David M. Boje             

Department of Management

College of Business Administration and Economics

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM  88003

Phone:  (505) 646‑1201

Email: dboje@nmsu.edu



Grace Ann Rosile

Department of Management

College of Business Administration and Economics

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM  88003

Phone:  (505) 646‑1201

Email: garosile@zianet.com



Rita A. Durant

Department of Management and Marketing

College of Commerce and Business Administration

Box 870225

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL  35487

Phone:  (205) 394-5267

Email:  rdurant@cba.ua.edu



John T. Luhman

School of Business

New Mexico Highlands University

Rio Rancho Center

Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Phone: (505) 891‑2046, ext. 50

Email: jluhman@nmhu.edu







This is a critical dramaturgical analysis of Enron spectacles, which applies antenarrative theory (Boje, 2001a) to theatrics of capitalism.  Ante means “pre” and a “bet”; thus an antenarrative is a bet that a full-blown narrative will take flight and become part of the public imagination.  As building blocks of the theatrics of spectacle, the antenarrative process works within four interacting spectacles:  concentrated, diffuse, integrated and mega.  Our purpose is to articulate and explore the theatrics of spectacles in the rise and fall of Enron.  Before the collapse Enron is a combination of what Guy Debord (1967) would call concentrated, diffuse, and integrated spectacles, while after the collapse, the mega spectacle of scandal takes center stage.




Enron, Spectacles, Critical Dramaturgy




Enron will be the most analyzed business case in the history of capitalism, and probably the most misunderstood; in fix-it case analysis methods, the theatrics of capitalism will be ignored.  Yet, such theatrics is endemic to Enron. Jeffery Skilling, for example, was the ultimate showperson.  In 1997, when Peco Energy, a large gas utility in Pennsylvania started negotiating with state regulators, it offered a 10 % rate cut. Skilling countered with a 20% discount, presented spectacularly:

The day Peco filed its plan with regulators, Mr Skilling got up at 4.30am and by 9am had done nine radio interviews. By noon, Enron had an airplane circling Peco's HQ in Philadelphia with a banner saying: "Enron doubles Peco's rate cuts" (Durgin & Skinner, June 26 2000).


Spectacle is oftentimes a theatric performance used to legitimate, rationalize, and camouflage violent production and consumption (Boje, 2001b; Best & Kellner, 1997 & 2001; Firat & Dholakia, 1998).  In marketing, Firat and Dholakia (1998: 154-155) address how markets are becoming “theatres of consumption”.

We have to invoke the metaphor of the theatre as a medium of cultural interaction that is different from the medium of economic interaction, the market. Consider that instead of the stage, the backstage, and the audience, the theatre is composed only of the stage. All interaction across all dimensions – economic, social, political–occur(s) on this stage.


Here we explore how four types of spectacle as theatrical:  concentrated, diffuse, integrated, and mega.  Our research question is what are the collective theatrical dynamics of Enron spectacles?  This question speaks to important and timely concerns that corporate theatre theorists are raising regarding the need to develop a dramaturgical method that can explain and change life in complex organizations (Boje, 1995; Clark & Mangham, 2001; Oswick, Keenoy & Grant, 2001; Schreyogg, 2001; Schreyogg & Noss, 2000).  To answer it, we trace emergent “antenarratives” (Boje, 2001a), which are produced and theatrically dramatized as ready-to-hand narratives to persuade employees, monitors, auditors, regulators, and the public.  This paper makes three contributions: first, sorting out the types of Enron theatrical spectacles (concentrated, diffused, integrated, and mega); second, examining the role of antenarrative as constituent of spectacle theatrics; and third, proposing that as corporate theatre, organizations produce spectacles that may be resisted by carnivalesque theatrics.

Organization studies understands the concept of theater in three ways (Kärreman, 2001): first, theatre is a metaphor for organizational life (Goffman, 1974); second, theatre is a literal description of organizational life (Burke, 1945; Boal, 1979); and third, theatre is a managerialist technology utilized in organizational life in which professional actors, directors, scriptwriters, stage crews, and even musicians are being brought into organizations to stage play-scripts written to the specifications of senior managers (Schreyogg, 2001; Schreyogg & Noss, 2000).  In contrast, we wish to argue that production, distribution and consumption of theatrical spectacles in order to attract and retain investors is the work of contemporary organizations.  Enron is our demonstrative example.  In this way, we link spectacle directly to the theatrics of capitalism by building on Guy Debord’s (1967) Society of the Spectacle, Walter Benjamin's discussion of “phantasmagoria” (as cited in Benjamin, 1999: 10-14), and Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) concept of “faciality”.

Enron is a mansion of theatres, spectacles networked in a game of globalization, in a weave of Tamara-esque (cf. Boje 1995) simultaneous stages, where spect-actors chase storylines from country to country.  Capitalism is quite theatrical, as is its carnivalesque resistance.  Successful corporate theatre is able to advance its mythic themes without much opposition: for example, the myth that good products drive out bad ones with no government regulation, or the myth that unfettered competition automatically leads to fair prices (Swaine, 2002).  Before its collapse, Enron accomplished mass illusion through its spectacle theatrics, which masked the exploitative side of globalization, persuaded regulators and investors that Enron had more assets than we know now to be the case, and portrayed Enron as the star of the “New Global Economy.”

The value of the conceptual work is to lift the romantic veil of spectacle theatrics long enough to peek at the grotesque misery being back grounded. In short, organizational life is a theatrical, scripted, and Tamara-esque network of staged performances, in which storylines are spun like a spider’s web in order to catch and hold prey.  The spinning and weaving of storylines meant to “attract and retain” investors we call the process of “antenarrative”, a key dynamic in the theatrics of capitalism.


Antenarrative is the molecular elements to spectacle, arising before plots, characters, and frames are resolute.  Antenarratives are pre-narrative bets that chaos effects can be unleashed that are spectacular.  Ante means bet and pre (comes before), and an antenarrative is a bet of pre-narration, that a story can be narrated that will catch hold of the imagination of the masses.  Antenarrative dynamics includes the plurivocal (many voiced), polysemous (rich in multiple interpretations) and dispersed pre-narrations that interpenetrate wider social contexts.  “In the postmodern world of storytelling organizations linear causality is a convenient fiction, an over-simplified narrative of complex antenarrative dynamics in which non-linearity (and that too is a fiction) reigns” (Boje, 2001a: 94).

Antenarratives have a complex relationship to spectacles.  Viewed as theatrical performances, spectacles morph into and interweave with other spectacles; antenarratives are intertextual to spectacles.  For example, antenarratives have a trajectory in Enron spectacles; in the Deleuzian sense, antenarratives take flight in and through a series of spectacles, yet also crack open and transform that series of spectacles (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987).  The theatrics of capitalism is also more than just corporate theatre; it is a process of antenarrating, a way to create mass deception out of the antenarrative broth.  In Enron’s case, antenarratives include not only the blatant theatrical icons of Star Wars, but also plots such as spectacle-turned-into-scandal.  Spectators stop decoding and deconstructing hype, and just enjoy intoxicating moments of corporate pageantry and spectacle, thus reintegrating their life style with commodity fetishism (Marx, 1867/1967: 71-72). Phantasmagoria reclaims its audience.


