Enron Case Study Essays

1905 Words Mar 8th, 2012 8 Pages
1. Was Watkins an ethical hero in taking these steps?
Watkins was definitely not an ethical hero. First, she made it clear in the first half of her memo that she was concerned about getting caught, and explicitly asked if there was any way their “accounting gurus” could wind things down and basically cover their tracks. Second, she went to no one other than Kenneth Lay, the CEO of the company; anyone, in this day and age, who believes that CEOs are deaf, dumb, and blind to what's going on under their noses is incredibly naïve – and this, Watkins was not. Third, she started having suspicions about unethical practices as early as 1996, years before she wrote anything to Lay (How Could 29); if she was truly ethical, she would have reported
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3. Besides Kenneth Lay, who else might have had an interest in hearing from Watkins? Who else might have had a right to be informed? Did Watkins have a responsibility to anyone other than Lay?
Watkins should have first gone to Andrew Fastow, who was the CFO of Enron and her immediate superior (Barlas, Willians, and Verschoor 21). Had she continued to achieve no results by going to him (she was reportedly afraid to do so because he wanted to fire her), then she should have continued up the chain of command all the way to the Board of Directors. Had she still gotten no results, she should have resigned and gone to the SEC. She did indeed have a responsibility to others, at least all the way through the Board of Directors in terms of her superiors at Enron, and, of course, to the thousands of shareholders who lost everything as a result of their unethical practices.

4. Other than informing Lay, what other alternatives might have been open to Watkins?
Again, she could have gone to Fastow and the Board of Directors, as well as to the SEC.

5. What might the consequences of each of these alternatives had been?
Clearly, Watkins faced being fired by Enron for her actions; however, that is the worst that could have happened to her. She had already cashed in her own shares as a result of having insider information (Ganske B05) (thus

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