Administrative Behavior in Enron

I thought it would be interesting to look at how the administrative system of Enron behaved throughout the life of the company.  There were changes in upper level management throughout the business life of Enron and not everyone acted the same as his/her predecessor.  Simon’s Theory of Administrative Behavior (Scott and Davis, 53) talks about an individual’s decisions, how organizations simplify said decisions, and ultimate goals and how they lead to the development of the means-ends chain.  “As DiMaggio and Powell stress, ‘March and Simon…taught us that organizational behavior, particularly decision making, involves rule following more that calculation of consequences'” (Scott and Davis, 56).  I thought it would be intriguing to take a look at how Lay, Kinder, Skilling and the others acted with regards to Simon’s theory.

In the section entitled Simon’s Theory of Administrative Behavior, there are many sources referring to work the Simon or Barnard had done.  One way to get more detailed information on this theory would be to check out any of these books and look for anything that has to do with Administrative Behavior.  There are around ten cited books in this section, which would give me a significant amount of information regarding this topic.  Also, I would go back through the book about Enron and underline/highlight any interaction among the administration.  This would give me a good idea how different people within the company behaved in different situations.  Also, Google Scholar and the BU Library Catalog gave me a list of numerous books and articles that I could use to gather more information about this topic.

Do the different upper level managers in Enron, such as Lay, Skilling, and the others, have more power in decision making than one another?  Or do they act as a collective unit, with each somewhat agreeing with what the others are doing?  Does it make sense that one would be more apt to making decisions than another, considering they were all up to their necks already?

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One Response

  1. The quote about rule following is an essential idea. Did you see evidence of rule following? This is a very workable topic. Although how more recent research has picked up where Administrative Behavior left off may involve some translation of key ideas. For example, I have seen people refer very recently to the Carnegie School as a way to talk about the work of Simon and his collaborators, especially James March.

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