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Discussion Questions for Enron

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1 Discussion Questions for Enron
1.Describe Enron’s corporate strategy and culture and incentive system as reported in the film. Why did the company fail? Compare/contrast Enron’s failure with the failures of major financial services firms last year (Lehman Brothers, WaMu, AIG). 2.Explain and evaluate the narrative methods used in producing this documentary. How is this narrative structured? How is the story developed? What role do interviews play? Who is the narrator and what is his/her point of view? How are music and visuals used? Is the narrative effective?

2 Discussion Questions for Enron
3.Considering the different roles women play in this movie, discuss whether it is a feminist film. 4.Explain the analogy of the Milgram obedience experiment in the movie. (Remember that 50% of those who participated inflicted potentially lethal electric shocks.) Does it work? What were the implications of the experiment for participants? For experimental social science? What do you think would be the results if the experiment were repeated now?

3 Borins reading Introductory chapter of book in progress
Literature review and critique Importance of organizational context Engage with entire narrative, not just exemplification (cf. Garber on managerial readings of Shakespeare, esp. Henry V) Importance of both managerial content and narrative form Dominant/counter fables require context (Freedom Writers/Cheaters) Posner, Law and Literature gets it right

4 Narrative Classification of Enron
Documentary using an all-knowing narrator (starts at the end) Director Alex Gibney’s point of view to show failings of unregulated market in this instance: truthfulness or truthiness? Comparison to Michael Moore? Things fall apart genre in large corporate setting Is it an instance of the dominant fable or a counter-fable?

5 Erikson Questions Ken Lay: integrity or despair?
Which values do you prefer: Erikson’s generativity (caring for the next generation) or Enron’s “he who dies with the most chips, wins”?

6 February 4 – City Hall The movie focuses on three competing narratives to investigate, explain publically, and hold accountable those responsible for the shootings with which it begins: Calhoun’s, the Zapatti family’s, and the union representing detective Santos. Outline each narrative and explain what the relevant party is doing to promulgate it. In general, how do you try to win a competition of narratives?

7 City Hall 2. Discuss Mayor John Pappas’s strengths and weaknesses as a political leader. Also, evaluate Al Pacino’s portrayal of that role. 3. Considering the movie as Kevin Calhoun’s bildungsroman, discuss how well he handled the professional and personal challenges and opportunities that confronted him. Compare/contrast Calhoun with Bud Fox in Wall Street.

8 City Hall 4. A reality check: Read the 2008 New York City performance report on the police ( Is the picture it paints consistent with City Hall (1996)? Why or why not? Assume you are working in the Mayor’s policy office, with responsibility for communications, and a background in narrative. How would you communicate the findings of the performance report?

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