SPECTACLE THEATRICS: A CRITICAL DRAMATURGICAL ANALYSIS
of Business Administration and Economics
Mexico State University
Cruces, NM 88003
Phone: (505) 646‑1201
of Business Administration and Economics
Mexico State University
Cruces, NM 88003
Phone: (505) 646‑1201
Rita A. Durant
Department of Management and Marketing
College of Commerce and Business Administration
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: (205) 394-5267
Mexico Highlands University
Rancho, NM 87124
(505) 891‑2046, ext. 50
SPECTACLE THEATRICS: A CRITICAL DRAMATURGICAL ANALYSIS
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.
Spectacles, Critical Dramaturgy
SPECTACLE THEATRICS: A CRITICAL DRAMATURGICAL ANALYSIS
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).
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”.
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.
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);
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.”
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
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).
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.
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:
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).
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
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).
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
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.
INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE
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
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.
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 &
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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]
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
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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
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.
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 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.
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).
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
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
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.
1992, Enron invaded a Guhagar village, situated in at lush tropical paradise, to
spread their global energy empire.
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).
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.
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.
think it will be a kind of justice if they do go to jail. Enough of us were put
in jail because of them."…
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.
was so deceitful," says Dixit. "They were like the British East India
Company, moving in and taking everything over (Meo, 2002: 12).
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
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:
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
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)
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 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
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
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.
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]
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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).
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘Who Will Needle Regulators Now That Enron's Muzzled?’ The New
York Times. January 20, 2002, Sunday, Section 3; Page 1; Column 3.
The Arcades Project. Translated by Howard Eiland, Kevin
McLaughlin. Cambridge, MASS: Harvard University Press.
Best, Steven & Kellner,
The Postmodern Turn. New York/London: The Guilford Press.
Postmodern Adventure. New York/London: The Guilford Press.
Theatre of the Oppressed. Translation by Charles A. & Maria-Odillia
Leal McBride. Originally published in Spanish as Teatro de Oprimido in 1974. New
York: Theatre Communications Group.
Boje, David M.
of the storytelling organization: A postmodern analysis of Disney as
of Management Journal. 38 (4), 997-1035.
2001a Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research.
‘Carnivalesque Resistance to Global Spectacle: A Critical Postmodern
Theory of Public Administration.’ Administrative
Theory & Praxis. Vol. 23 (3): 431-458.
‘Enron Cocktail of Cash, Sex and Fast Living. The Daily Telegraph
(London), Pg. 12.
A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Timothy. & Mangham, Iain
From Dramaturgy toTtheatre as Technology: The Case of Corporate
Theatre. Unpublished paper The Management Centre, King’s College,
University of London.
Society of the Spectacle. La Société du Spectacle was first
published in 1967 by Editions, Buchet-Chastel (Paris); it was reprinted in 1971
by Champ Libre (Paris). The full text is available in English at http://www.nothingness.org/SI/debord/index.html
It is customary to refer to paragraph numbers in citing this work.
Gilles & Felix Guattari
A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Trans. By Brian
Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
‘High-Stakes Showdown.’ The New York Times. March 20, 2001.
‘Muffled Protest: Outside the World Economic Forum, Facing Down
Strength with Symbols.’ The
Washington Post. February 2,
Pau; Hillary Durgin
The guru of decentralization: Profile Jeff Skilling, Enron. Financial
(London) June 26, 2000, Monday London Edition 1. Pg. 14
Paul & Nicholas Hellen
‘UK bank trio behind Enron deals.’ Sunday Times (London).
February 10, 2002, Sunday.
Kurt & Diana B. Henriques
‘Enron’s Last Year.’ New York Times. February 10, 2002.
‘Enron’s Many Strands: The Company Unravels. ‘ New York Times,
February 10, 2002.
‘Feeding the Beast.’ The Washington Post. March 03, Sunday,
Final Edition, Pg. F01.
Times – London
‘A night on the town.’ February 12, USA Edition 1 OBSERVER;
Fuat A. and Nikhilesh Dholakia (1998). Consuming People: from Political economy
to Theaters of Consumption. London/NY: Routledge.
Discipline And Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated from
the French by Alan Scheridan. New York: Vitage Books (A Division of Random
‘Water Over the Dam.’ The Washington Post. April 17, Pg. C01
Jennifer & Hanna Rosin
‘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
The Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Frame Analysis. New York: Harper Colophon Books (Harper & Row
February 7. Text available at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/07/business/08ENRON-FULL-TEXT.html
The Scripted Organization: Dramaturgy from Burke to Baudrillard.
In R. Westwood and S. Linstead (Eds.) The language of organization. London: Sage Publications.
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1, The Process of
Capitalist Production. Translated from the 3rd German Edition by
Samuel Moore & Edward Aveling and edited by Frederick Engels. Y:
International Publishers. Hamberg German edition 1867, New York: L.W. Schmidt.
‘'60 Minutes' explores Enron deals in India.’ The Houston
Chronicle. April 12, Pg. 1.
‘Power Struggle.’ The Scotsman Publications Ltd. March 31, Pg.
The Gay Science. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. Translation based
on the second edition Die Frohliche Wissenchaft, published in 1887. New York:
Random Hose, Inc. (Vinage Books Edition).
Cliff, Keenoy, Tom & Grant, David
‘Dramatizing and organizing: acting and being.’ Journal of
Organizational Change Management, 14 (3), 218-224.
Kevin Andrew Murr, & Anne Belli Gesalman
‘Enron’s Dirty Laundry.’ Newsweek. Pp. 22- 30. March 11.
The Republic. Translated by
Benjamin Jowett. Buffalo: Prometheus, 1986.
Available at: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.11.x.html
William C. Jr.
Report of Investigation by the Special Investigative Committiee of
Board of Directors of Enron Corporation, Feb. 1 2002,
Accessed May 13, 2002 http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/enron/specinv020102rpt1.pdf
‘The Two-Enron System.’ The New York Times. February 16,
Section A; Page 19; Column 1.
‘Organizational theatre and organizational change.’ Paper presented
at the Academy of Management conference in Washington D.C., August.
Georg & Noss, Christian
‘Reframing change in organizations: The Equilibrium logic and
beyond.’ Academy of Management: Best Paper Proceedings, Toronto,
‘Darth Vader. Machiavelli. Skilling Set Intense Pace.’ The New
York Times. February 7, 2002, Section C; Page 1; Column 4.
‘Enron's Slogans, Corporate Soldiers Prove Hollow.’ USA Today.
February 8, 2002, Friday, Pg. 4A.
‘Andersen Indictment Protested.’ Newsday. (New York), March
Energy & Economy Network
‘Enron’s Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron’s
Globalization Game.’ Available
‘Programming Paradigms.’ Dr.
Dobb's Journal. 27 (5): 69-71.
‘Oil-Gotten Gains: $62B Vanished in Collapse of Enron.’ The
Toronto Sun. February 3, Pg. 20.
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
Representations of $70 Billion
Darth Vader meets Return of the Jedi
Eternal Return of Capitalist
for citing Debord (1967) is to use ‘#’ to indicate a paragraph number
rather than a page number.
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.
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
Zahn, Paula (2002).Watkins, Skilling Face Off; Interview of Lowell Bergman.
CNN. Aired February 26, 2002 - 09:19 ET. On web at: