What is DEI 2.0 Processual Life?
“What really exists is not things made but things in the making” (William James, 1909 A Pluralistic Universe).
The ENRON material is in Part II. Part I, I develop a visual language of two kinds of processes.
What is a process? There are at least two kinds. One is substantive-process, focusing on ‘things made’. We go Beneath that one. The other is about kinds of Becoming-process, focus on ‘things in the making.’
How do we live a processual ethical life of True Storytelling? For that we go deeper into Being, and even into Beyond.
We uncover the deeper ‘essence of truth‘ of beings-in-Being. The theme of this essay: All Hearts Point to Being.
Antenarrative processes are generative of story and narrative forms. There are two kinds of processes mysticisms: One is that there is one grand process (aka strong process), and the other is a web of microprocesses that are constitutive and generative, and in what Heraclitus called flux:
“All things are in flux; the flux is subject to a unifying measure or rational principle. This principle (logos, the hidden harmony behind all change) bound opposites together in a unified tension, which is like that of a lyre, where a stable harmonious sound emerges from the tension of the opposing forces that arise from the bow bound together by the string” — Heraclitus (c.535 – c.475 BCE) .
What does process-metaphysics have to do with DEI? Alfred North Whitehead’s (1929) Process and Reality book (click here) develops a Metaphysical Principle: The many become the One, and the One becomes the many. In other words, the diversity becomes the actual system and that system become DEI. Whitehead’s contribution to process is the notion of BECOMING of changes in organizing. It is not the Kurt Lewin model of change: unfreeze, move, refreeze. For Whitehead processes are in flux, the potentially changing actuality of plurality. For more on types of mysticism of process approaches (Click Here), here are two excerpts:
“Influenced by Whitehead’s ways of thinking, process philosophers and theologians propose that there are ‘multiple ultimates’ around which religions can be centered, and each ultimate has its special relevance, given the needs at hand and the questions being asked. If we ask: ‘What is the ultimate ‘stuff’ of which all things are manifestations?’ the answer is Creativity. If we ask what is the fundamental metaphysical principle of which all beings are expressions?,” the answer is: interconnectedness.”
“A prehension of an object, or of an element of an object,
changes the internal constitution of the prehending subject. Prehension is a process by which an actual entity, or prehending subject, becomes itself by appropriating
elements from other actual entities. Thus, the becoming of an actual entity occurs through a concrescence of prehensions… Concrescence is a process by which prehensions become more concrete. Prehensions bring evidence of concrete actual entities, which are the final realities”
Whitehead’s notion of prehension fits what I mean by antenarrative processes, their grounding in concrescence.
Our daily challenge in DEI 2.0 lies in finding ourselves in push and pull of two process-mysticisms. On the one hand, the Push force of substantive-process of One Grand Narrative fits all the diversity. On the other hand, the Pull force of micro-processes of diversity and inclusion of Microstoria in interconnectedness. As William James puts this, the Push force of ‘things made’ one way, and and Pull force of things in the making in interconnectedness. At any given moment living a true life, we encounter the mysticism in of our diverse being BEING-in-the-whole.
Which is your true storytelling process? The answer says something about how you live your life of True Storytelling. To Be connected to the diversity We and to Ecosystems of diverse beings of Nature is about the quantum vibrational field. Everyone’s living story is different, and that diversity and plurality matters of letting diverse being Be.
Print Edition Book released Aug. 1 2017 Order from Amazon.com; The book is done in acts and scenes instead of chapters:
Act 1 The Bet
Scene 1 Antenarrative Theatre
Scene 2 10 White Cadillacs & Spectacle
Scene 3 What type of Spectacle?
Scene 4 What is Capitalism?
Scene 5 Postmodern & Critique of Capitalism
Scene 6 What is Corporate Theatre?
