Ethics Information

Enron's Ultimate Victim: Ethics


FROM the 'MORAL HIGH GROUND', where we imagine ourselves, the Enron fiasco should have come as no surprise. Enron is simply a quintessential example of the degradation of principles such as trust, loyalty and ethical standards.

Why it happened,however,is what really needs to be understood if business is to restore its ethical foundation and survive tumultuous times.

Few will argue that business today is more challenging and competitive; most everyone accepts that the marketplace is more cutthroat than ever. We live in a dog-eat-dog world where for most, corporate survival is focused on just trying to not get eaten.

Not long ago, things were not so ruthless, or so we'd like to think. Companies had a tacit understanding with their employees: the company will always be there for you. The expression, "I'm a company man," once represented the unquestioned relationship between employees and employer. The company was our family, and families looked out for one another. Anything less was considered disloyal and unacceptable.

The 1990s ushered in changes that still exist today. The 90's also started us on the slippery slope that altered the ground rules for ethics and basic corporate loyalty. Call it downsizing, rightsizing or realigning, but dedicated employees suddenly found themselves on the outs with new, supposedly competitive, corporate initiatives that were sold as necessary to keep companies viable. Keeping viable sometimes meant severing long-serving employees, who were left disillusioned, betrayed and often unarmed to fend for themselves.

Pre-1990, the downsizing of corporate workforces was inconscionable. Companies had an obligation to look after their people, didn't they? Apparently, they didn't. The targets of the realignment strategies were the suddenly "overpriced," tenured employees. Survival strategies were designed to replace higher-income staff (in reality, those who had given the most to the company) with less experienced workers to reduce payroll expenditures.

Cuts in tenured staff were easy to justify providing you bought into the argument that older employees were redundant, i.e., bereft of computer skills. There was some legitimacy to this, but therein lies one of the clearest examples of expediency and cost-cutting prevailing over loyalty and ethics.

It was train existing staff or replace them with young techno-grads at half the price. History demonstrates the route most companies took. It also marked the beginning of the separation of trust between employees and their companies. There is little loyalty left.

Today, employees lucky enough to have outlived the 90's occupy many of the corner offices on the executive floors. Those who write the cheques and run the companies are the surviving veterans of the last decade, well-trained in guerilla management now unfettered by moral obligations for traits such as loyalty or ethics.

This is not to cast aspersions upon today's executives but to show how "Enronesque" outcomes can result when industries abandon components essential to sustaining moral values.

Ethics and morality have taken a backseat in business, and there is no greater example than the outgoing settlement cheques being issued to Enron execs. At the same time, 20- and 30-year Enron employees are losing their entire retirement portfolios.

Executives cannot be held totally to blame. They are victims themselves, the byproduct of those well-trained in the new business religion. Most new executive contracts include a Parachute Clause, insurance against the executive or company who wants to part ways. The practice is ethical but, in my opinion, another example of a breakdown in loyalty. It all but promotes failure.

Parachute Planning is analogous to a prenuptial. The purpose and logic is understood. The facts speak for themselves. I read recently that reported 98.9 per cent of prenup-weddings in North America fail within three years. From another perspective, it appears there are now tangible rewards for failure or disloyalty.

The Bottom Line:

Ethics, trust and loyalty are still there. Fundamental values have not changed. Companies who buck the "all-for-me" trend to garner respect and trust will benefit everyone, but it will take time.

About The Author

Author, corporate coach, international keynote speaker and president of Success 150 Group Inc., Suite 458, 7305 Woodbine Ave, Markham, Ont.L3R 3V7

