Enron, Titanic, and The Perfect Storm (Enron book version)
Nancy B. Rapoport
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law
ENRON: CORPORATE FIASCOS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS, p. 927, Foundation Press 2004
In this essay (updated from the earlier Fordham Law Review version, I explore the contention of Jeffrey Skilling, former Enron CEO, that Enron's debacle was due to a perfect storm of events. I reject his contention, arguing instead that Enron's downfall was more like Titanic's - hubris and an over-reliance on checks and balances led to Enron's downfall. I then explore how character (especially of those at the top of an organization) can lead to Enron-like disasters, and I talk about how cognitive dissonance can lead to very smart people making very stupid decisions. I end with some musings about how lawyers can learn from Enron.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: Enron, professional responsibility, lawyers, corporate culture, cognitive dissonance, Titanic
JEL Classification: M14, M52, Q40Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 12, 2007
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