Spectacle goes back to the use of Roman gladiators as the appropriation of entertainment, art, and festival for political and control purposes. Spectacle is a technology of art put in the service of power.  Spectacle serves the production of power and managerial needs to control by spinning storylines, or theatre productions: “In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life" (Debord, 1967: #6)[i].  Spectacle was once a way for State and Church power to keep the masses under control (Foucault, 1979: 10, 14); now it is how global corporate power keeps the masses in spectacle illusion (Debord, 1967) or what Benjamin (1999) calls phantasmagoria. Attention to theatrics in organization studies needs, therefore, to look more closely at the oppressive and often violent social control that masquerades as a celebration of betterment (Debord, 1967).  Spectacle in Guy Debord’s (1967) Society of the Spectacle amends Marx’s theory of accumulation of production into an accumulation of spectacles in consumer society that produce and reap profit from illusions: pseudo-reforms, false-desires, and selective sightings of progressive evolution (Boje, 2001b).

There are historic and theoretical precedents for looking at the spectacle aspect of theatre.  Plato (360BCE) claimed that spectators were overwhelmed by theatrics, and imitated the drama on stage at home.  Nietzsche (1887/1974) also found spectacle to be nauseous (p. 142 #86); “theatre” is a “spectacle” to “produce intoxification” (p. 142, #86), and recommended that we “stay away from the theatre” (P. 143, #86).  Spectators, argued Nietzsche (1974: 13), were overwhelmed by sentiments.  Aristotle, in Poetics (350BCE), tried to redeem Greek tragedy from Plato’s rebuke by elaborating its six dramatic elements, including spectacle: plot, character, theme, dialog, rhythm, and spectacle. Burke (1945: 231-233) rewrote Aristotle’s spectacle, reducing it to “scene,” while Boal (1979) also bends Aristotle's Poetics, but takes it along what we believe is a more critical postmodern turn.  Debord (1967), and Best and Kellner (1997, 2001), tell us that we are immersed in the society of the spectacle, that there is nowhere to hide from theatre.  Despite their seminal work, and the association of the Situationist movement to Marxist theory, the radical implications of spectacles of production and consumption have yet to be acknowledged in organization studies.  To get a better idea of how antenarrating and spectacle types intertwine, we will look at Enron spectacle dynamics, then at the four types of Enron spectacles.


Enron is a series of spectacles. Before the collapse the U.S. press only told good news stories about Enron. The only exceptions were problems in California during the blackout and in Florida where Enron was stepping on environmentalist toes.  At the time, the U.S. media primarily unflinchingly reproduced the affirmative theatrics of Enron, emphasizing its self-claimed themes of benevolence and progress.  For example, storylines of bringing deregulated power sectors to the needy world dovetailed with Enron PR reports.  The extent of the complicity, from White house to British Parliament, to the media itself is astounding.  Even stock analysts feared they would loose their job if they gave Enron any critical review.

While U.S. news reporters gave only heroic details of Enron performance, it was a target for protesters in California after the blackouts, and in Florida after projects threatened environmental interests the world press was less congratulatory.  Enron outside the United States had long been seen as villainous by the forces of anti-globalization.  Enron had been protested for decades in countries from UK to India, where its power plants have increased utility rates, lead to black outs, pollution, and displacement.  A report by SEEN (Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, 2002: 3) documents how Enron’s global reach was facilitated by $7.219 billion financing toward 38 projects in 29 countries:

In India, police hired by the power consortium of which Enron was a part beat non-violent protestors who challenged the $30 billion agreement – the largest deal in Indian history – struck between local politicians and Enron (SEEN, 2002: 3).


Enron’s ties to the World Bank from 1992 to 2001 provided $761 million (taxpayer dollars) in Enron support and political pressure for countries to submit to Enron programs or lose aid.  Together with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank pressured the world’s government to pursue deregulation and privatization of the power and energy sectors of the global economy in 30 countries around the world.

             Enron, therefore, is a spectacular example of global theatrics.  The complexity and enormity of its façade include clear examples of the different dynamics of spectacle. Try to imagine, if you can, the multitude of sets and scenes, stages and wings, props, characters, dialogues, that Enron produced for public consumption in attempts to attract our gaze and our money.  Feel how the engaging story lines encourage us to suspend our own experience as we are swept up in the themes and rhythms of their making.  A thousand actors, not just a few players, constituted Enron’s global spectacle.  It takes a global village to concoct a fraud the scale of Enron.  Hundreds of protesters in countries around the world could not pierce the Enron veil of spectacle.  It was only with the collapse the U.S. began to glimpse that Enron’s masquerade.


Antenarratives constitute four types of spectacles:  concentrated, diffused, integrated, and mega.  Concentrated spectacles are inner looking, and create a culture of hyper competitiveness and hubris.  Spectacles become concentrated as they are produced and consumed by and for the “internal” customer: the employees, managers, executives, and so on.  Diffuse spectacles are more outer-facing, and are about fragmentation and specialization on the global stages of capitalism, the global marketplace, and global division of labor, in the attempts to conceal the conditions of production.  Integrated spectacles combine concentrated and diffuse spectacles into the fatalism of global capitalism, where resistance to corporate hegemony is seemingly futile.  Mega spectacles are tales of romance, comedy, tragedy or satire (Frye, 1957), offered as mass entertainment, beneath which lie the other three types of spectacles.  Enron is a rich source of data for analyzing the different kinds of spectacles.  The table below elaborates some of the many the storylines scripted by Enron, and the kinds of spectacle that they illustrate.


The stories were gathered from a review of news articles on the Nexus-Lexus database.   We collected 367 examples of Enron spectacles in audio, video, U. S. Congressional hearing archives, and in radio and TV transcripts (and audio) of Enron executive performances (i.e. Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, Proquest, & First Search archives).[ii]  We noticed that the use of the term “spectacle” by commentators and witnesses was mostly about the negative aspects, such as Enron being a ‘debacle,’ and Congresspersons and Enron executives making a ‘sorry’ ‘spectacle’ or ‘grandstanding’ fed by public interest and media frenzy.  Earliest uses of the word “spectacle” were in December of 2001.  Each of the kinds of spectacle will be illustrated below with stories of illusion, excess, and phantasmagoria: that is, with stories about the day-to-day dealings of Enron.

