ENRON SEAM ANALYSIS WEB SITE - Authored and compiled by David M. Boje - copyright 2002  (Web Master), This website uses dramaturgy and SEAM to analyze Enron.  Faculty and Students are free to use this web material, if they properly cite it.

How do I cite the Enron is Metatheatre Study Guides?

Document Title: ENRON SEAM ANALYSIS by D. Boje

To apply SEAM to Enron we need to define a few terms and a new method we call critical postmodern dramaturgy. 

SEAM stands for Socio Economic Approach to Management. You Can Click on the Leaves of the Clover Image and review study guides on SEAM. The main SEAM web site is at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/sbc/ 

Figure 1: SEAM 4 leaf Clover CLICK ON EACH PART

The purpose of this web site is to bridge SEAM and SEPTET, and make applications to Enron Case analysis. SEPTET is a dramaturgical method for consulting to organizations with seven dimensions. SEPTET has two related concepts Metascript and Metatheatre. Each is explained briefly:

SEPTET  - We have developed a dramaturgical methodology we call 'SEPTET that means the seven elements for corporate theatre analysis.  The seven elements are: (1) Frames, (2) Themes, (3) Dialogs, (4) Characters, (5) Rhythms, (6) Plots, and (7) Spectacles (click on menu at top for definitions and examples).  Septet re-theorizes Aristotle’s (350 BCE) Poetics and Burke’s (1945) Pentad, integrating their more critical dramaturgy roots with more recent critical-postmodern turns (Best & Kellner, 1997, 2001) taken by Augusto Boal’s (1970) Theatre of the Oppressed and Guy Debord’s (1967) Society of the Spectacle.  We propose a postmodern reinvention of Aristotle’s (350 BCE) dramatic elements (of Poetics). We are not the first to redefine Aristotle’s terms

Metascript is defined as the multiplicity of scripts (mostly unwritten ones) that define the field of actions, where strategies are plotted, characters get trained in their lines, and many feel con-scripted (imprisoned) in their character roles (Savall, 2001). According to Savall (as reported in Boje & Rosile, 2002a), “There are people who are the stars of organizational theatre.  There is an off stage and an on stage, and those who work to perfect what takes place on the stage.  There is a director, and there are people who think they can be better directors.  There are people on the sidelines who want to replace the stars, who think they can do a better job.  With so many directors and also spectators seeking to displace actors and become the new stars, the metascript becomes increasingly chaotic.”    

According to Savall (as reported in Boje & Rosile, 2002a), “There are people who are the stars of organizational theatre.  There is an off stage and an on stage, and those who work to perfect what takes place on the stage.  There is a director, and there are people who think they can be better directors.  There are people on the sidelines who want to replace the stars, who think they can do a better job.  With so many directors and also spectators seeking to displace actors and become the new stars, the metascript becomes increasingly chaotic.”   

Metatheatre - Enron’s dramaturgy that is what Boje and Rosile (2002a, b) call ‘Metatheatre.’ Metatheatre is defined, here, as a multiplicity of theatres (formal, informal, off and on stage) with starring and supporting casts of characters who constitute the ‘concentrated’ and ‘diffuse’ spectacles (Debord, 1967) in theatrical performances experienced by employees, investors, customers and vendors. In short, Metatheatre is the multiple and contending theatres that constitute organizations in a network of simultaneous, stage performances in what Guy Debord (1967) calls the Society of the Spectacle.

There is an online Metatheatre Intervention Manual by D. Boje and G. A. Rosile (2002a) is available on this Website It is being published by the ISEOR Institute in Lyon, France. It applies Metatheatre and SEPTET to the Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM).  There is also a paper being published by Journal of Organizational Change Management (Boje & Rosile. 2002b) that develops the relation between SEAM and Metatheatre. Metatheatre SEAM paper is in WORD format

For Glossary of Key Terms used in this text, see Defining Terms

Next, we relate six key SEAM Social Performance areas to SEPTET dimensions. In this way we combine a Socio-Economic approach with a Theatrical approach to corporate diagnosis and intervention. 

SEAM Social Performance Areas combined with SEPTET Elements (TOP LEAF)


1. WCT Working Condition Themes
2. WOF Work Organization Frames
3. 3C's D - Communication, Coordination, Cooperation Dialogs
4. TR - Time Rhythms 
5. TC - Training Cast of  Characters
6. SP - Strategic Plots

7. SOCIO-ECONOMIC Spectacles

Table 1: SEPTET Elements of Corporate Theatre Analysis - Definitions

ENRON Examples with SEAM focus areas.