T: 416-728-5556 / 1-866-855-4590

E: paul@success150.com

W: www.paulshearstone.com, http://www.success150.com


MORE RESOURCES:
Business:Ethics Articles from EzineArticles.com
04/06/2021 11:39 AM
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Authentic?
Being a more authentic person can sometimes be frightening because you will have to be vulnerable. You can be hurt. When people know what makes you tick, it enables them to potentially harm you. But the truth is, when you become more authentic in all aspects of your life, you'll experience a lot more success.
10/22/2020 11:45 AM
The Diversity Elephant
Unraveling the elephant in the room when it comes to subject of Diversity and Inclusion. The article talks about what is the mindset around this subject matter and the underlying factor causing the inequalities in our social and business worlds.
03/10/2020 02:47 PM
Should You Vote for United States President Donald J Trump
America is faced with one of the most important elections in our lifetime. This article offers the reader the unvarnished truth of the capacities and capabilities of United States President Donald J Trump. The American voter needs to have access to the truth.
12/18/2019 03:22 PM
Inexpensive Ways to Advertise Your Business When Marketing Direct
HEADLINES THAT SELL Introduction When it comes to selling a product, nothing is more important than the quality of the product itself. If you have a good product, pitching it and attracting word-ofmouth advertising will be easy. Customers will recognize that it has intrinsic value as a product; and they will purchase it and spread the word to their friends.
11/07/2019 08:03 AM
How to Create an Engaging Environment and Make Your Business Soar
Posting a list of company values on the wall does not create an environment for ethical behavior and a flourishing environment. This article provides real-world implementable actions and provides examples of known company successes.
08/12/2019 09:01 AM
Unlocking the Potential of Your Brain by Discovering How to Think!
I realize you are saying to yourself, "I already know how to think". In the next 2 minutes, you will discover one of the greatest strategies that has been practiced by the greatest thinkers who have ever lived.
05/09/2019 03:31 PM
Ethics for Nurses and Paralegal
Here we will discuss ethics concerns that many nurses, paralegal, and business professionals may run into on the job. Ethics not only control your actions but the actions of your clients as well.
04/23/2019 01:49 PM
Disability Inclusion: Is Your Board On Board?
As a board, make it a priority to work with the senior leadership team to understand your company's disability inclusion position and ensure disability inclusion is baked into the culture, not just an add-on project. Here are three things you can do to get started.
04/11/2019 10:10 AM
Not to Decide Is to Decide - And When I First Learned That, It Was Enlightening and Liberating!
To delay is a decision. To delay paying an account is a most unfair decision - in fact we need to call it what it really is - it is a deliberate sin. It dishonours and disobeys God's holy Word - and some may even think it is clever - and perhaps even wise - not in God's eyes! "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act." Small businesses find themselves short of cash when 'big boys' are slow or late in paying suppliers. Serious economic predicaments could be quite easily resolved by following biblical principles. We have been hearing, again this year, of various businesses getting into serious financial hardship because suppliers were not honouring their invoices in a reasonable period of time.
02/28/2018 10:00 AM
Fraud Detection and Prevention in Financial Reporting - Is It the Auditors' Responsibility?
The detection and prevention of fraud in financial reporting has always been left at the door steps of auditors by many business owners, after all they are paid to audit the books. But is that really their responsibilities? or do business owners have a responsibility too for such too?
02/23/2018 08:11 AM
Future Job: Ethical Technology Advocate
Ethical Technology Advocates are going to be mankind 's go betweens with a wave of robots and artificial intelligence programs which will be helping to operate our complex and connected community by 2025. Certainly one of their crucial tasks is to negotiate the delicate relationship of ours with the robots by setting up the ethical and moral regulations to which the devices - as well as the makers of theirs - operate simply exist.
02/07/2018 04:33 PM
The Basics of Best Practices
When small entities do business, they (we!) must try harder. Developing and maintaining a sterling reputation that creates a trusted brand that generates good word-of-mouth and referrals is how we succeed in business. Delivering excellent products and services every time is a must, but there are additional factors that play important roles. Instituting the quality control procedures collectively known as "Best Practices" as the basis of our operations protocols is a smart thing to do.
12/12/2017 11:14 AM
Global Business Practices: Kant and the Bhagavad Gita
