Ethics Paper Anthony Paul Torres OBHR-330 October 19th, 2012 On October 8th, “The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron” was watched. This movie was aired by CBS in January 2003 after the Enron Corporation went bankrupt on December 2nd of 2001. Enron was an American energy and services company established in Houston, Texas. Hence, this film narrates the rise and fall of this corporation. But, what is so important about Enron or watching this movie? Before Enron went bankrupt, it had approximately 20,000 employees and was one of the world’s leading natural gas, electricity, and communication companies exceeding $100 billion in revenues.
With the fall of Enron, many companies and businesses were affected becoming a popular symbol, internationally, of corporate corruption and fraud. Thus, this scandal will allow us to analyze the organizational behavior from different perspectives with the purpose of learning and understanding the problems and causes from an ethical standpoint. Identifies dilemma First, the different events presented on the movie will be categorized in different segments for a better analysis of the problems encountered throughout the movie. The movie started by displaying de United States flag and by taking place in a really warm house party.
From my perspective, this represents the American dream being displayed surrounded by big aspirations to succeed. Furthermore, the main character, Brian Cruver, is introduced in the party, as a little kid, while talking to one of his father’s friends. This friend, Mr. Blue, is introduced as a very successful man with a lot of experience in business and life by the way he talks and portrays himself in the movie. Then, Mr. Blue tells Brian that “this is America” and that you got to take what belongs to you. In this scene, Brian seemed to take into consideration what Mr.
Blue said by displaying respect and admiration. Multiple years later, Brian seems to have made the right decisions by finishing college, and being offered an interview at Enron Corporation. This takes place in his apartment by sharing the good news with his fiance while looking at the mail. At this time, Enron Corporation was at its prime, and was highly respected being named by Fortune “America’s Most Innovative Company”. Therefore, when Brian got the news that he was offered and interview, he was very proud and happy to have the opportunity to get an interview with Enron.
The headquarters was pictured as a well-populated area surrounded by buildings and businesses. This scene is important because it shows that Enron Corporation was located in the heart of the city displaying its big success, power and influence. The next section of the movie takes place in Enron’s headquarters when Brian is heading toward his interview. As one of the leading companies in America, Enron displayed its success by owning a big building, elaborated security checkpoints, high technology, spacious rooms, etc. Brian was very excited about his interview, admiring the outstanding elaborate design of the building and its surroundings.
In addition, he seemed to have all his aspirations and thoughts fulfilled by the pompous introduction of Enron. One of the key factors of this part of the movie was that Enron made it seem as if anything was possible while working in this corporation by introducing both corporate executives: Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay. The idea of just working with the “big bosses” blew Brian’s mind. Brian’s expectations were exceeded until he found out that he was hired by mistake, and that most of his co-workers didn’t accept him as part of the group.
In this part, we could indicate that the type of withdrawal behavior Brian displayed is referred to as loyalty. Jason Colquitt, Jeffery Lepine and Michael Wesson, authors of the book ”Organizational Behavior”, define loyalty as a “passive, constructive response that maintains public support for the situation while the individual privately hopes for improvement” . In this manner, Brian and Enron Corporation are introduced building the base for the following events to unravel. Also, it is very important to notice that the main themes that this movie illustrates are dreams being fulfilled, success in the workplace, and making money.
Considered Stakeholders In this segment, cause and effects of greed for money and power will be discusses while analyzing parts of the movie. After Brian experienced working at Enron Corporation, he was highly influenced by the high standards of living of his co-workers and supervisors. He was smothered by the expensive cars, over-the-top expense accounts and sexy female employees. This created an over-confident Brian who defined success as making big money and buying expensive cars. Job satisfaction takes a very important role in this part.
Colquitt, Lepine and Wesson define Job satisfaction as a “pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job experiences”. Pay, benefits and incentives make a difference in Brian’s life that kept him motivated to work in this company. Even though coworker and supervision satisfaction don’t play a role in Brian’s workplace, he realized that for him pay and promotion satisfaction are more important. Like this, his fiancee, Courtney, who takes a very important role, is introduced. Courtney was a very humble person who seems to have been brought up in a modest home in the country.
During the movie it is shown that Courtney noticed the change in Brian’s personality when he revealed his change by buying a brand new car, television, and by scheduling a big reception costing more than $60,000. This exhibits the negative influence of money in a person’s life. In my opinion, it is easy to get overwhelmed by greed because of the carnal pleasures that are present in the world. Analyses Alternatives The following part will discuss cause and effect in the workplace. First, the question is, how does money affect people in the workplace and life?
Because we are in a material world, it is easy to define our success with the amount of money and properties we possess. In this movie, the change in Brian’s personality, before and after, is clearly seen. People and the environment are important factors of why Brian suddenly started changing his moral foundations into making money without caring about the benefit of others. It was clear that he didn’t see what he was doing because power can be blinding. Although, Brian only made a small percentage of what the executives made, the change in Brian’s personality and morals was just as dramatic.
Now imagine the greed of the top executives with their level of power and influence. Of course, the result would be a higher magnitude of blindness; the executives base their goals on false and faulty decisions. Thus, the effect of these false and faulty decisions would lead to corrupted results, which would also lead Enron Corporation into bankruptcy while shareholders and employees suffered the most. In addition, these decisions led Courtney to leave Brian. “Mood and emotions”, presented in the Organizational Behavior textbook, is very important.