Concentrated Spectacles

Spectacles become concentrated as they are produced and consumed by and for the “internal” customer: the employees, managers, executives, and so on. Concentrated spectacles result from the interactions among the illusions as sources and products of power: they are, in effect, the results of the in-growth and in-breeding of power and illusion.  The concentrated spectacle" says Debord, "belongs essentially to bureaucratic capitalism" (#64), where both production and consumption are constructed in a totalizing self-portrait of power that masks its fragmentation.  Chairman and Founder, Kenneth Lay was a veteran of playing the Washington political power game for big stakes.  On the first week of January 2001 the revelry and celebration was a corporate theatrical event where champagne and liquor flowed:

Kenneth L. Lay strode onto a ballroom stage at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, walking between two giant screens that displayed his projected image. Before him, bright light from the ballroom's chandeliers spilled across scores of round tables where executives from the Enron Corporation… waited to hear the words of Mr. Lay, their longtime chairman and chief executive (Eichenwald & Henriques, 2002).


The words replaced his image on one of the screens.  Mr. Lay announced the company would take on a new mission: Enron would become "the world's greatest company".  Behind the theatrical pageantry, Enron was quietly falling apart.

Important amongst Enron’s concentrated spectacles are those productions named for contemporary theatrics: Star Wars, Bonfire of the Vanities, Strip Clubs, and Mighty Man Adventures.  In these concentrated spectacle examples we get a glimpse behind the curtain of free-market capitalism.

Star Wars Empire.  The Star Wars theme began with the JEDI acronym in 1993, when Enron and the California Public Employees' Retirement System entered into the Joint Energy Development Investment LP.

             Jeffrey Skilling first came into contact with Enron in the late 1980's as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. He took charge of Enron’s trading operation in 1990, and became Enron’s CEO on Feb 12, 2001 until he resigned August 12, 2001.  Skilling was known to insiders as “Darth Vader.”  This was a nickname he was said to be particularly proud of. Skilling decorated his house all black and white, the Enron corporate colors.  It is not surprising those co-workers called Skilling Darth Vader. Skilling is a self-described “control freak,” meaning he ran Enron with tight reporting rules.  Skilling kept subordinates in a state of fear.  “One executive bought a copy of Machiavelli's book "The Prince" to understand Mr. Skilling's ways… The executive said one passage in particular described Mr. Skilling well: ‘It is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with’” (Schwartz, 2002: 1).

Within the silvery Enron tower, he was an intimidating and distant figure. Tim Sullivan, who performed technical services for Enron employees up and down the corporate ladder, said that Mr. Skilling seemed to walk within a bubble of isolation.


"To him, you weren't even there," Mr. Sullivan recalled. Other executives might show him pictures of their children, Mr. Sullivan said, and some might yell about faulty software. But Mr. Skilling was utterly unapproachable and silently fierce, "kind of like an angry dog," he said.


Darth Vader and storm trooper mock-ups were on display in the Enron lobby in July 2000 to advertise the Enron-Blockbuster Video venture. Darth Vader is also what Enron’s competitors called the company.  Enron’s storm trooper lobbyists swept through Washington D.C., state capitals, and entire nations in the late 1990s, demanding the government loosen its grip on the electricity industry (Banerjee, 2002: 1).  On the one hand, Enron sought deregulation of the energy industry.  On the other, it demanded strict limits on power plant’s pollutants and gasses emission levels that were linked to global warming.  Enron was no environmentalist. It sought strict emission limits because it wanted to develop a trading market that would swap emissions credits.

            In addition to the Darth Vader character, Enron’s their deals and partnerships were named after Star Wars characters.  Jedi and Chewco, inspired by the Chewbacca character, became names for Enron off-the-balance-sheet partnerships.  In this way, they served to entertain and thus distract stakeholders from Enron’s “offstage” deceptions.  For example, Enron hid its debt in a network 2832 offshore companies; the network allowed Enron to evade taxes in four of the last five years. Skilling’s lieutenant Andrew Fastow, patron of the arts, was in charge of the off-the-balance-sheet network of partnerships.  Jeffrey McMahon, Enron's one-time treasurer, said Skilling was well aware of the controversial investment partnerships through which Enron hid debt and losses from shareholders.

            Bonfire of the Vanities.  In Lay’s announcement of the mission of Enron was to be the world's greatest company, we find Enron’s plot to reflect the "masters of the universe" arrogance that Tom Wolfe pillories in his 1980s novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities (Broughton, 2002; Farhi, 2002; Shapiro, 2002; Williamson, 2002).  Note too that Enron imploded from within as what happened in the story of the Bonfire of the Vanities.  Enron gala events “were suitably imperial with Tiffany glassware as door prizes and waiters standing by at all times with flutes of champagne” (Peraino, Murr and Gesalman (2002: 27). Skilling, Fastow and Michael Kopper (Fastow’s lieutenant) lived in the exclusive Southampton Place suburb, bordering Rice University.  And as their appetites grew, they built lavish homes in the even more exclusive Houston suburb of River Oaks, where Kenneth Lay lived.

Enron wives were known around Houston for their Mercedes, fur-trimmed sweaters and leather trousers (Broughton, 2002).  "The economic terrorists at Enron had one cause: selfishness and greed," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).  As described by Tom Wolfe in "The Bonfire of the Vanities, greed is the shouting in the bond-trading room: "the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money" in games of high-stakes gambling (Farhi, 2002).  Greed is also top executives routinely cashing in millions in stock options, while telling employees to hold onto theirs; insider trading, exemplified by Lou Pai who "earned" $ 353.7 million when he dumped his Enron stock (Farhi, 2002, March 3 Washington Post); and life at the top of the corporate financial Ponzi scheme, the network of off-the-balance-sheet partnership used to turn debt into pseudo-profits (Shapiro, 2002, Farhi, 2002).

Enron was not only a financial Ponzi scheme but an ethical one. The whole charade would have ended if one man or woman who knew or suspected the truth had stood up and said no, I will not be Enroned into silence.[iii]


 “They played fast and loose -- with cars, with relationships and with numbers, inventing not just a whole new method of accounting, but often the numbers themselves” (Williamson, 2002: 20).  “To the outside world, Enron described itself as a family for which employees were delighted to work punishing hours.  Inside it became increasingly incestuous, sexually and financially” (Broughton, 2002).  Enron’s corporate culture was “sex-drenched” and “out-of-control” where “brutal competition” between two top executives mixed “hubris” with “pride” and “lust” that “ultimately wrecked the company” (Peraino, Murr and Gesalman, 2002: 22, 24).  The continued concentration of spectacle within the company and among company members, with its increasingly fierce struggle for power over anyone and everything, and evidence of that illusory power, was played out in a setting where the illusion of potency and power over women could be bought: the Houston “gentlemen’s club.”  The spectacle of this setting and its related plots and themes is described below.

