Essay 4Resisting Corporate Corruption: The Enron Legacy

IT IS AN OBJECTIVE OF THIS BOOK to equip young professionals with better means to resist corporate corruption. In doing so, it also seeks to modify and expand the traditional approach to teaching business ethics.

The basic premise of this book is that young professionals have not been instructed in the practical arts of resisting unethical demands. They may understand ethical principles. They may have been exposed to the relevant laws. If, however, they have never planned a response to a supervisor who asks that they look the other way while accounting entries are misrepresented, they are more likely to panic than resist. Some may find a way to move to another job.

There most definitely are alternatives to these “go along or go” options. Over the course of their careers, executives learn a variety of corporate political arts. They will, for example, learn how to look for champions to sponsor their projects. They will learn how to network, how to secure vital information outside of formal channels, and to create coalitions of support across various functions.

As mentioned earlier, the essential idea in the 1st edition was to redirect these political arts towards the crafting of effective resistance to corporate corruption. Each Enron case study provides a context in which to practice using these political arts. Essay 1, How to Do an Ethics Case Study, outlined a framework for applying these arts.

For the last ten years, ...

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