Defined by Colquitt, Leptine and Wesson, Moods are “states of feeling that are often mild in intensity, last for an extended period of time, and are not explicitly directed at or caused by anything”. Brian wasn’t in a bad mood but he had reasons not to be content because his love life was falling apart. Nevertheless, he didn’t let these emotions affect him. However, Stress did play an important role in Brian’s life. Stress is defined as a feeling of tension during a critical situation. Stress can cause many problems according to the Organization Behavior textbook such as: headaches, stomach upsets, backaches or sleeping difficulties.
While Enron Corporation was going down because of the lack of smart and good decision, Brian was going through a period of stress in his life. There are 2 types of stressors presented in the textbook: Hindrance stressors that can hinder personal accomplishments and Challenge stressors that can act as a motivator towards learning, growth and achievement . In this case in the movie, Hindrance stressors were the ones who took control in Brian’s life by affecting him in the workplace. There were moments on this movie scene where he woke up in his apartment in the afternoon.
Also, when Mr. Blue called him to go to his house and was drinking because of the stress that he had because he was going to jail. Choose and Action Money is a big challenge for people in many ways. It can either help you momentarily by providing something you can’t afford or it can increase your self-esteem by giving you a sense of accomplishment. Many people describe success with the money they generate every year. That’s why the main influence in this film is Money, and a side effect of this, power. What would have been the best action to take?
The best action to take is to present the problem so It could be identified and solved, instead of hiding the problem. They covered it by deceiving the media, employees, and others. By proclaiming that everything was good, Kenneth Lay decided to retire. Then, Jeff Skilling’s duty was to cover Lay’s lies by promoting hope to the employees saying that Enron will go back in business strong and better than before. Thus, by not identifying and presenting the problems, the catastrophic event was inevitable. In addition, when a person bases their goals and achievements on self-benefit, this usually does not lead to a good outcome. Personal Story
Personally, I believe that if there is corruption in the workplace it is because of wrong decisions. Wrong decision are defined as corrupt and unethical choices made most of the times by people at the top of the food chain such as: executives, managers, etc. These decisions are based on selfish motives that encourage the decision maker to do it with less hesitation. Sometimes these selfish motives can be confused by the person as an act of righteousness or for a good purpose. Nevertheless, I believe that selfish decisions, decisions without considering the welfare of others, can have a less effective result than a positive outcome.
In this case, the thought of being wealthier was what invaded the executives’ minds and based on this, they were guided to commit errors affecting Enron Corporation, employees, investors, etc. In the following portion of the report, I will share previous experiences that I had in the work place. As a student from Purdue University Calumet, one of the goals that I have is to be successful after I graduate, to find a good job, and to be independent. Besides these motives, there are other reasons why I’m going to college such as helping my family and meeting their expectations.
A few weeks into the semester, I experienced something very peculiar that had a great effect in my life and goals. I got offered an opportunity to work for a multi-level marketing company while going to school. I was introduced to this company through an invitation of a friend. He invited me to a conference where this business-like man introduced the company by explaining who they are and what they do through a power point presentation. After 20 minutes into the conference, I was blown away by the possible opportunities this company was offering.
The system of how they work didn’t answer all my questions, but it all sounded good to my ears. It was explained that if I join this company, I could have the chance to make a lot of money such as the person who did the presentation. But, what troubled me at first was the fact that you needed to pay $499 to join the company. Of course, all this sounded very fishy, but the thought of maybe getting the chance to make 3 figures and having more time, just kept invading my mind. This well-dressed man came to me explaining this “once in a lifetime chance opportunity “as he called, after the presentation.
I would like to point out that so far money is a key factor and influence blocking my mind from making a reasonable decision. Note that Money is one of the biggest motivators and the top factor in job satisfaction. Later that day, after the presentation was over, as I mentioned, he came to ask me to sign up front by paying $499. I signed up, but after plenty of inside research about the company, I confirmed that they made their profit off of people paying more on their monthly bills. After this experience, I decided to get my refund. A huge influence in making my decision was self-awareness.
Defined by Colquitt, Lepine and Wesson, self-awarness refers “to the ability of an individual to understand the types of emotions he or she is experiencing, the willingness to acknowledge them, and the capability to express them naturally”. In addition, Perceptual ability “refers to being able to perceive, understand, and recall patterns of information” played a very important role. When I heard about this opportunity, my perceptual ability and self-awarness kicked in giving me a sense of alert. Because of these factors plus my own ethical values, I decided to make this decision of retrieving myself from this unethical business.
References 1. Jason A. Colquitt, Jeffery A. Leptine, Michael J. Wesson, I. N. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Pg. 44: Graw Hill. 2. Jason A. Colquitt, Jeffery A. Leptine, Michael J. Wesson, I. N. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Pg. 146: Graw Hill. 3. Jason A. Colquitt, Jeffery A. Leptine, Michael J. Wesson, I. N. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Pg. 344: Graw Hill. 4. Robert Greenwald (Producer), & Penelope Spheeris (Director). (2003). The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron [Motion picture]. United States: CBS.