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“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” by Gibney

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is one of the most captivating movies that touch upon numerous themes about people, their crimes, and their actions’ outcomes that lead to the greatest scandals in the business world ever. This documentary movie tells a story of how executives of the company earned about one billion dollars and their investors and numerous employees lost money, hope, everything. One of the possible ways to analyze the actions of people in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is to use some theories ascribable to white-collar crimes. The theory of differential association serves as the brightest example. Its essence lies in the explanation of why some individuals promote various forms of deviant behavior and the reasons of why people become delinquent if they have an excess of law violations. White-collar crimes committed by the executives of Enron have to be analyzed from different perspectives to comprehend their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The example when Arthur Andersen directed to destroy the documents that could hide the true state of affairs may be taken into consideration. This person had certain power and background knowledge that would be enough to hide the crime. Other people turned out to be the members of such situation when they realized they had no other choice. If they did not accept those conditions, they could be terminated and exposed. The intentions to change this world for better were the major ones of the executives of the company (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, 2005). If people can hardly accept the reality and the changes that may improve the current world, Enron’s executive have already found the necessary way and were ready to use their influences, their thought, and their connections to earn as much as possible. However, even white-collar crimes have to be punished, and such issues like people’s trust, hopes, and demands play a crucial role this time. Enron and its executives earned enough but their bankruptcy destroyed everything.

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The notion of theories plays a very significant in current social life and business world. The theories of Social Disorganization and Rationalization have been noticed in the movie as well. As a rule, crime is a result of social disorganization or wrong ways of rationalization. The actions of David Duncan and other members of Arthur Andersen’s team and the destruction of the documents may also serve as a good example of how social disorganization theory and Advocates of General Strain theory in particular works and influence people. Duncan and other Enron’s people were threatened because they could lose everything: their livelihoods, their rights of voice, and even their freedoms. This theory and the idea of how crimes should be committed to be able to influence human lives are considered as macro-level variables. It is because the possibility to influence once sphere of life and cause the differences in other different spheres. This white-collar crime touched upon certain spheres like economy on the micro-level. Enron admitted that greed was one of the brightest innovations of the world (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, 2005). The representatives of Enron were pride, intolerant, and selfish. These human characteristics may become another point to comprehend crime causation and the ideas of why some people chose to commit this crime and some people did not want to follow this example. Social disorganization leads to the following: firms became larger and change own structures without considering the already existed norms, investors could not follow those changes and improvements that influenced their incomes, and the executives observed those changes, got benefits and influenced the development, and chose the ways of how to earn and cheat. This life and the world of business provide people with the varieties of possibilities. Enron used its chance, became the most famous firm among the whole world due to their earnings, and became the most famous failed organization with billions of dollars.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is full of examples, connected to the spheres of social psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior theory. One of the brightest social psychological concepts is the outcome that has to be between an individual and a situation. Firm’s bankruptcy as an outcome is closely connected to both the situation and individuals. General state of affairs in the country allowed to develop cooperation with several organizations and even with several countries simultaneously. It turns out to be that certain firm’s frauds may not be noticed and people can cheat earn as much as possible. Sociological concept of differential workers is another good example of how frauds may happen within one organization. Executives have enough powers to control workers’ actions and thoughts. If they want to achieve some purpose, they may use the abilities of differential workers and achieve success. The concepts organizational behavior theory like power are perfectly described in the movie as well. Jeffrey Skilling’s power over people allows him to not only control workers’ actions but also influence their freedom. Social-psychological theory shows how the relations between individuals and situations may be controlled. Enron executives become involved into the line of the events that cannot be broken. The principle of leadership in the company also allows its executives to follow their own demands: if they feel that one action may destroy the success of their company and other action is reliable enough to change the situation for better, the rest of the worker should certainly obey the orders and participate in the affair. In spite of the fact that people lose much to help the firm becoming prosperous and winning that cannot even believe that soon they will lose more, to be more exact, they lose everything. The social structural forces and employers’ influential abilities are properly explained in the movie and are aimed to prove that these characteristics of human actions do support illegal behavior only.

Reference List

Gibney, A. (Director and Producer). (2005). Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [Film]. United States: Magnolia Pictures.

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