Enron: The smartest guy in the room is a documentary that excellently introduces its audience to a scandalous scenario of somebody who doesnt get warned about the uprising economy. The person behind it intentionally assumed the task of a public company or kept up to date with the business news provided by the popular business magazines that were in circulation at that time such as Business Weekly, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Due to this ignorance, this person experiences a downhill financial movement in this new economy (McLean et al, 2004).
Enron was initially created by the merging of two companies; InterNorth and Houston National Gas. It later on transformed to focus on delivering gas via pipelines to a brokerage company that linked buyers and sellers of the product at that time. It finally evolved to become a global entrepreneurial venture that dealt in the trade of water, electricity, energy, broadband and weather derivatives. Problems arose at Enron when two traders gambled with the companys reserves; all of the reserves. It then experienced some unbelievably major rise in their revenues which got the financial press wondering how that was possible. It led to the launch of an investigation on Enron. All this while, the stakeholders of Enron (employees and shareholders) had no idea about what was going on with the finances of the company. Due to greed, the corporate leaders sold their stock before the company faced bankruptcy a few months later on. During this time the employees who worked at Enron lost their jobs and their health insurances. This category of people was the most affected as they had no idea as to what had been going on the whole time and were caught off guard once everything came tumbling down. There was no one to cater for their needs or answer to their questions or provide a way forward at this point. If there had been a human resources team in place at Enron, then the probability of this couldnt have been as high as it turned out to be. The human resource management team could have helped in managing the employees and ensure that their interests got keenly regarded.
This article specifically focuses on the people aspect of a company. In this case, the aspect is the employees and their benefits. More emphasis shall get placed on the top management of the company and their responsibilities and roles keenly inspected to determine their contribution to the whole companys successes and failures.
The film depicts most of the top managers as being more goal-oriented and fewer people oriented in their line of duty. Most of the managers focused more on the outside people, and less focus was input on the private people; who were the junior employees. Fastow; The Chief Financial Officer get depicted as a person whose primary focus in the business was numbers. He cared less about those who worked with or below him as the film shows him seldom in the office. The film also portrays other top managers as playful and fun to be around but also slow to anger and very prone to causing chaos without caring how it would affect those they work with. This depiction is important as it indicates the self-centered nature of the top management of most of the leaders at Enron which helps in understanding the turn of events that took place in this documentary; Enron.
The film also depicts charismatic leadership through Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. Charismatic leadership is greatly sought after by leaders at the corporate level and if it is applied produces great results at the work place, but if it is exploited and overdeveloped, then it can lead to an unpleasant kind of leadership that mostly tends to be one sided. Lay and Skilling are seen to be communicating their vision of Enron and the business culture of Enron to the stakeholders who include shareholders, investors, and employees. Other than that they are also seen to be risk takers in the firm and get observed as people who deviate from the initial plan. As charismatic leaders, they also tend to disregard the observations made by their junior employees and conduct themselves with self-confidence. This depiction is meaningful as it also helps in understanding the final turn out of events where the employees have no idea of the downfall of the company they worked for as their observations were disregarded and not acted upon to hide the dirty deeds that were carried out by the top management. The communication conducted also tends to have built the trust and confidence of the employees to their leaders giving room for the senior managers to undertake their scrupulous yet greedy dealings without being questioned by the employees thus leaving them clueless.
The film; Enron indicates the importance of creating a balance between goal orientation and people orientation as these two need each other to influence good and realistic results. The film also clearly shows the importance of managing the human resource in a company to cater for the needs of all employees in case of an unfortunate turn out of events rather than leaving the junior employees stranded with no idea of what to do.
In conclusion, if there was a clear and strategic management of the human resources at the company then there could be a production of more satisfactory results. The top management should also have ensured that they involve the employees in decision making and also let them know whatever was going on at all levels in the company. The employee's observations and suggestions should have been regarded and looked into and if found worthy be implemented and finally a clear compensation plan should have also been put in place to cater for all the employees fairly in the case of an unfortunate occurrence that led to the closure of the business.
McLean, B., & Elkind, P. (2004). The smartest guys in the room: The amazing rise and scandalous fall of Enron.
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