Scene 7 Enron & The Septet
Act 2 Theatres of Action
Scene 8 Disney
Scene 9 McDonalds
Scene 10 Las Vegas
Scene 11 Post-11
Scene 12 Enron
Act 3 Rescripting Theaters of Capitalism
Scene 13 Festive Work
Scene 14 McTheatre
Scene 15 Festivalism
Act 4 The Climax
Scene 16 Conscious Capitalism
Scene 17 Theatrics of Leadership
Anteroom – You are a spectator seated in the anteroom waiting for the curtain to rise, and the play to begin. What you have yet to see is that the theatre never stops; it is all around you. Do not expect to neither stay on your side of the presidium arch; nor will actors remain on stage; they mingle with the audience, and at any moment you will realize you are actor as well as spectator and leap onto the stage. This play is a trilogy, the theatrics of spectacle, carnival, and festival awaits you. Spectacle is a repertoire of illusions; carnival theatre has the task of bringing the back stage on stage; festival theatre is life affirming yet easily co-opted. I will show you what spectators, even actors, are not meant to see, that the trilogy is not off or back stage but already engulfs you. Theatre never ceases.
Act 4: Scene 16 Festival Theater
“Beyond the often-violent spectacle theatre of so-called “free market” capitalism and the failed alternative of “state-bureaucracy” spectacle, and the accompanying violent protest of carnivalesque street theatre, there is another path we have explored in the previous chapter, festivalism. The festivalism I have in mind would be a more conscious capitalism.”
How to get there. I propose a visual language of the 4 hearts in relation to the dramaturgy of scychronic and diachronic.
Defining two terms: synchronic and diachronic of Theatre of Capitalism
Synchronic and Diachronic are the grid lines of the four hearts of True Storytelling. And they are two processes that crisscross in DEI 2.0.
VERTICAL AXIS of 4 Hearts: Synchronic spaces outside time. It is the timeless layering of levels of spaces, of the One Space into which the Many are put into. The One space Grand Narrative fits All. The possiblity of Diversity of Inclusion spaces of all the beings.
HORIZONTAL AXIS of 4 Hearts: Diachronic is path of Becoming inside time and outside the spaces.
Push and Pull Force of the Synchronic Processes The substantive process-mysticism is about going BENEATH the blame the scapegoat and to go BEYOND to the diverse plurality of micro-processes.
The Synchronic and the Diachronic criss cross in BEING. It is where the four hearts point.
The point of this essay is to develop a Critical Dramaturgy deconstructing the DEI Spectacle by doing Carnival Dramaturgy that gets to potential-actuality of possiblity of DEI 2.0 in the Festival.
So I will say, go BENEATH the level of abstraction of a process that is about substance things, or just about independent and dependent variables. Get into the processes of BEING-in-time, BEING-in-space, BEING-in-mattering. In the TRUE STORYTELLING book with Larsen and Bruun we work out the ethics of living a life in truth, which is Soren Kierkegaard. Getting BENEATH the dualities, pre-conceptions, prejudices, and dualities of discriminations in the substance ‘things made’ process approach of misplaced concreteness. Get to the ethics of a true life, of things in the making.
PART I: How does a processual life relate to moving form ODC 1.0 to ODC 2.0, and from DEI 1.0 to DEI 2.0?
A ‘strong process’ does not go BENEATH the dualities. It focuses on dualizes mind vs. body, male vs. female, white vs. black, reason vs. emotion, humanity vs. nature, individual vs. collective, organization vs. environment, and global vs. local. In each of these dualities, in Grand Narratives, the first term is usually hierarchically-dominating the second term. Or the second term is just missing, implied or marginalized by the first term.
What to do? Let’s develop a visual language of True Storytelling. Notice: All the True Storytelling Hearts point towards Being, which we symbolize by the Nautilus shell.
The Nautilus Shell is a spiral, known as the Golden Mean, and a Fractal pattern. DEI 1.0 is one fractal patterns we can transform into another fractal pattern, DEI 2.0.
What is the essence of Truth of being Being?