Houston Strip Clubs.  Some Enron traders and executives built the worst kind of male fraternity culture.  In retrospect, after the collapse, the media has been able to get back stage to see how the concentrated spectacle worked. "It was insane," says a former energy trader, soothing her financial injuries with a margarita.  "There were no rules for people, even in our personal lives.  Everything was about the company and everything was supposed to be on the edge - sex, money, all of it" (Broughton, 2002). “Think strip clubs and Ferraris. Bigger houses, better boats, new wives.  Custom-designed vacations packaged by a company that does trips for the likes of Lyle Lovett and "Survivor II’s Keith Famie” (Frey, 2002: C01).  Peraino, Murr and Gesalman (2002: 27-28) reported that Enron executives frequented Treasures, a “gentleman’s club” in Houston, and put their lap dance and drink charges on Enron credit cards. “Enron traders on their lunch break would buy a bottle of Cristal champagne (put to $575) and repair upstairs to the “VIP Room” (p. 27).  Were there any sexual favors?  “Said a stripper: “If a guy’s going to pay you $1,000, use your imagination” (p. 27).  In the two-tier Enron corporate culture, executives just charged their strip club outings, while employees hid them in other accounts:

“… clever Enron employees managed to find ways to continue to enjoy the local culture at the company's expense. Rather than submitting their own strip club receipts, for example, they would have Enron consultants pay the tab and then include it in the bills they sent to the company” (Financial Times – London, 2002).


“ Greenwich, which became part of Royal Bank of Scotland after the takeover of NatWest… paid to take Enron executives to a Houston strip club… The bankers spent lavishly, entertaining Enron executives at venues including Treasures, Houston's largest lap-dancing club. "They took all the Enron guys. It was the way the town worked," said the former employee.  Greenwich NatWest was invited to be a founding partner of LJM Cayman --- NatWest invested $ 7.5m in LJM in June 1999 (Durman & Nicholas, 2002).


Former Enron executive Lou Pai, the executive described above who made such a killing by cashing in his Enron stock for $270 million, met his second wife in a strip club. Pai indulged his new wife in fine horses, purchasing a 77,500-acre ranch in Colorado. Pai was last seen trying to duck an ABC News reporter while denying that he had brought dancers from "a top Houston strip club" into Enron headquarters (Rich, 2002).

Secretaries who traded sexual favors for positions near the top, were known as “French Lieutenant’s Women” Peraino, Murr and Gesalman (2002: 27).  Skilling and Lay both divorced their first wives and married Enron secretaries.  Skilling got permission from the Enron Board of Directors to date an Enron secretary, Rebecca Carter, whom insiders called “Va Voom” behind her back.  Carter was quickly promoted to executive secretary to Enron’s board of directors; her salary was raised to $600,000. Skilling recently married Carter.  One Enron vice president told Marie Brenner, who writes in the new Vanity Fair (March, 2002), that he openly displayed at Enron headquarters, a "hottie board" to rank the sexual allure of Enron women.[iv]  The dramatic theme of “power over through exploits” was extended to males over males, also.  The rhythms that resulted from these themes were characteristically “hard, fast, and loud” as each member vied for dominance in the concentrated spectacle of the “Mighty Man Club,” elaborated below.

Mighty Man Club.  Skilling built a macho corporate culture, one where hyper competition, in which one wins by doing in the rivals so they cannot compete again reined supreme.  The culture was so ingrained, that even those cast out felt a grudging acknowledgment of the theatrical ability of the winners.  Rebecca Mark, once known as “Mark the Shark,’ was forced out by the Skilling camp, a hard-working, hard-partying team, which members called “The Mighty Man Force.”  As Mark was “watching the spectacle” of the congressional hearing she said she was “amused by the theatrics of the confrontation” but not surprised at Skilling’s “sheer bravado, his ability to intimidate” (Peraino, Murr and Gesalman, 2002: 23).

The Enron headquarters recruits dubbed their corporate culture socialization process, “Enronizing.” “Family time? Quality of life? Forget it.  Anybody who did not embrace the elbows-out culture ‘didn’t get it.’  They were ‘damaged goods’ and ‘ship-wrecks,’ likely to be fired by their bosses at blistering annual job reviews know as rank-and-yank sessions” (Peraino, Murr and Gesalman (2002: 26).  Skilling’s performance review committees earmarked the top 5% and the bottom 5% performers in each division (on a scale from 1 to 5), and 15% of the workers each year from the “bottom” were fired each year.  The bottom 5% who survived the rating game were sent to the Redeployment Office, known as the ‘office of shame.”  They got a phone, a desk, and a chance to be rehired by some other division.  The top 5% got to participate in Bonus Day, also known as Car Day, since lines of flashy sports cars were their prizes.  They were invited to Mexico to race motorcycles in the famed Baja 1000, or Australia for a SUV outdoor adventure, or to Aspen for skiing.

For the young people who made it, Enron was unreal. "Exhilarating," "freewheeling," "innovative," in the words of one 30-year-old who leaped three titles in three years. There seemingly was no cap to the bonuses, which could get as high as $1 million. Here, young Ivy Leaguers believed they could reinvent not just the energy business but the American business model, the whole U.S. economy. "We thought we could change the world; we really did," said one high-ranking young executive (Frey & Rosin, 2002: C01).


In sum, the concentrated spectacles of Star Wars, Bonfire of the Vanities, Strip Clubs, and Mighty Man corporate culture formed the basis of a high-risk, macho hyper competitive culture in which winning at all cost was the only way to survive at Enron.  It was a corporate culture that recruited the best MBAs (accounting and finance majors) from Harvard, Stanford, and other Ivy League schools to become traders, accountants, and consultants.  The recruits were quickly Enronized into the fraternity-like corporate culture.  They believed the hype of the corporate theatrics, and thought they were changing the world.

In fact, in a way they were changing the world: the repercussions of Enron theatrics on the global environment and global economics were violent and far-reaching. In order to see the effect of Enron’s extremes in seeking power over “the other,” it is important to look for fragments of its diffuse spectacle, through which Enron tried to “backstage” who made what product and under what labor conditions.  If concentrated spectacles were used to create illusions at Enron’s corporate headquarters by concentrating attention on the flamboyant antics of its “main” characters, diffuse spectacles sought to keep many aspects of Enron’s operations out of the public eye. The diffuse spectacle sought to apply heavy make up over the scars and wounds of the people and land it colonized, to cloak its inappropriate actions, and to prevent any chances for solidarity among those who tried to tell a story different from the imaginary script that Enron was using to attract global capital and governmental compliance.  The following section, therefore, elaborates Enron’s diffuse spectacle, with particular attention to the global empire building of “Mark the Shark.”

