1) What were the individual factors that contributed to the failure of Enron? Briefly explain two key factors.
Enron collapsed in large part because of the unethical practices of its executives. Egoism (Self interest) was one of the major factors contributed to the failure of Enron. Enron’s executives put their own interests above those of their employees, company and the public, and failed to exercise proper oversight or shoulder responsibility for ethical failings. They allowed themselves to be motivated much more by what would benefit themselves than what would truly benefit the company. Money, greed, arrogance and hubris led company executives to lose focus on working for the good of the company and to act unethically (Gini,2004). Abuse of power to make decisions which were beneficial economically and politically to themselves and the company, was one of the key factors that led to Enron’s failure. Company leaders used insider information and traded millions of dollars in company stock, borrowed from subsidiaries with no intent to repay the loans (Wilke, 2002) , and avoiding federal taxes even though some of its subsidiaries, like Portland General Electric, collected tax payment from customers (Manning & Hll, 2002). Such behaviors of moral failure at the top and irresponsible behaviors led to the collapse of Enron. The unethical behavior of Enron’s leaders appears to be the product of both individual and situational factors. Greed was the primary motivator of both managers and their subordinates at Enron (Cruver, 2002). Optimistic earnings reports, hidden losses and other tactics were all designed to keep the stock price artificially high. Lofty stock values justified generous salaries and perks, deflected unwanted scrutiny, and allowed insiders to profit from their stock options. Greed was not limited to top Enron executives, however. Meeting earnings targets triggered large bonuses for managers throughout the firm, bonuses that...
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