The paper uses a conceptual analysis as the basis for future empirical testing. The respective contribution of John Rawls (Thomas Pogge) and the Bhagavad Gita to academic and practitioner literature is examined before key traits on corporate social responsibility that are common in both documents are collated. These features are then investigated on their practical application to business. Based on the research gaps and shortcomings identified, new areas for further research are recommended.
12/01/2017 01:50 PM
Principled Reasoning and Ethical Decisions
This article will walk an employer and employee through the steps to ethical decision making. Having a process in place helps companies maintain the ethical standards they want.
11/08/2017 08:14 AM
Happy Life - Does This Require Affluence?
Many people assume that having lots of money makes a person happy. But there are reasons to believe that seeking a high income is pursuing an illusion.
10/31/2017 04:08 PM
A New Business Guide to Going Green
Many businesses just getting started are finding that the competition for attention on the web is fierce. And these businesses are finding that by going green, they are displaying their corporate responsibility, but they are also finding that there are financial benefits to going green.
10/09/2017 10:04 AM
Flat Tire - Didn't Show Up to Work
I was recently asked to call a potential client at his office. When the day came for me to reach out to this person, I made the phone call. His secretary, Carmen, answered the phone on the second ring, and I asked for Dan...
09/20/2017 02:53 PM
The Future of Ethics and Morals
In his essay "Perpetual Peace," the German philosopher Immanuel Kant talked about the importance for each country to come together and join forces in a "league of nations" whose sole objective would be to ensure their peaceful coexistence. According to Kant, the governments are morally obligated to pursue peace and collaborate with other nations to ensure perpetual order. Kant's ideal and the need for a set of rules to govern our self-interested behaviors are now more evident than ever before.
09/20/2017 09:12 AM
What Constitutes an Ethical Company?
I wanted to explore the meaning behind the word 'ethical' in this day and age, and how some companies manage to slip through the net using marketing tactics. So, what is considered an ethical company in this day and age?
09/19/2017 09:41 AM
How to Run an Ethical Business
I want to address the subject of the damage we can do to our business unless we diligently follow ethical practices and treat our clients as our first priority. I have noticed that clients appear to have been relegated to 'nuisance' status in some companies - people either to be ignored or put on hold until a more convenient time.
08/23/2017 10:28 PM
Truth and Statistics - Some Food for Thought
Now I'm not saying statistics are generated with a deliberate intent to mislead. But even if they are interpreted incorrectly by the receiver of the statistical information, you have failed in your job to use the statistic to impart accurate and usable information that could be acted on by the consumer ingesting the statistic. This article discusses statistical images we view online and how we have to be careful as marketers and business people how we read them and how we present them to others.
08/15/2017 07:51 AM
What You Need To Know About Business Ethics
While the decisions in business are made by individuals or groups of people, they have been shown to be greatly influenced by the culture in the company. Benefits of business ethics It's important for any business to have ethics. The benefits include: Attract customers: When customers know that your business is reputable, they buy more products and services from you.
08/14/2017 12:15 PM
News Flash, LinkedIn Is NOT a Dating Site
Lord, where do I even Start with this one! My fellow ladies. I'm disappointed and utterly disgusted. Why? Because LinkedIn has become an online version of a New York City street.
04/08/2017 02:51 PM
Why Giving Value Is The Key To Your Online And Even Offline Business Success
If you are an internet marketer or business owner, you probably heard many gurus telling you that you need to have a right mindset before doing anything. As in believing that you can and not be distracted by negative stuff. While that is true, I like to point out something else that is even more critical and profound which is giving value to people and why it is the key to your online and even offline success critically and fundamentally.
04/04/2017 09:40 AM
Global Ethics on Human Embryo Research
International law is increasingly focused on the drafting of a universal regulation on human embryo research for preserving the human right to health. The protagonists of Global Bioethics are of the opinion that without international institutions with enforcing powers, it is not easy to address the issue of international regulation for human embryo research. This article addresses the issues concerning bioethics.
02/08/2017 09:26 AM
2 Important Qualities Of A Responsible Employee
