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Business Ethics Case Study - Research Paper Example

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Business Ethics (Name) (University) Business Ethics: Enron the Smartest Guys in the Room: Ken Lay Introduction Kenneth Lay was found guilty of conspiracy, lying to shareholders and engaging in securities plus wire fraud. Federal prosecutors accused him of overseeing the manipulation of the company books and earnings, so as to conceal Enron worsening balance sheet from public scrutiny…
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Download file to see previous pages He had aided the false representation of Enron inflated profits and pressed for dubious accounting practices plus fraud, with the intention of enriching himself and other executives. However, in spite of foreseeing the coming demise of Enron, Kenneth Lay lied to the public, the corporation investors and Enron workers to buy the company stocks, even as he and other senior executives were cashing in on the shares and bailing out. Some of the stakeholders affected by Lay actions include the company shareholders most of whom were pensioners who had invested their life savings in stocks that eventually amounted to almost nothing as they lost their personal investments plus pensions. Secondly, his actions had a lasting impact on most of Enron former employees, who not only lost their source of income and livelihood, but also lost their savings in terms of personal pension fund and stocks Discussion Shareholders Through a consequentialism approach Lay should have mentally examined the consequences of his decision to allow false representation of the company financial position and other actions, since he owed the shareholders the duty to provide them with better and accurate information. He owed them the trust to make sure that the company is operated with their benefits in mind, and that it seeks to bring value to their investment. The shareholders needed intelligible disclosures which could be understood by even a lay person without the use of any specialized expert, or possession of an advanced degree as it is the duty of the chairman to make sure that they get such kind of information (Brenkert & Beauchamp, 2010). A consequentialist approach would have enable Lay to make significant ethical decision that would not have seen the shareholders value crumple. Notably, he owed them the duty to come up with adequately-designed controls measures, and provision of attentive oversight that would have stopped some of his employees from pushing the limits of their investments. Lay should instead have provided the shareholders with information that could help them to maximize their payback and at the same time minimize harms. He had the duty to net balance good outcomes over the bad consequences for the shareholders. If he had shared earlier what he knew, then the shareholders could have come up with decisions which possibly could have saved Enron, even if those decisions could have tuned out to be detrimental to his position in the company. Perhaps he may have lost his job and trust of the shareholders, but telling the shareholders the truth about the status of Enron could have helped them to seek solutions that would have at least save part of their investments (Brooks & Dunn, 2009). Based on non-consequentialism theory, Ken Lay had a fiduciary obligation to progress Enron shareholders interests exclusively. Lay obligation to shareholders was to avoid and avert harming their investment in the company by observing pertinent laws of the company and regulatory standards. As a leader entrusted by the shareholders to oversee the operations of Enron, he had the obligation of adding value to the corporation and contributing to the ethical success of Enron. Instead, Lay negated on his priority of re-establishing investor confidence (Mulgan, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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