1. Plots – have become inter-plots, interconnecting pre-plots in networks, in the middle of being worked out. 

Plots grasp together characters and events out of the historical chronology. Depending on who and what you grasp, you get a very different analysis of Enron's strategic plots. 

Barry & Elmes (1997) describe strategies as stories. Strategic stories have plots.

There are at least 10 Enron Plots. In SEAM plots are Strategic.
  1. Plot 1. It was Andrew Fastow and his lieutenants.
  2. Plot 2. It was Fastow's bosses: Skilling and Lay.
  3. Plot 3. It was the Domino Effect, ripple effects of Enron caused other corporations & executives to be exposed
  4. Plot 4. It is the Whitehouse; this is Enrongate
  5. Plot 5. It was all three Presidents (Bush Sr., Clinton, & Bush Jr.)
  6. Plot 6. It all relates to Afghanistan, and pipelines of ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, & Enron.
  7. Plot 7. Its a remake of the Seven Sisters from 1911
  8. Plot 8. It was a failure of the system of Western Capitalism, its checks and balances.
  9. Plot 9. It was the Business College, they taught the gentlemen crooks everything they needed to de-fraud
  10. Plot 10. It was the greed and hubris of everyone.

2. Characters – the cast of characters are in the middle of being enrolled, and characters morph their personae in schizophrenic ways.

Who is the Cast of Enron Characters? If you limit the root cause of Enron's failure to Andrew Fastow and his lieutenants, that is one cast. You can expand the cast to include Skilling, Mark and Lay. You can expand the cast to include the analysts, politicians, and regulators. Finally you could include the Whitehouse and the Business school. It depends upon how you define the Cast of Characters. For SEAM, the interest extends to how directs, and trains the cast, to how cast members learn their scripts? 

3. Themes – themes of oppression fan out in rhizomatic weaves, and are met by themes of resistance.

SEAM's focus is on Working Condition Themes. At ENRON the Rank & Yank human resources evaluation program implemented by Skilling created a theme of oppression; with 15% cut twice each year, the pressure was to be a Yes Sir culture. There were many who resisted, but these people were ignored, reassigned, or fired. This includes the working conditions of the Stock analysts, who got the same treatment. 

4. Dialogs – obfuscating language and double-speak mixed with euphoric testimonials and bland reassurances attain and shed meanings.

The SEAM focus is on the 3 C's (communication, coordination & cooperation). Dialogs of the 3C's relate to who was inside the dialog and who was outside. It relates to the transparency of the dialog across organizational boundaries. It has to do with Star Wars and Jurassic terms for raptor partnerships.

5. Rhythms – rhythmic resonances self-organize in chaotic patterns that refuse to freeze, and often disintegrate what was just integrated.

SEAM's focus is on time. Here we extend this to temporal patterns inside and outside the firm.  In Enron, there are temporal patterns that recur, and their are novel patterns. Enron evolves for a while then erupts into more revolutionary pattern. Sometimes the ground moves. Within Enron, the temporal horizon of Skilling differed from Mark, in a decade long battle for control of Enron. 

6. Frames - frames are ideologies. There is a dialectic of frames of acceptance (tragedy & comedy) opposed by frames of resistance (burlesque & grotesque).

In Enron, Burke's frames of acceptance (how stakeholders accept the comedic and tragic aspects of Enron executive greed and politicians influence-selling, as inevitable, ‘nothing can be done about it’) are opposed by frames of rejection (those who put Enron and Andersen into media and congressional inquisitions, allegedly to root out executive proclivity for more grotesque fraud and more burlesque sexual scandal). In Enron, the Metatheatre played its spectacles in order to persuade according to what Aristotle calls the Frames of Mind of the spectators.  See Frames for examples of Cowboy Capitalism, New Economy & Free Market frames. 
7. Spectacles – spectacles are intertextual to other spectacles; they embed in socio-economic contexts by decontextualizing and recontextualizing. 

It is time to realize that Spectacles, the least important of Aristotle's (350 BCE) day, is now the most important theatrical element of late modern capitalism (Boje, 2002c). 

