Enron’s ride is quite a phenomenon: from a regional gas pipeline trader to the largest energy trader in the world, and then back down the hill into bankruptcy and disgrace. As a matter of fact, it took Enron 16 years to go from about $10 billion of assets to $65 billion of assets, and 24 days to go bankruptcy. Enron is also one of the most celebrated business ethics cases in the century. There are so many things that went wrong within the organization, from all personal (prescriptive and psychological approaches), managerial (group norms, reward system, etc.), and organizational (world-class culture) perspectives. This paper will focus on the business ethics issues at Enron that were raised from the documentation Enron: The Smartest Guys
1. The Enron debacle created what one public official reported was a “crisis of confidence” on the part of the public in the accounting profession. List the parties who you believe are most responsible for that crisis. Briefly justify each of your choices.
Ray Bowen, a Citigroup banker at the time and now Enron's chief financial officer, once asked Mr. [Andrew Fastow] about a batch of complex equations that filled a whiteboard in the conference room next to the Mr. Fastow's office. "You can't tell me you understand those equations," Mr. Bowen commented to Mr. Fastow. Mr. Fastow replied: "I pulled them out of a book to intimidate people."
There was a vast number of ethical issues raised in the movie “Enron-the Smartest Guys in the Room” but the four I am going to focus on are listed below. Art Anderson, Ken Lay and all of the other executives did a number of unethical things which ultimately brought down Enron and affected thousands of employees and their futures. The bottom line was that each and every one of them acted out of greed for the almighty dollar.
Enron made greater use of social control as a means of guiding employee action, however, the company did have limited methods of formal control in place. By using social influence tactics, limiting dissenting opinion, and inflicting a sense of high cohesion among employees, Enron deceived millions into believing the company was more profitable than it actually was. Because Enron’s values and norms were not conducive to a successful, ethical company, the employee’s targets, attitudes, and behaviors led to Enron’s undesirable outcomes. (O’Reilly and Chatman 165) Enron’s downfall can be largely contributed to its norms and values, of which were not strategically appropriate. Enron valued money above all else, which was
The word “fraud” was magnified in the business world around the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002. No one had seen anything like it. Enron, one of the country’s largest energy companies, went bankrupt and took down with it Arthur Andersen, one of the five largest audit and accounting firms in the world. Enron was followed by other accounting scandals such as WorldCom, Tyco, Freddie Mac, and HealthSouth, yet Enron will always be remembered as one of the worst corporate accounting scandals of all time. Enron’s collapse was brought upon by the greed of its corporate hierarchy and how it preyed upon its faithful stockholders and employees who invested so much of their time and money into the company. Enron seemed to portray that the goal of corporate America was to drive up stock prices and get to the peak of the financial mountain by any means necessary. The “Conspiracy of Fools” is a tale of power, crony capitalism, and company greed that lead Enron down the dark road of corporate America.
Enron was the country’s largest trader and marketer for electric and natural gas energy. Its core business was buying energy at a negotiated price and later, selling the energy when prices increased. As an energy broker, Enron provided a service by allowing producers to negotiate a certain price while Enron took the risk that prices would fall below what it bought energy. Buyers of energy also benefited because Enron could ensure the supply of energy. In 2000 Enron was listed number five on the Fortune 500. What happened to the company which was among the most admired for vision and quality thinking? Enron was the company that held virtual assets and not the real assets, such as power stations, which were capital
Greg Whalley, (former Enron President and Chief Operation Officer) had six to eight conversations last fall with the Treasury’s Department Peter Fisher, including one in which he asked Fisher to call Enron’s lenders as they decided whether to extend credit to the company.