We live process in two worlds and two kinds of Becoming. One world is full of dualities that we in True Storytelling go Beneath. The other world is dialogical processes in what we call the Beyond of intuition, abductive 6th sense. Temporally, there are two kinds of Becoming hearts that point into Being.
What is a Visual Language of True Storytelling? Can we develop a visual language, with a symbol for each principle/process/tool of True Storytelling. Here are the 4 hearts and the Golden Shell, without words:
The purpose of this visual language is to begin to form visual sentences. To do that we can define each term, then begin making visual music, the combination of chords.
The BEFORE-Heart has one kind of BECOMING
It is called retrospective-sensemaking. It can cover over Little Wow Moments of Microstoria.
The BETS-Heart a different kind of BECOMING
It is call prospective sensemaking. It can cover over emergent Opportune Moments of Kairos (where timing is everything).
One more symbol, for visual language, then we combine them.
Above is symbol for BETWEEn the hearts, that open space of Being where in True Storytelling we do the staging of communications to other beings.
Beneath dead concepts of things already made, we can being living a processual life of True Storytelling in Nature, respecting all being Being.
We can begin to make combinations of the symbols. Next is a horizontal time process of interplay of Before-heart and Bets-heart with BEING-in-the-world. It is interplay of retrospective-prospective sensemaking, of past Little Wow Moments of Microstoria entangling with Kairos Opportune Moments emerging from Futuring. This is the ‘diachronic’ process approach. Diachronic means timing of the temporal event, that constitute narrative.
Next a look at the most neglected process dimension, the vertical Hearts interplaying with BEING. This is the Synchronic. Synchronic studies events at one time, or the plurality of events filling spaces without references to their history. Obviously BEING is not separating SpaceTimeMattering. So the Diachronic (timing) and Synchronic (spacing) are interactive in BEING-there. As we GO BENEATH and GO BEYOND, the spatializing of space is a process focus. The BEYOND metaphysics are how the fragmented micro=processes are pre-constitutive of narrative and story.
The Beneath-heart of story Process Schools, with Substantive Metaphysics of Aristotle, Kant, and Descartes are all about Logical Empiricism, and those Grand Narratives that classify every substantive things. The Beneath Hearts points to BEING. So too does the Beyond-heart point to BEING, to uncovering the Open Regions of BEING. The Beyond-heart is the school of Micro-processes, the Abductive creative insights of rebel voices mobilizing in Living Story Webs of Relational Process Ontologies (e.g. Mary Parker Follett; William James’ ‘streams of experience’; Whitehead’s relations of actual-potential events.
In this Table is the overall big picture view of the principles informing our antenarrative processes and some tools to move to DEI2.0:
True Storytelling Book (Key Symbols)
|7 Antenarrative Processes|
Antenarratives are pre-constitutive processes out of which narratives and stories are created
|7 Tools to transform DEI 1.0 to DEI 2.0|
Boje (2001) Narrative Methods for Communication book
Note: Chapter 1 eight deconstruction steps open each of these tools in the Chapters indicated below:
|1.||True||1. BENEATH Single Loop process: assessment – Where your organization is now in its DEI?||Tool 1: Duality Search of Grand Narratives(chapter 2)|
|2.||Already There||2. BEFORE What is the deeper history of your DEI?||Tool 2: Reinterpret Hierarchy with Microstoria Histories (chapter 3)|
|3.||Plot||3. BETS ON FUTURE – How to align DEI in the strategic planning? Choosing among plots||Tool 3: Deny the Plots (chapter 7)|
|4. BEING in Here and Now – Developing DEI in all spaces & times of ODC 2.0 by Closing the Double Loops of Learning||Tool 4: Other Side of the Stories by Mapping Themes in spacetimemattering (chapter 8)|
See examples of Enron themes below.
