Enron : The Corrupt Corporate Juggernaut

1055 Words May 1st, 2016 5 Pages
Enron is viewed by many as the quintessential corrupt corporate juggernaut. Corporations are nothing more than a collection of people. If a corporation is corrupt than it must be filled with corrupt employs, and led by a front office devoid of moral standards, right? Perhaps this is not entirely true. Certainly an element of corruption was present in the case of Enron, the number of corrupt employees may not have been as encompassing as presumed. When asked to rate their level of honesty, most would respond that they are honest. In actuality, most people are not completely honest, and their level of dishonesty is correlated with their ability to rationalize the dishonesty and preserve their self- image as an honest and admirable person (Ariely 2013). This is when the use or misuse of ethical theories comes into play.

When properly applied, ethical theories can be a safeguard against the systemic corruption that brought down one of the most consistent economic entities of the late 20th century. Kenneth Lay, former Chairman and CEO of Enron seems to prescribe to Milton Freidman’s theory that a corporation must maximize profits for its shareholders to all legally allowed limits (Friedman, 1962). Lay took it upon himself to not only push the legal limits but to also change them entirely. A champion of deregulation, Lay used his connections with former Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush to relax legal restrictions on the energy industry (Mclean, 2003). The issue that…
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