Ethical issues have greatly transformed in our lives since the great Enron, Xerox and other huge corporations proposed big profits showing earnings of billions of dollars and yet in reality facing bankruptcy. These corporations faced great trouble with the federals and state for manipulating financial statements. But not only corporations can be blamed on this, accounting firms were involved in this as much as the corporations were. With the business stand point, ethics comprises of principles and standards that guide behavior. Investors, traders, customers, and legal system determine whether a specific action is ethical or unethical. Ethical issue is a vast subject, but we will look at the niche
In light of the recent scandals that rose around big multinationals such as Enron and WorldCom, it has become evident that reform in the traditional corporate operations and objectives was to be encompassed in the organisations corporate strategies. Indeed throughout the years, companies main objectives were defined primarily as being economic objectives, Multinationals developed with sight of profit maximisations regardless to the other incentives, Friedman considered that to be the foundation for a well-managed company, it was further considered that the financing of any other sort of social corporate activities rather unnecessary. The expenses were regarded as expenditures for the owners and investors; this was a time where shareholders rights were regarded as conflicting with other constituents namely the employees, creditors, customers or the community in general. However this interpretation is seen as rather inadequate due to the nature of the amalgamated relation between both constituents. Stakeholders in modern corporate doctrine are considered as a core apparatus for the well functioning of a business. It is however often argued that the only way for a corporation to achieve better results and maximise its profits is to include other people in the process, individuals or organisations with direct or indirect interest in the well performance of the company, that is the reason why modern regulations and codes include a number of stakeholders other than the
Enron Corporation was an energy company founded in Omaha, Nebraska. The corporation chose Houston, Texas to home its headquarters and staffed about 20,000 people. It was one of the largest natural gas and electricity providers in the United States, and even the world. In the 1990’s, Enron was widely considered a highly innovative, financially booming company, with shares trading at about $90 at their highest points. Little did the public know, the success of the company was a gigantic lie, and possibly the largest example of white-collar crime in the history of business.
The reason of Enron Corporation downfall for audit failure is conflict of interest and accounting fraud. This is because it has been suggested that conflicts of interest and a lack of independent oversight of management by Enron's board contributed to the firm's collapse. Some have suggested that Enron's compensation policies engendered a short-sighted focus on earnings growth and stock price. In addition, recent regulatory changes have focused on enhancing the accounting and strengthening internal accounting and control systems. In these issues, it begin with Enron's board. The conflict of interest between the two roles played by Arthur Andersen, as an auditor, he also as a consultant to Enron Corporation. While investigations continue, Enron Corporation has sought to salvage its business by spinning off various assets. As that, Arthur Andersen actually has admitted some
Ethics is something that is very important to have especially in the business world. Ethics is the unwritten laws or rules defined by human nature; ethics is something people encounter as a child learning the differences between right and wrong. In 2001, Enron was the fifth largest company on the Fortune 500. Enron was also the market leader in energy production, distribution, and trading. However, Enron's unethical accounting practices have left the company in joint chapter 11 bankruptcy. This bankruptcy has caused many problems among many individuals. Enron's employees and retirees are suffering because of the bankruptcy. Wall Street and investors have taken a major downturn do to the company's unethical practices. Enron's competitors
Ethics in the business world can often times become a second priority behind the gaining of profits and success as a company. This is the controversial issue that led to the Enron scandal and ultimately the fall of this company. Enron Corporation was an energy company, and in the peaks of their success, they were the top supplier of natural gas and electricity throughout America. Enron Corporation came about from a merger between Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth. Houston Natural Gas was a gas providing company formed in Houston during the 1920’s. InterNorth was a company formed in Nebraska during the 1930’s and owned one of America’s largest pipeline networks. In 1985, Sam Segnar, the CEO of InterNorth bought out Houston Natural Gas for $2.4 billion. A year later in 1986, Segnar retired and was replaced by Kenneth Lay, who renamed the company and created Enron. Enron was the owner of the second largest pipeline in America that measured over 36,000 miles. The company was also the creator of the “Gas Bank”, which was a new way to trade and market natural gas and served as an intermediary between buyers and sellers. As the company continued to develop, it became more of a trader rather than a producer of gas. This trading extended into coal, steel, water and many other areas. One of Enron’s largest successes was their creation of a website called, “Enron Online” in 1999, which quickly became one of the top trading cites in the world. By the year 2000 Enron as a company was
Enron and Arthur Anderson were both giants in their own industry. Enron, a Texas based company in the energy trading business, was expanding rapidly in both domestic and global markets. Arthur Anderson, LLC. (Anderson), based out of Chicago, was well established as one of the big five accounting firms. But the means by which they achieved this status became questionable and eventually contributed to their demise. Enron used what if often referred to as “creative” accounting methods, this resulted in them posting record breaking earnings. Anderson, who earned substantial audit and consultation fees from Enron, failed to comply with the auditing standards required in their line of work. Investigations and reports have resulted in finger