Diffuse Spectacles

The diffuse spectacle is one of fragmentation and specialization in the global economy, global marketplace, and global division of labor, in the attempts to conceal the conditions of production.  In diffuse spectacles, the messiness of fragmentation is foreground.  The "diffuse spectacle" says Debord, "accompanies the abundance of commodities, the undisturbed development of modern capitalism" as it reaches into every nook and cranny (#64).   We live in the Society of the Spectacle, a global economy in which we no longer know who made our products or under what labor conditions.  Spectacle illusions overtake and cover over the reality of material conditions -- the world is backstaged.  The diffuse spectacle of Enron public relations covers global exploitation with theatrics of the New Global Economy.

Diffuse spectacle theatrics is endemic to modern capitalism (Debord, 1967: # 65).  Enron justifies its corporate strategy in the name of grandeur of the New Global Economy, in which its energy trading and energy-infrastructure are star-commodities, important to progress and even national security.  Yet, the consumer can only touch a series of fragments of the New Global Economy of grandeur and commodity happiness.  In Enron’s case, it fielded contradictory projects for provisioning the world with energy.  Enron simultaneously demanded a free deregulated market trading economy and sought governmental project money and loan guarantees; it promised lower rates and efficient service but delivered raised rates and black outs.  In diffuse spectacle, Enron claimed the value of energy-commodity trading, while it built of energy plants and dug pipelines, making those commodities also a value unto themselves.  This double-diffuse spectacle is celebrated and distributed by the media in waves of enthusiasm for Enron commodities.  Both breach any organic development of social needs (Debord, 1967: #68).

Enron’s vision is the world happily unified by deregulated energy consumption and trading.  Diffuse spectacle celebrates illusion of value, but all that glitters is not gold. Enticing investors large and small, Enron cultivated devotion of the masses to Enron consumption.  “But the object which was prestigious in the spectacle becomes vulgar as soon as it is taken home by its consumer--and by all its other consumers” (Debord, 1967: #68).  Examples include rate increases triple that of regulated providers, blackouts to force people to pay the higher prices, and brutal tactics against peaceful protestors.

Mark the Shark Builds a Global Empire.  Rebecca Mark (“Mark the Shark”) took the concentrated New Global Economy spectacle on the road, and made it a diffuse spectacle.  It diffused into the global marketplace as part of Enron’s strategy to develop energy plants in every nook and cranny of foreign markets.  Mark was a classic example of a transformational leader: twice named by Fortune magazine one of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in America, she was a global empire builder, getting Enron to own pipelines and energy plant infrastructure in some 30 countries.  Rebecca Mark (Mark the Shark) is described as “blond and tall and tone, she was sleek and fast and knew how to bite” (Peraino, Murr and Gesalman (2002: 24).  After graduation from Harvard’s business school, Mark became CEO of Enron Development Corp. in 1991. Rebecca Mark’s visions of how to build Enron differed from that of Jeffrey Skilling’s.  Mark favored building the Enron empire with massive pipeline and energy plant projects around the globe, while Skilling hated brick-and-mortar, preferring to build the Enron empire with more virtual corporate strategy of energy trading: to be “asset-lite.”  Mark worked with Henry Kissinger, World Bank, IMF, and WTO to get countries, including China, India, and the Dominican Republic, to build pipelines and plants.

It was the greed of the First World for the exploitation of the Third upon which Enron, with Mark at the helm of its global expansion projects, relied for its success. Enron controlled 20% of all electricity and natural gas transactions in the world.  In India, Enron bankrolled politicians just as they did elsewhere. One of Enron’s biggest projects was the Dabhol Power project in India, where, as it did in the United States, Enron privatized and deregulated India's energy industries. The project near Bombay (now Mumbai) tripled electricity prices.

In 1992, Enron invaded a Guhagar village, situated in at lush tropical paradise, to spread their global energy empire.

In June 1992, Enron representatives came to Bombay and boarded a helicopter to survey plant sites. They picked a site without ever leaving the helicopter, then agreed on a deal to sell electricity to the Indian government. Told by Enron that deregulation was inevitable, the cash-strapped government was strong-armed into accepting the deal (McDaniel, 2002: 1).


On the hilltop, above their village, Enron crews cut back the jungle to build the world's biggest electricity generating plant.  They surrounded the ugly-looking energy plant with its chimneys with razor wire fences.  Inside the razor wire perimeter, Enron also built several Florida-style homes for Enronites, who lived lavishly apart from the villagers. Villagers did not know what to make of the metal umbilical cord coupled to tankers that carried natural gas from the Gulf and fed the plant.  They did notice hot water from cooling turbines wrecked rich prawn fishing grounds, causing fish stocks to drop dramatically.  Simple farmers and fishermen became Enron protesters and for a decade had their limbs shattered by police; 1,000 were dragged off to jail to face charges.

"People here are telling jokes about Enron bosses, saying they may to go jail in America," giggles schoolteacher Ganjanan Dixit, a humble man who has become a local hero for his role in the protest.


"We think it will be a kind of justice if they do go to jail. Enough of us were put in jail because of them."…


But to the villagers, wary of Enron's high-handed arrogance from the first days of the plant, it became a traumatic threat to their whole way of life. Farmers lost their lands, fishermen had their fishing grounds spoiled, and women were beaten when they tried to fight back.


"Enron was so deceitful," says Dixit. "They were like the British East India Company, moving in and taking everything over (Meo, 2002: 12).


The brutal treatment of peaceful village-protesters against the energy plant led Human Rights Watch to accuse Enron of complicity in human rights abuses in a 1999 report.

One of the worst cases in the previous year was Sadhana Balekar, the wife of a fisherman's leader and mother of three. She was pregnant when she was dragged by police, naked from her home, beaten and thrown into jail. She surprised herself by finding she could cope with the pain, indignity and humiliation because she believed passionately in protesting against the plant. Now 32, she was uncomfortable with the protest at first, not sure if the demonstrators were doing the right thing.


"But when they put me in jail and I saw the police beating us, I knew what we were doing was right," she says. "And now Enron has collapsed I'm more sure than ever. They were rotten. God has punished them. We were right" (Meo, 2002: 12).


Enron was the target of regular protests by local citizens in the Maharashtra region of India. An investigation by Amnesty International found that these protests were met with excessive force from local police and company security guards. Nearly 200 protesters were detained under circumstances which rendered them prisoners of conscience: "arrested solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs."


 Others, including women and children, were subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," in the opinion of a former Bombay High Court Judge who investigated on behalf of Amnesty. (Petersen, Luke Eric (2002). A little help from your friends. Toronto Star  January 30, 2002 Wednesday Ontario Edition, Pg. A22)


Mark was no longer at the company when the situation in India became so disastrous that the U.S. government, including Vice President Cheney, intervened on Enron's behalf (Frey, 2002: C01). Raghu Dhar, claims Enron offered him a $1 million a year bribe to become its corporate communication chief, to silence his critical investigative review of the $3 billion Dabhol power plant (McDaniel, 2002: 1).

