Summery of Enron case
The Enron scandal has far-reaching political and financial implications. In just 15 years, Enron grew from nowhere to be America's seventh largest company, employing 21,000 staff in more than 40 countries. But the firm's success turned out to have involved an elaborate scam. Enron lied about its profits and stands accused of a range of shady dealings, including concealing debts so they didn't show up in the company's accounts. As the depth of the deception unfolded, investors and creditors retreated, forcing the firm into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. More than six months after a criminal inquiry was announced, the guilty parties have still not been brought to justice. Leaders
Leadership is critical to the creation and maintenance of culture; there is a constant interplay between culture and leadership. Leaders create the mechanisms for cultural embedding and reinforcement. Cultural norms arise and change because of what leaders tend to focus their attention on, their reactions to crises, their role modeling, and their recruitment strategies. Referring to Enron, the major mistake made by leaders are as follows: Compensation Programs
As in most other U.S. companies, Enron’s management was heavily compensated using stock options. Heavy use of stock option awards linked to short-term stock price may explain the focus of Enron’s management on creating expectations of rapid growth and its efforts to puff up reported earnings to meet Wall Street’s expectations. The stated intent of stock options is to align the interests of management with shareholders. But most programs award sizable option grants based on short-term accounting performance, and there are typically few requirements for managers to hold stock purchased through option programs for the long term. The experience of Enron, along with many other firms in the last few years, raises the possibility that stock compensation programs as currently designed can motivate managers to make decisions that pump up short-term stock performance, but fail to create medium- or long-term value (Hall and Knox, 2002). Dishonestly concealed debt and overstated earnings. Management at Enron Corp. admitted it overstated earnings for nearly five years. In an SEC filing, Enron said financial statements from 1997 through the third quarter of 2001 "should not be relied upon, and that outside businesses run by Enron officials during that period should have been included in the company's earnings reports. As a result, Enron is reducing earnings for those years by $586 million, from $2.89 billion to $2.31 billion. The company also acknowledged that part of earnings came from deals with partnerships controlled by recently sacked CFO Andrew Fastow. These transactions are already being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Enron said these deals enabled Fastow to earn more than $30 million. Enron also conceded that three entities run by company officials should have been included in its financial statements, based on generally accepted accounting principles. In addition, the company revised its debt upward in each year from 1997 to 2000. As a result, Enron's debt at the end of 2000 was $10.86 billion, $628 million more than previously reported. Enron’s Performance Review System. PRC featured two basic motivational forces – fear and greed. Skilling wanted to keep only “the very best,” meaning those who produced their profit and volume target– so every six months one or two out of every ten employees were dismissed. In pitting employees against each other, the rank-and rank System acted to stress the imagined weaknesses of individuals and to obfuscate organizational problems. In sum, this led to an erosion of employee confidence in their own perceptions and, most crucially, to further compliance with the organization’s leaders in a way that strengthened conformist behavior. In practice, the PRC...