There are four spectacles we analyze in Enron: concentrated, diffuse, integrated, and mega. Best source is paper by Boje (2002a). Critical Dramaturgical Analysis of Enron Antenarratives and Metatheatre. See also Spectacles web site that has interactive charts on Enron spectacles. 

Antenarrative is a pre-narrative bet that a story can be told that will enroll stakeholders in ways that transform the world of action. Antenarrative dynamics includes the plurivocal (many voiced), polysemous (rich in multiple interpretations) and dispersed pre-narrations that interpenetrate wider social contexts. There are analyses of Enron's antenarrative trajectories that build upon SEAM and SEPTET. 

The Project - At New Mexico State University, we have developed Codebook that combines SEAM and SEPTET, based upon ethnographic field work. The analysis idea is to begin to code Enron's SEPTET and SEAM elements along the lines of Table 1. Of course new codes will have to be invented to trace the Metatheatre and Metascript aspects of Enron. 

SEAM can also be applied to Enron's leadership. The current project is to look at the traditional 3D box of leadership, with its X (transaction to transformation), Y (will to serve to will to power, and Z dimensions (mono voice topoly-voiced participation) . To think Out of the box, I am suggesting leadership is theatre. 

Figure 2: XYZ Box   of Leadership

SEAM can be applied to the Leadership box and to SEAM (See Table 2).

Table 2: Relation of Leadership to SEAM & SEPTET

 

Out of the box

In the box

 

SEAM/SEPTET

LEADERSHIP

Box  Dimensions

Strategy

Plot s

X Behavior dimension (transaction/transformation)

WC

Themes

Y Power dimension (will to serve/will to power)

3C's

Dialogs

Z Participation dimension (1 voice/many voices)

Inside Box

Training

Characters

Traits (Myers & Briggs)

WO

Frames

Organizing

Situation of Box

Time

Rhythms

Situation (time & place)

S-E

Spectacles

The main Leadership IN THE BOX/OUT OF THE BOX web site is at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/388  and SEPTET http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/septet/  For application see ENRON is METATHEATRE Web Site at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/enron/

 

SEAM is Copyrighted 1999 ISEOR All rights reserved on each schemas and texts

CLICK AND GO TO PAGES in MENU AT TOP or in this BOX

ENRON EXAMPLES DEFINITIONS
1. Characters 1. Characters
2. Plots 2. Plots
3. Themes 3. Themes
4. Dialogs 4. Dialogs
5. Rhythms 5. Rhythms
6. Frames 6. Frames
7. Spectacles 7. Spectacles
OTHER ITEMS

 

Review Key Papers on Enron Dramaturgical Analysis.

Boje, David M. Ph.D. (Enron IS Metatheatre Web Site), This website uses dramaturgy to analyze Enron.  Faculty and Students are free to use this web material, if they properly cite it. Part of the Out of the Box Leadership Web Site http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/388/ where we view Theatrics as a Paradigm Transformation to In the Box leadership paradigm. The paradigms, I think are at least partially commensurate. 

Boje, D. M. (2002a). Critical Dramaturgical Analysis of Enron Antenarratives and Metatheatre. Plenary presentation to 5th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: From Micro-Utterances to Macro-Inferences, Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th July (London).
http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/ENRON_critical_dramaturgical_analysis.htm

Boje, D. M. (2002b) Enron Metatheatre: A Critical Dramaturgy Analysis of Enron’s Quasi-Objects. Paper presented at the Networks, Quasi-Objects, and Identity: Reintegrating Humans, Technology, and Nature session of Denver Academy of Management Meetings. Tuesday August 13, 2002.
  http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/enron_theatre_LJM.htm

Boje, D. M. (2002c) Theatres of Capitalism. Book being published by Hampton Press (San Francisco). Available until publication, on line, at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/index.htm (password is required).

 

TO CITE THIS WEBSITE: In your papers and articles, please cite these documents as follows:

Boje, David M. (2002c) LEADERSHIP IS THEATRE: Septet Elements of Enron's Leadership and Metatheatre. Accessed (put in date of access) at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/septet  

Other - RELATED DOCUMENTS

Boje, D. M. (1995). Stories of the storytelling organization: A postmodern analysis of Disney as 'Tamara-land.' Academy of Management Journal. 38 (4), 997-1035.

Boje, D. M. (2001a). Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research. London Sage.