This article is about two qualities that are necessary for employees to have when they are hired by a company to work for them. Employees must perform their jobs to the best of their ability and to be able to get along with their managers and co-workers. Being a responsible employee also means acting ethically.
01/27/2017 09:27 AM
How To Be An Employee That Employers Would Like To Have
This article addresses nine important personal qualities to have in the workplace that will make employers want to have you working in their company. Special attention is also given in this article as to how to act as a responsible and ethical employee. The information is useful for all kinds of business professionals.
01/20/2017 03:48 PM
Explaining The Corporate Social Responsibility Movement
Do you ever wonder what a company means when they say their product is "Sustainably Sourced?" Have you read any articles lately that are talking about things such as "Benefit Corporations," or "Fair Trade," and it has peaked your curiosity? I myself have been witnessing quite a few terms being used these days to describe a business model. Such as Social Purpose, Benefit Corporation, Corporate Responsibility, Ethical Capitalism, Mission Driven, etc. I am sure there are many more. The bottom line for all of these names are the same: Harnessing the power of business to do good in this world.
01/15/2017 09:47 AM
Our Top 38 Political Agenda
This article presents a 38 item agenda for our nation's leaders. It is a thoughtful, well balanced, and sane political agenda.
01/03/2017 10:32 AM
Using Proper Social Media Etiquette for Business
Social media etiquette for business is critical to your success. The chances are great that you are already doing most of what would be considered proper etiquette. You may have to adjust some minor things that didn't occur to you before but it really is no big deal.
12/28/2016 07:51 AM
Getting Rid Of Political Corruption in Washington DC - The Way to Clean House In Government?
How is it possible to drain the swamp in American Politics? I sometimes wonder if that is even possible. My personal view is, yes, I'd like to drain the swamp too, I just want to drain the left-side of the swamp first, not sure how that would work. Back in late 2015 we discussed the issues with political corruption at our think thank and how to go about it, we determined it was necessary to 'clean house' or what Donald Trump calls; draining the swamp.
11/23/2016 08:46 AM
Harmful Bugs To Development: Poor Attitudes Towards Work
An age-long setback to societal, national and global development has been poor work ethics exhibited by employees at workplaces. These workers who are the blood of every industry or institution are accountable for the achievement and/or progression of the set goals of the company which eventually leads to the attainment of national development. Any lackadaisical attitude on their part would ultimately affect the development of the nation. This article pinpoints the poor work ethics that are the contributing factors to the redundancy at workplaces and offers suggestions on how they can be addressed.
11/02/2016 02:13 PM
Practice What You Preach - Business Culture
Ultimately a good brand must have certain qualities to be viable over a long period of time. Essentially the brand must be easy to recall or memorable for consumers to associate a particular product or service with it. A brand should speak about the creator and represent his core values like integrity, confidence, trust, aesthetics, charisma, strength to name a few.
10/10/2016 03:51 PM
Three Things That Every Growing Company Needs
As the owner of a new and developing business, you probably have your hands full dealing with marketing campaigns, web outreach and general, and ongoing company operations. There are, however, three things that you should always have in action throughout the start-up phase and beyond. These are measures that will protect the financial health of your organisation by supporting growth and promoting consistency in your profits.
09/20/2016 07:53 AM
Why You Should Have an Unsubscribe Link in Your Emails?
Email campaigning is one of the cheapest and effective way to get quality leads/enquiry for any industry, if you target them rightly:) Year after year there is no much replacement happened for email marketing. Let me share one of the important factor which one should be taking care in Email marketing services.
09/16/2016 08:12 AM
Reasons Why You Need To Have A Daily Work Plan
Daily Work Plan is a document which explains what an individual intends to do at specific times of the day. All artists must have a work plan that outlines specific times and activities they would like to embark on every day. This work plan should be put in writing to prevent any essential thing being forgotten or prevent afterthoughts. A daily work plan is very important in many ways.
08/22/2016 10:55 AM
How You Know If You Can Trust A Company's Ratings