|5.||Helping||5. BECOMING – of Double Loop of continuous process improvement of DEI systems||Tool 5: Find the Exception with Dynamic Story Networking Maps (chapter 4) with ICEND (Interactive, Communicative, Experiential, Networking Developing|
|6.||Staging||6. BETWEEN – How do you visually communicate the DEI 2.0 to Stakeholders? Preparing for Triple Loop||Tool 6: Trace Between the Lines with Intertextuality (chapter 5). See Enron Intextuality Example|
|7.||Reflect||7. BEYOND – How your organization systems can continue an embodied process of reflection that attunes to ethics and aligns DEI 2.0 to ODC 2.0?||Tool 7: Final Resituation Path (& Rebel Voices) with Root Cause Analysis (chapter 6) to enact Triple Loop in embodied Reflection, aligning DEI 2.0 with We-centric and Eco-centric|
7 Principles, 7 Antenarrative Processes, and 7 Tools of Deconstruction
PART II: The Enrond Case to Apply 7-7-7
Why am I writing this True Storytelling Think Tank essay on Dramaturgy? I made a deathbed promise to my dad.
My Story of Deathbed Promise to my Dad: December 2000, my Dad called, “David, I want you to research connections between the Whitehouse, Enron, and oil; I don’t like what President Bush is doing to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.” 1959 – 1961, dad had worked around ANWR repairing U.S. early warning defense installations (Click for More Maps and current Climate Change Report).
Dad called again, shortly after September 11th 2001, “David, I want you to research the relation between oil contracts in the Gulf War, and in Afghanistan, and the escalated War on Terrorism.” More Enron research requests.
I flew to visit him in Oregon, and explained, “Dad, I study Nike and Disney storytelling; I am not an oil industry economist or political scientist.”
Dad said, “You work in a Business College, this is about business!”
I finally agreed to do the analysis of 9,784 Enron stories that unfolded and enfolded in plurality of directions and contexts (Langley & Tsoukas, 2010: 18).
Dad died March 11, 2002 (age 77) before I could share with him those oil-Whitehouse-war connections that now are so very obvious to you looking retrospectively at the Enron debacle.
Langley, Ann; Tsoukas, Hari. (2010). Introducing ‘perspectives on process organization studies.’ Pp. 1-26 in Tor Hernes & Sally Maitlis (Eds.). Process, Sensemaking, & Organizing. Oxford, UK: Oxford Press.
Here is what’s new process knowledge. Dad had what Alfred North Whitehead calls ‘prehension‘ about processes. Less than a year after Dad told me to study Enron: October 2001, the company declared bankruptcy and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen – then one of the five largest audit and accountancy partnerships in the world – was dissolved.
On March 12, 2002, Daniel Quintin Boje (my Dad) died. He was an entrepreneur, inventor, a gold prospector and a hermit in the forests of Oregon. Dad ask me, a business Professor, to study the connections between the Cast of Characters in Enron and the Whitehouse, and explain the push for pipelines in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Reserve, and the Post-9-11 War on Terrorism; “David” he said, “this war is about oil.”
The Deep & Rich Part of My Answer: I made this deathbed promise. So I reviewed multiplicity of Enron stories and narratives for their critical dramaturgy. Dad refused to be silent about the ecology and indigenous peoples, he loved so much.
“The war over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) — one of the most contentious and enduring environmental fights in U.S. history” (Wright, 2017) [Click Here for more].
“The truth is that the need to keep feeding the 40-year-old pipeline with oil is a key factor behind the current drive to open ANWR to fossil fuel drilling” (Wright, 2017).
I began deconstructing thousands of EnronNARRATIVES, and by going into the BEFORE, what the Italian narrativists call, MICROSTORIA, the stories of the Little People, that get edited out of the Grand Narratives.
After all: We train the accountants and managers of Enron and Arthur Andersen; We are Business College faculty.
Enron is an excellent opportunity to study processes of antenarrative-dialog production, distribution and consumption that emerge in corporate as well as congressional theatre.