Boje, D. M. (2001b). Carnivalesque Resistance to Global Spectacle: A Critical Postmodern Theory of Public Administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis. Vol. 23 (3): 431-458.

Boje, D. M. (2001c). Global Theatrics and Capitalism. Presentation to Academy of Management Conference, Washington D.C., August.

Boje, D. M. (2002a). Critical Dramaturgical Analysis of Enron Antenarratives and Metatheatre. Plenary presentation to 5th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: From Micro-Utterances to Macro-Inferences, Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th July (London).
http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/ENRON_critical_dramaturgical_analysis.htm

Boje, D. M. (2002b) Enron Metatheatre: A Critical Dramaturgy Analysis of Enron’s Quasi-Objects. Paper presented at the Networks, Quasi-Objects, and Identity: Reintegrating Humans, Technology, and Nature session of Denver Academy of Management Meetings. Tuesday August 13, 2002.
  http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/papers/enron_theatre_LJM.htm

Boje, D. M. (2002c) Theatres of Capitalism. Book being published by Hampton Press (San Francisco). Available until publication, on line, at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/index.htm (password is required).

Boje, D.M., Ann L. Cunliffe & John T. Luhman (2002). A dialectic perspective on the organizational theatre metaphor. Paper under review.

Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002a). The Metatheatre Intervention Manual. To be published by ISEOR Research Institute of University of Lyon 2, France. http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/ 

Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002b). Theatrics of SEAM. Paper to be published in Journal of Organizational Change Management Special Issue on Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM), guest edited by Henri Savall.    Metatheatre paper in WORD format

Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002b)."SEAM and other Transorganizational Development approaches." Paper to be published in Journal of Organizational Change Management Special Issue on Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM), guest edited by Henri Savall.  

Boje, D. M., Grace Ann Rosile, Rita A. Durant & John T. Luhman (2002). Enron spectacle theatrics: A critical dramaturgical analysis. Under review at Organization Studies, for special issue on organization theatre. 

Gabriel, Yiannis (2000). Storytelling in Organizations: Facts, fictions, and fantasies. London: Oxford University Press.

Krizanc, John (1981/ 1989). Tamara. Toronto, Ontario: Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited (Dates are for first and second edition).

Oswick, C., Keenoy, T. & Grant, D. (2001). Dramatizing and organizing: acting and being. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 14 (3), 218-224.

ENDNOTES

[i] I began to articulate a Critical Postmodern approach in Boje, Fitzgibbon and Thatchenkery (1996); See Alvesson & Deetz (1996) who discuss advantages of integrating critical theory with postmodern theory; and See Best and Kellner (1997, 2001) who have always done critical postmodern theory.

[ii] Firat & Dholakia (1998) are equally important. Their marketing studies of Theatre of Consumption are reviewed in Boje (2002a). In addition Saner (1999, 2000) uses theatre in a more postmodern way in his notion of Off-Off Broadway consulting.

 

Purpose ENRON IS METATHEATRE website is to advance the proposition that organizations are Metatheatre within the Theatres of Capitalism, and that Enron is not to be blamed upon a few errant executives, but on Tragic Flaws of the global system of capitalism, and we are all players, making entrances and exits on in a network of TAMARA-esque stages. In short, Life is Theatre.

Please contact dboje@nmsu.edu to offer suggestions that will develop the SEPTET of Leadership and Theatrics.

INSTRUCTIONS

To Navigate this web site there are convenient menus at top (press here to go to top). The SEPTET elements menu gives basic definitions and examples of characters, plots, themes, dialogs, rhythms, frames and spectacles (the critical dramaturgy dimensions for any corporate theatre analysis). The menu on Enron applies the SEPTET to the Enron chronology and theatrics between 1985 and 2002.  Links will take you to the Out of the Box leadership web site. Enjoy. CLICK AND GO TO PAGES in MENU AT TOP or in this BOX

ENRON EXAMPLES DEFINITIONS
SEPTET DEFINITIONS ENRON EXAMPLES
1. Characters 1. Characters
2. Plots 2. Plots
3. Themes 3. Themes
4. Dialogs 4. Dialogs
5. Rhythms 5. Rhythms
6. Frames 6. Frames
7. Spectacles 7. Spectacles
OTHER ITEMS

 

  SEPTET Dimension, Enron Characters