             Mark’s actions on the global stage were part and parcel of the spectacle of Enron.  The concentrated spectacles with their themes of greed, illusion, and hyper-competition interacted with the diffuse spectacles of contradiction and violence.  The products of the unholy union of these two kinds of larger-than-life spectacles were life-destroying.  It is through attention to the integrated spectacles of Enron, those dramatic turns, both tragic and comic, caused by the interplay of the concentrated and the diffuse spectacles that we can better understand its rise and fall.  Further, it is through increased critique of other examples of integrated spectacles on the global stage that we can begin to unmask those who would attempt to entertain us in order to rob us of our own power and claim it for themselves.  Below, therefore, we present the integrated spectacles of Enron.

Integrated Spectacles

The integrated spectacle combines aspects of the concentrated and diffuse forms in the fatalism of global capitalism, where resistance if futile (Best & Kellner, 1997: 118).  Enron's choreographed theatre integrated its concentrated Darth Vader corporate culture with its diffuse spectacles of Global Empire Building, thereby producing the spectacle of Enron as a $70 billion company in which Darth Vader and the Jedi assured the Eternal Return of Capitalist Hegemony.

Each integrated spectacle is a game of oppression played on the world stage. Enron bought political influence and plundered world energy resources from Nicaragua to India, while presenting itself on the global stage as the  entrepreneur and role model of environmental social responsibility, and philanthropy.

 “That which asserted its definitive excellence with perfect impudence nevertheless changes, both in the diffuse and the concentrated spectacle, and it is the system alone which must continue” (Debord, 1967: #70).  The collapse and fraud-revelations of Enron reveal the illusory community, which had approved Enron almost unanimously.  The integrated spectacle masks an unreal unity.  Most are unable to decode the game until the collapse is inevitable.  Some brokerage firms kept encouraging customers to buy Enron, even after they declared bankruptcy.  Enron constructs an energy commodity world, from which they are separated from those who are exploited.

Representations of $70 Billion.  Enron’s integrative spectacle (concentrated plus diffuse) presented the mass illusion that the executive’s bet on the Wheel of Fortune would continue to reward investors, even when executives were well aware that the reversal of fortune had already been revealed.  On Sept. 26, 2001, Enron's chief executive officer Kenneth Lay urged employees to buy more shares in the Houston energy firm.  "The third quarter is looking great," he said. Now that Andersen and Enron are center stage in their collapse, they are becoming "lightning rods" for the anger of anti-globalization protesters, laid-off employees, and bilked investors (Eichenwald & Henriques, 2002: 1).[DD1] 

Enron did not collapse because the bubble burst on the dot-com economy, or because America finally noticed human rights violations accompanied the building of its Empire, or because the blackouts in India or California, or even because the Andersen auditors got caught cooking the books.  Enron collapsed because spectators began to examine the spectacle illusion presented for their consumption and could no longer suspend disbelief.

Darth Vader and Return of the Jedi.  "’Free us from Enron’, that is the cry of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the top politician in Maharashtra, one of India's most industrialized states and home to Bombay, the nation's financial capital.…Dabhol project alone makes up more than 10 percent of the total direct foreign investment in India since 1992” (Dugger, 2001: 1).

 The 2,184-megawatt project -- which Enron says is the largest gas-fired plant in the world -- has produced a raucous collection of anti-Enron crusaders.  Among them are leftist political parties, consumer advocates and dogged individuals like Pradyumna Kaul, whose small management consulting office is piled with teetering stacks of documents, many printed from the Web…. Dabhol's opponents contend that the deal was meant to generate not just power, but bribes for politicians -- a charge that has never been proved and that Enron adamantly denies.  The novelist Arundhati Roy, who has emerged as India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence, argues that such deals have benefited corrupt officials and foreign power companies, not the public.

 "Once the agreements are signed," she wrote in a recent essay in Outlook magazine, "they are free to produce power at exorbitant rates that no one can afford."… (Dugger, 2001: 1).


Eternal Return of Capitalist Hegemony.  Anti-globalization protesters raised a hearty cheer last week when Enron, which was self-proclaimed as the world's leading company, became the world's biggest ever bankrupt corporation.

Despite Enron’s collapse, Naomi Klein has dubbed "trade-mission cheerleading ... (as) foreign policy" is on the rise throughout the West.  But one of the notable things about the anti-globalism protesters of post-9/11 New York is that so far so few have made so little noise… One must wave signs proclaiming "Another World Is Possible." The debacle of the bankrupt Enron Corp. is a particular theme.  They've got a giant cardboard prop they call the Enron paper shredder.  And the Enron stocks: a replica of the medieval stocks worn around the neck of a wrongdoer…  Protesters say they are fewer in number than usual because people stayed away in response to the aggressive rhetoric of the New York City Police Department…The protesters here are worried…  They know the post-Sept. 11 climate, in general, has been chilling for political dissenters of all kinds.  And they believe, too, that New York City police have been waging a kind of psychological war with their warnings of "zero tolerance" for unlawful protesters.  "I definitely feel a lot of pressure and more fear," said Tricia Schultz, 27, of Portland, Ore., one of the placard painters who planned to protest.  "More fear, because it seems like dissent has been stifled a bit" since Sept. 11.    She is well aware that some people here have criticized protesters for bringing potential unrest to the city on the heels of the terrorist attacks (Duke, 2002: C01). 


The “bursting of the bubble,” the inability of the Enron corporation to uphold the façade, led to a collapse that pulled down the hopes of many for financial stability: investors, employees, community retailers, even the governmental systems that relied on the economic input of Enron’s members.  Among other things, it was the sheer magnitude of the fall from “greatness,” combined with the multitude of individuals and economic systems affected by the collapse of Enron’s stock value, that turned Enron into a mega-spectacle, one in which media compete to entertain and distract spectators with the mythic proportions of the story, and to provide websites where cyber-spectators can replay simulations on the new stage of the spectacle (Best & Kellner, 2001: 226-233).  Members of the media produce the mega-spectacle in order to attract their own investors.  In this way, Enron falls prey within its own concentrated spectacle of hyper competition: it becomes a tragedy.  The following section describes the mega-spectacle of Enron, with particular attention to its parallels with the theatrical genre of tragedy.

Mega Spectacle

Mega spectacle that we see here is one of tragedy, where sensationalized scandals are made into media extravaganzas, such as the Rodney King video tapes, the O.J. Simpson chase and trial, the Clinton sex scandal, the funeral of Princess Diana, and now Enron.  Beneath mega spectacles lies the rest of the iceberg, the other three types of spectacles.  Enron has become the current tragic spectacle; a cautionary tale offered as daily entertainment.  Enron is now incorporated into our thinking, and thus our language: seen in chants like “Don't Enronize Social Security”, and in the naming of global PR as “cultural Enron”.  Enron, as a term, has come to mean theatrics of mass deception.  There is a global crisis of confidence in accounting standards and methods.  Protestors worldwide are calling for more transparency and full disclosure in corporate accounting practices.  There is more distrust of corporate spectacles, as people learn through Enron and Andersen exemplars to distrust corporate messages.  The relation between corporation and government is equally suspect.  “We've got an Enron government" (Burger & Kennedy, 2002: 8).  "What is wrong with Enron is not how it fell, but how it rose," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO.  "Enron economics is not an aberration, it is an ideology."  Archbishop of Canterbury weighed in. "What is happening to Enron at the present moment is a deep challenge to capitalism."

