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Corporate Governance and Firm OrganizationMicrofoundations and Structural Forms$
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Anna Grandori

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269761.001.0001

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Corruption, Fraud, and Corporate Governance: A Report on Enron

Corruption, Fraud, and Corporate Governance: A Report on Enron

Chapter:
(p.159) 7 Corruption, Fraud, and Corporate Governance: A Report on Enron
Source:
Corporate Governance and Firm Organization
Author(s):

Paul Windolf (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269761.003.0008

This chapter revisits the Enron scandal through a Weberian lens. It reminds us that the ‘spirit of capitalism' is not about avarice and greed, but precisely about the transformation of these irrational compulsions, and the rational and tempered pursuit of gain through appropriate institutions. It draws on classic sociology for defining corruption as misapplication of codes of conduct across social realms that should be regulated by different codes (the economic, political, and science realms) and fraud as the breach of trust. It highlights how under some common conditions in modern economies, such as information asymmetries and intangible assets, if the prevailing system code is strictly economic, the opportunity structure for fraud and corruption can only be increased.

Keywords:   corruption, Weber, unintended consequences, rules, capitalism

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