Today consumers have the most power and variety when choosing products or service providers that suit their needs. With the rise of social media, cell phones, apps, internet search and review engines -and other modern advance- we now have access to all the referential information we need to choose one business over an other and rate a company. In the case of consumers, using reviews to make decisions is a huge advantage, one that many businesses are willing to harness to their benefit. After a transaction, emails beg you to rate a company immediately. Unfortunately, with the creation of information we also have misinformation. As market places become more crowded and competitive, some questionable companies have turned to using less reliable review sites, or have decided to spread misinformation themselves-all in an attempt to win over unsuspecting customers. So what can you do about it? Here are some tips on how to know if you can trust a company's ratings.
08/19/2016 07:43 AM
Who Had More Ethics, Democrats or Republicans?
Luckily, all of my five closest neighbors are true Americans who believe in the Constitution, the United States and the freedoms and liberties we stand for - thus, they are all Republicans or Libertarians leaning right (I am one of the latter). Unfortunately, speaking out and exercising your right to free speech isn't so easy in Southern California. My neighbors have had political signs for local Republican politicians stolen off their property or vandalized. I've had signs stolen, stakes broken and signs knocked over - sometimes early in the morning, sometimes after dark.
08/08/2016 04:21 PM
Business and the Christian
In today's cut-throat world of business where the line between right and wrong is thinly drawn, one wonders if it is at all possible for a Christian to be a good businessperson without the compromising of faith and morals. What was dishonest and dirty and unacceptable only a few years ago has become praiseworthy today. What was distasteful and improper has now become the norm and it is in this world that we as Christians have to make a living without compromising our values.
08/05/2016 11:15 AM
Husband And Wife Business Partnership: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?
Partnerships in business have caveats that must be considered. A husband and wife team is no exception and this article will look at some factors that need to be put into consideration.
07/28/2016 02:12 PM
How to Be an Environmentally Friendlier Business
Top tips on how businesses can work to reduce the effect they have on the environment. How they can try to change the attitudes within their businesses to promote long term changes.
07/28/2016 12:29 PM
Why the 1% Percenters Are Better Than You
A lot of anger is directed toward the 1 percenters. However, they are clearly better than you and I'll explain why.
07/28/2016 10:21 AM
Ethics in the Year 2016
Are ethical standards different for different people, classes, or cultures? After watching the current political environment I must say we need a dialog on ethics and ethical behavior.
07/22/2016 10:48 AM
Importance Of Heart And Soul In Business Success
Sometimes, success cannot be measured in statistics and numbers. One has to look at what a person has deep down. This article will explain the important of such an intangible characteristic.
07/20/2016 08:58 AM
Complaint Letter to Human Resources
Employed staff always needs to write a letter to the Human Resource Department to document any serious issue in the workplace. It not only alerts the HR Department, but also provides a record of the certain complaint. When the complaint is written in a positive way and has no grammar issues, it is likely to be responded as well.
07/15/2016 12:21 PM
Business Partnership: Is It For Me Or Not?
There are many issues concerning whether people should go on their own or have someone else run the business with them. This article will not suggest, but merely explore the different considerations involved in having whether you should have a business partner or not.
06/27/2016 08:06 AM
Should You Bend The Rules For A Specific Customer?
For this particular article, I will focusing on lowering prices for a prospective customer if they ask you to. It is never an easy decision to make because you want to preserve the integrity of the business, but you also want to make a sale. Unlike other articles, this article will not take a side, but argue the pros and cons involved on each side.
06/21/2016 07:26 AM
Benefits Of Working With Competition
Competition can be a good or bad thing depending on your business type and goals. But there are benefits to working with your competitors. This article will explain some of those benefits, but they may not always be applicable to your business type.
06/13/2016 07:25 AM
How To Avoid Temptation For Dishonesty For Your Small Business
Temptation is always a difficult thing to avoid because of its strong allure. However, it's important to understand that falling into the temptation for dishonesty in business will hurt you in the long run. This article will explain how to avoid such temptation.
06/08/2016 08:43 AM
Strongest Work Ethics Every Business Must Have
If you wish your business to achieve success, here are work ethics you need to instill in your team. They are guaranteed to drive you towards progress.


home | site map |