Essay Preview: Enron
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In a matter of simply 15 years, Enron, from being close to a non-entity, expanded to being the seventh largest company of the country with a staff of more than 21,000 people and with offices in more than 40 countries. But lies, shady dealings and blatant deception were the inside story at Enron and when the scandal broke out in 2002, it shook the very foundation of the U.S. economy. It was in the fall of 2001, specifically December 2, when Enron declared bankruptcy. The story of this high-profile corporation rocked America as different versions of the misbehavior of executives at the top and crushing of the victims at the bottom circulated across the nation. This fall was no ordinary fall Ð²Ð‚” it was a collapse which had as its root causes not just massive failures by its management, board and outside advisers, but also Ð²Ð‚?self-enrichmentÐ²Ð‚™ by number of employees who were following a culture which, according to an internal company report, found nothing wrong with pushing the limits from time to time (Behr & Hilzenrath, 2002)
Corporate culture to a large extent defines limits and sets standards for employees. In EnronÐ²Ð‚™s case, the subsequent investigation distinctly showed that something was very wrong with the way things were done at the company which was according to the prevalent culture.
Ben Glisan Jr., 38, a former treasurer of the company, in his testimony said that Enron might have been the America Ð²Ð‚™s largest energy company, but it was also a company where Ð²Ð‚Ñšaggressiveness fostered both pride and escalating corruption.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Deception was if not out rightly encouraged, then never particularly discouraged either. He added that the company had some financial problems, and being treasurer, a part of the overall appeal of his job for him was to conceal these problems as best as he could. In times of conflict and economic difficulties, if employees like him would hide debt and inflate earnings by hook or by crook, they would be awarded huge bonuses. Glisan had joined Enron in 1996 at a salary of $100,000. It should definitely be looked on as a giant leap that in just 4 years, he was not just earning a salary of $1 million but taking home another million for illegal Ð²Ð‚?side dealsÐ²Ð‚™ (Flood, 2004).
False inflations of bottom-line figures in the financial statements occurred at many a time. The fake sale of Nigerian barges in 1999 was another instance of fraud which deceived shareholders as it helped keep share prices high. This was apparently never a company which valued the basic values of honesty and integrity and its corporate culture gave it away (Flood, 2004).
Phyllis Anzalone was an employee who Ð²Ð‚?liked the people she worked with but hated the people she worked for.Ð²Ð‚™ According to her, the leadership was too arrogant.