The film titled, Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room, is a phenomenal examination of an organization that in all likelihood started out to perform ethically but, after a modification in design and moral decision-making, it evolved into an organization based upon greed and performance no matter what cost.
Ironically, the motto of this company was, “ask why” however this is perhaps the sole question that many employees are now asking themselves and should have routinely asked in the years leading up to the firm filing bankruptcy and ultimately evaporating the wealth contained within the company as well as the ESOP and 401(k)’s of many employees. Interestingly enough, this motto could have been more or less a type of risk control or the first stage in a system of checks and balances that might just have helped head off this unfortunate divestiture of material and intelligent capital.
Jeffrey Skilling’s few months at the helm of this ship may just have been enough to sink it. His desire for performance and for the company to be not just the world’s leading energy company, but the world’s leading company, may have blinded him to what was going in at the trading desk, in LJM/LJM2, and perhaps in the court of moral opinion. The disconnect was clearly allowing sound judgment and business ethics to fly right out the window.
The trading desk operations were perhaps the most ghastly of all the inefficiencies in the company. The film portrays traders speaking about causing price fluctuations in the prices of energy and are heard chatting about their upcoming retirement at the age of thirty. These individuals were allowed to not only create blackouts in California to jack up prices for the company but were actually urged to do so. This was essentially a pay for profit situation, where this was all considered okay because it was in line with the culture of the company: profits over all.
Investment banks are possibly the most...
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