Enron, Titanic, and the Perfect Storm (Enron Book Version)

ENRON: CORPORATE FIASCOS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS, p. 927, Foundation Press 2004

24 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2007

See all articles by Nancy B. Rapoport

Nancy B. Rapoport

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Enron, professional responsibility, lawyers, corporate culture, cognitive dissonance, Titanic

JEL Classification: M14, M52, Q40

Suggested Citation

Rapoport, Nancy B., Enron, Titanic, and the Perfect Storm (Enron Book Version). ENRON: CORPORATE FIASCOS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS, p. 927, Foundation Press 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=956659

Nancy B. Rapoport (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154-1003
United States
713-202-1881 (Phone)
702-895-2482 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unlv.edu

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