Power and corruption attributes to the fall of Enron

Power seems to be present in all types of organization, whether informal or formal. Depending on their internal structure, organizations tend to adapt diverse sources of powers and Enron is no exception. In my paper, I want to focus and finding the link between Organizations and Organizing and The Smartest Guys in the Room in the concept of power.

I believe power is evident in The Smartest Guys in the Room; several people had control over the company and they had a major influence not only to their employees but on Wall Street as well in very deceiving ways. I would like to analyze the different types of power within organizations and find which one applies to Enron. Organizations and Organizing discusses Emerson’s view of power as “the control or influence the other resides in control over the things he values, which may range all the way from oil resources to ego-support, depending upon the relation in question. In short, power resides implicitly in the other’s dependence,” (p.203). By doing some research (used index!) I found two very interesting books: Emerson and power: creative antagonism in the nineteenth century and Union power and the public interest which could give me more insights of power and its influence in organizations. Along those lines, I feel that the concept of corruption should be included when analyzing Enron’s power since it pertained to the company. I would like to explore how power and corruption are connected into the fall of Enron.

Organizations and Organizing gives me a wide array of sources for this topic. Among them, I found interesting the book The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Berle and Gardiner in which they argue “that as corporations grew large, ownership grew increasingly dispersed among disconnected (and therefore powerless) shareholders, while managerial control grew increasingly consolidated,” (p.354). I think this is very relevant to what happened in Enron, especially after Skilling took control of the majority company. I would be interesting to read some of Berle and Gardiner’s work and find the connection in The Smartest Guys in the Room. This could be a very interesting subject for the paper because it brings out a major flaw that Enron had.

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3 Responses

  1. Get in the black!

  2. What are the different types of power? Did that research line lead anywhere?

    Corruption needs a reference point. What was corrupted at Enron? Relative to what standard was some part of Enron or its’ managers decisions corrupted?

    Though this post seems somewhat different than the draft you showed me, i do think exploring how power, types of power, and the distribution of power can relate to corruption.

    I think you have lots of good ideas and you are going through a natural process of exploring broadly. The next step is focusing and using the writing you have done to facilitate that focusing process.

  3. […] Power and corruption attributes to the fall of Enron […]

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