Another way in which Enron reflects tragic drama is in the popular depiction of Enron as a modern day Greek tragedy, complete with hubris, suicide, and reversal of fortune.  J. Clifford Baxter, 43, the Enron vice-president who in May 2001 clashed with Skilling over the off-the-balance-sheet accounting tactics, committed suicide near his Houston home.  Reminiscent of the comic tragedy of Aristophanes, this tough, working-class boy rose to be Vice Chairman of Enron, while remaining a man known for his charity work, charm, and love of family.  Beyond that there is the issue of the complicity of the business college in all this.

Enronization is the process by which the principles of deregulation and privatization are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world.  In theory, a free market economy resulted in increased efficiency as the so-called “invisible hand” makes everyone’s individual strivings achieve collective harmony.  Enronization is more than the spectacles and mega spectacle-scandals of Enron Corporation.  There are many Enrons driven by the forces of Enronization.  Enronization includes the corporatization of government, corporate welfare, and postmodern capitalism.  Enronization, most of all, is a form of theatrics. Enronization weds high risk gambling to the theatrics of capitalism.  Enronization is a script of greed with a Machiavellian plot, and an ideological frame of free market capitalism.  Like McDonaldization and Disneyfication, Enronization is at the center of the New Global Economy.  Enron’s façade has been pierced by a thousand news, academic, and congressional investigations.

As illustrated in the section on integrative spectacle, the theatrical posturing of capitalism is resisted by those seeking to reveal the tragic-comic and deceptive tactics of global capitalism.  This resistance, too, is a kind of theater, called Carnival.  This carnivalesque theatre of resistance is important to an understanding of the relationship of theater to organization studies.


Carnival of the Middle Ages calls to mind images of outrageous mocking Medieval buffoonery, the parody of religion and crown, masks and costumes.  Kristeva says carnival is the double, “it is a spectacle, but without a stage; a game, but also a daily undertaking; a signifier, but also a signified” (1980b: 78).  Kristeva and Bakhtin’s work has been further developed by Barthes (1957, 1977), Derrida (1976), Foucault (1972), Fairclough (1992), and Boje (2001a) in ways that enable us to outline a dynamic theory of corporate theatre.  Contemporary carnivals of protest would include street theatre boycotts against sweatshops, the World Trade Organization, and G-8.  This perspective of theatrical struggle and resistance builds on a dialectical model of theatre such as found in Freire (1970) and Boal (1979).

Out of each situation of oppression and its antithetical contradiction, there emerges a leadership of the carnival of resistance to corporate spectacle.  The Dabhol power plant project was meant to serve India's growing energy needs.  As we discussed there was a sustained carnival of resistance and harassment of anti-Enron protest leaders from the fishing village in western India.  During the California energy crisis, Jeffrey Skilling got a cream pie tossed in his face when he was about to address in San Francisco, at the Commonwealth Club of California.  It is obvious that the Congressional hearings and Sherron Watkins’ whistle blowing are both spectacle and carnivals of resistance.  Since the collapse, Enron as well as Arthur Andersen employees took to the streets to protest the loss of jobs.

Carnival is a call for release from corporate power, a cry of distress and repression mixed with laughter and humorous exhibition meant to jolt state and corporate power into awareness of the psychic cage of work and consumptive life (Boje, 2001b).  At the April 7th Big Business Day, a national day of action was declared against greedy corporate rule in America.  Demonstrators dressed as Enron, Andersen, and other corporate executives, as they fed a 240-cubic feet ‘hungry shredding machine’ the tarnished espoused values of truth, liberty, and justice.  These Enron-inspired carnivals of resistance to corporate rule occurred in 100 locations in the U.S.  Our implication is the possibility of critical consciousness and praxis transforming formal spectacle through emancipatory carnival-like theatre.  Boal (1979), for example, coaches a theatre of liberation from all forms of oppression.


Enron is an interplay of spectacle and carnival theatrics on the global stage.  The full cycle of the Enron story has yet to be told.  Spectacles busts loose into a mega spectacle that generate literally thousands of news exposés, finds its scapegoats, promises reform, then gets back to the business of business: to produce and disseminate spectacles of illusion.  The spectacles then retake the stage, to restore faith in free market global capitalism.  New Horatio Alger characters become romantic heroes of commerce, and the free market economy.  Enron becomes an exception to the rule.

Let us understand how this happens.  In antenarrative terms, the business press and academics focus on deriving a single narrative emplotment to Enron, leaving hundreds of plots in the margins.  Before the collapse, Enron was touted as the King of the New Global Economy, spectacularly successful in worldwide energy trading markets without any brick and mortar assets.  In the rise of Enron, executives were characterized as the heroes of the Empire, whiz kids transforming magically transforming boring and bureaucratic utility industries into virtual energy trading markets in the New Global Economy.  Behind the front-stage curtain, Enron fell apart; creative accounting, greased palms, and gala theatre kept us from seeing what went on backstage.  Executives were propping up stock prices, keeping debt off the books, so that investors would continue to bet on Enron.

Only in catastrophe or utter collapse do spectators glimpse the fictive-producing apparatus of the theatrics of capitalism. With reversal of fortune, everyone sees the Emperor had no clothes.  After the Enron collapse, spectacles of exultation and mass deception turned into scandals for politicians, public institutions (i.e., SEC, Congress, etc.), Arthur Andersen, and the Business College.  Indeed even after the collapse of Enron’s stock value to ground zero, the theatre continues as Enron executives characterize themselves as victims, and former Enron advocates and promoters transform themselves into public advocates and reformers; each uses theatrics to control the scandal.

We are interested in this dynamic process of antenarrative contest, out of which spectacles are socially (re)constructed.  Victors emerge, only to become deconstructed and vilified in the dynamic series of antenarratives and spectacles, thus feeding spectators’ appetite for cathartic release as the drama enacts the tragic flaws purged from the social body.  In capitalism’s antenarrative response to Enron’s fall, Congressional hearings and Justice Department investigations investigate great reversals of fortune brought about by tragic flaws (hubris, arrogance, fraud, & greed). The spectators to the theatre gaze in fear and pity at the parade of characters, and head home to purge themselves of tragic flaws.  The curtain falls on the final act, as a few scapegoats are led off to prison.  The theatrics purge, exonerate, and rehabilitate so spectacle can resume its enthrallment.  Once again we are seduced and suspend all disbelief, freely embracing refabricated dramatic corporate illusions.

