What cultural elements within Enron supported unethical behavior?

Creating and evaluating ethics programs is a crucial component of a strong ethical corporate culture. Without a focus on the creation of an ethics program that allows a healthy ethical culture to develop, the ability of individuals to behave ethically is often severely damaged. Understanding a strong ethics program that supports ethical behavior requires that we first evaluate companies that have failed spectacularly. Perhaps one of the most well known corporate failures related to unethical behavior is Enron.
Enron is interesting for several reasons. First, the organization had a very well-written ethics policy that espoused ethics as an important and valued part of their corporate culture. However, the unethical behavior that was rampant within the company clearly illustrates the need to embed into the culture an ethics program based on the espoused ethics policies. Second, the unethical behavior became embedded in all levels within the organization.

  • What cultural elements within Enron supported unethical behavior?
  • Imagine that the company survived the scandal. What changes would have to be made to the ethics program to shift the corporate culture to one that valued ethical behavior?
  • Based on what you have learned from this case, how would you evaluate a company’s ethics program? Make sure that you use what you have learned from ethics theories and the material throughout the course to support your argument. Be specific in the conclusion and recommendations section of your paper.

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