture problem would have partially been responsible for the failures that the company was trying to conceal and show that “intraorganizational competition at the individual level…negatively affect[s] an organization 's efficiency, effectiveness, and ethical climate” (Kulik, O’Fallon & Salimath, 2008). Also, this corporate culture that revolves around the individual rather than a team or the company’s overarching values and long-terms goals would have further affected the company’s ability to pursue any business activities successfully with this kind of a divided and selfish sense of purpose.

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