We live in the theatre of corporate spectacle.  Corporations produce and distribute spectacles of their heroic power for our consumption.  Here and there carnivals of resistance emerge, and on occasion the momentum of spectacle erupts temporarily into scandal.   We as spectators purge our beings of tragic flaws in the fallen heroes lest we experience our own reversal of fortune.  Our contribution to this special issue on organization studies and theatrics has been to provide a couple of stage lights in order that we might better watch the dramas unfold; or perhaps to turn the lights onto ourselves so that we might better critique our own place as spect-actors in the mix of spectacles; or possibly to provide a few brief program notes regarding the six dramatic elements (plot, character, theme, dialog, rhythm, and spectacle) of the Greatest Show on Earth: Global Capitalism; or maybe simply to hint that if all of life is a stage, we are free to create our own carnival and stories in our own streets, homes, classrooms, and workplaces.




Banerjee, Neela


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Benjamin, Walter

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Broughton, Philip D.


2002   ‘Enron Cocktail of Cash, Sex and Fast Living. The Daily Telegraph (London), Pg. 12.


Burke, Kenneth


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Debord, Guy


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Deleuze, Gilles & Felix Guattari


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Dugger, Celia


2001      ‘High-Stakes Showdown.’  The New York Times. March 20, 2001.


Duke, Lynne


2002   ‘Muffled Protest: Outside the World Economic Forum, Facing Down Strength with Symbols.’  The Washington Post.  February 2, 2002.


Durman, Pau; Hillary Durgin


2000    The guru of decentralization: Profile Jeff Skilling, Enron. Financial Times                     (London) June 26, 2000, Monday London Edition 1. Pg. 14



Durman, Paul & Nicholas Hellen


2002   ‘UK bank trio behind Enron deals.’ Sunday Times (London). February 10, 2002, Sunday.


Eichenwald, Kurt & Diana B. Henriques


2002      ‘Enron’s Last Year.’ New York Times. February 10, 2002.


2002      ‘Enron’s Many Strands: The Company Unravels. ‘ New York Times, February 10, 2002.


Farhi, Paul


2002   ‘Feeding the Beast.’ The Washington Post. March 03, Sunday, Final Edition, Pg. F01.


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Foucault, Michel


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2002            ‘Water Over the Dam.’ The Washington Post. April 17, Pg. C01


Frey, Jennifer & Hanna Rosin


2002   ‘Enron's Green Acres: Those Millions Built Mansions and Purchased Ranches. Then the Company Bought the Farm.’ The Washington Post. February 25, 2002, Monday, Style; Pg. C01


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2001   The Scripted Organization: Dramaturgy from Burke to Baudrillard. In R. Westwood and S. Linstead (Eds.) The language of organization.  London: Sage Publications.

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2002            ‘'60 Minutes' explores Enron deals in India.’ The Houston Chronicle.  April 12, Pg. 1.


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2002            ‘Power Struggle.’ The Scotsman Publications Ltd. March 31, Pg. 12


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2001   ‘Dramatizing and organizing: acting and being.’ Journal of Organizational Change Management, 14 (3), 218-224.


Peraino, Kevin Andrew Murr, & Anne Belli Gesalman


2002      ‘Enron’s Dirty Laundry.’  Newsweek. Pp. 22- 30. March 11.


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2002   ‘The Two-Enron System.’ The New York Times. February 16, Section A; Page 19; Column 1.


Schreyogg, Georg


2001   ‘Organizational theatre and organizational change.’ Paper presented at the Academy of Management conference in Washington D.C., August.


Schreyogg, Georg & Noss, Christian


2000   ‘Reframing change in organizations: The Equilibrium logic and beyond.’ Academy of Management: Best Paper Proceedings, Toronto, August.


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2002   ‘Darth Vader. Machiavelli. Skilling Set Intense Pace.’ The New York Times. February 7, 2002, Section C; Page 1; Column 4.


Shapiro, Walter


2002   ‘Enron's Slogans, Corporate Soldiers Prove Hollow.’ USA Today.  February 8, 2002, Friday, Pg. 4A.


Sloan, Scott


2002            ‘Andersen Indictment Protested.’ Newsday. (New York), March 22.


Sustainable Energy & Economy Network


            2002            ‘Enron’s Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron’s Globalization  Game.’ Available at: http://www.seen.org/PDFs/pawn.PDF



Swaine, Michael


2002            ‘Programming Paradigms.’  Dr. Dobb's Journal.  27 (5): 69-71.


Williamson, Linda


2002   ‘Oil-Gotten Gains: $62B Vanished in Collapse of Enron.’ The Toronto Sun. February 3, Pg. 20.


Table 1:  Four Types of Enron Spectacles




Star Wars Empire

Bonfire of the Vanities

Fraternity ritual in Houston Strip Clubs

Mighty Man Adventure Expeditions



‘Mark the Shark’ builds Global Empire



Representations of $70 Billion

Darth Vader meets Return of the Jedi

Eternal Return of Capitalist Hegemony



Greek Mega-Tragedy






[i]  Convention for citing Debord (1967) is to use ‘#’ to indicate a paragraph number rather than a page number.


[ii] Out of Lexus Nexis database of news and magazine articles produced 57 matches of which 39 were actually about Enron being depicted as spectacle.  Searched on all dates.  Lexus Nexis search of the radio and TV transcripts produced 26 matches of which 20 were about Enron spectacle.  Lexus Nexus search of 16 matches with congressional hearings.  The Proquest database 1999-2002 search on full texts resulted in 14 hits (10 were Enron), prior to 1986-1998 resulted in 3 (none for Enron spectacles) First Search found 3 additional hits.   In total, after removing duplicates, the total database is 66 unique articles about Enron spectacles.  These were assembled into a 47 page document for content analysis.



[iii] Beatty, Jack (2002). The Enron Ponzi scheme. Atlantic Unbound. March 13.  Accessed April 22, 2002 at:  http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/polipro/pp2002-03-13.htm  “For those who don't know the history here, Charles Ponzi was a legendary rogue who made a fortune selling international postal coupons promising higher rates of return than ordinarily available at the time.  He paid off the original investors with money from those who invested later.  Eventually, this house of cards went tumbling down when it became impossible to find new suckers to keep investing money to pay off those whose certificates were coming due. As a result, any scam in which later money is used to pay off early investors in an uneconomic investment has come to be called a ‘Ponzi scheme’” – Savage, Terry (2002).  Fallout from Enron creates some ironies. Chicago-Sun Times on line. February 28.  Accessed April 22, 2002 at:  http://www.suntimes.com/output/savage/cst-fin-terry281.html         



[iv] Zahn, Paula (2002).Watkins, Skilling Face Off; Interview of Lowell Bergman. CNN. Aired February 26, 2002 - 09:19 ET. On web at:  http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0202/26/ltm.10.html