I ended up writing several journal articles with Grace AnnL This is a good one to start with:
Boje, D. M., & Rosile, G. A. (2003). Life imitates art: Enron’s epic and tragic narration. Management Communication Quarterly, 17(1), 85-125. Click here for PDF.
This comparison of nine Enron Plots is from Boje & Rosile, 2003:
Boje, D. M., Boje, G. A. R. D. M., & Rosile, G. A. (2002). Enron Whodunit? Ephmera Journal, Critical Dialogues on Organizations (Click for PDF from Research Gate).
The Whodunit Plots:
What is Plot?
- Plot is not chronology. It is a causal chain of select events, leaving most events at the margin (Boje, 2001: 108). See the full chronology of events, and notice what’s not being plotted.
- Plots are emergent antenarratives bets on the future, rather than whole accounts.
- Plots are intertextual, inter-plot relationships of a network of players.
- Plots are theatrically performed to persuade some audience. Enron erect a Hollywood-style stage, where secretaries pretended to be doing money trades, while Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling read from fictitious number flashing on big screens.
The broader, more epic (Grand Narrative( contrasts with the typical tragic narration. The tragic narrators might begin with Clinton’s 1997 description of Enron CEO Kenneth Lay as having the strength and diversity necessary to keep the New Economy on track in the 21st century. The Hero’s Journey of the Enron Executives, then the Enron tragic fall, dragging the victims who invested life savings with them.
Enron was a Spectacle
Rebecca Mark, VP of Enron rides an elephant into the corporate event, to punctuate her new initiative. This is what Aristotle calls Spectacle, the costuming, the artifacts, and scenography of dramaturgy.
“Enron shows us dramaturgy gone amuck. In this article, critical theory and postmodern theory are crossed to form a critical dramaturgy resulting in two main contributions. First, critical dramaturgy is differentiated from other forms of dramaturgy, showing how ‘spectacle’ is accomplished through a theatrical performance that legitimates and rationalizes, and casts the public in the role of passive spectators” (Boje, Rosile, Durant, & Luhman, 2004).
Kenneth Lay in Carmen Miranda Character for Gala Event
Jeff Skilling in Vader Costume for Enron Extravaganza Event
Jeff Skilling and Rebecca Mark performing in Metatheatre at Enron Event
Enron’s Board of Directors (Jeffrey Skilling & Kenneth Lay are seated)
Cast of Characters of the Bush Administration who are linked to Enron
This is David Boje and Grace Ann Rosile. We are part of the Enron Cast of Characters. We train the accountants and managers of Enron and Arthur Andersen; We are Business College faculty.
On March 12, 2002, Daniel Quintin Boje (David’s Dad) died (77 years old). He was an entrepreneur, inventor, and a gold prospector in the forests of Oregon. Daniel asked that his son, David, a business Professor, to study the connections between the Cast of Characters in Figure 3 and the Whitehouse push for pipelines in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Reserve, and the Post-9-11 War on Terrorism; “David” he said, “this war is about oil.”
Enron is an excellent opportunity to study processes of antenarrative-dialog production, distribution and consumption that emerge in corporate as well as congressional theatre.
December 2000, Dad called, “David, I want you to research connections between the Whitehouse and oil; I don’t like what President Bush is doing to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.”[i] He had worked in the late 1950s around ANWR repairing U.S. early warning defense installations.
Dad called again, shortly after September 11th, 2001: “David, I want you to research the relation between oil contracts in the Gulf War[ii], and in Afghanistan, and the escalated War on Terrorism.”[iii] I flew to visit him, and explained, “Dad, I study Nike and Disney storytelling; I am not an oil industry economist or political scientist.” He said, “You work in a Business College, this is about business.” I finally agreed to do the analysis. Dad died before I could share with him those oil-Whitehouse-war connections that now are so very obvious to you due to the Enron debacle.[iv] I know this deathbed promise is why I reviewed over 9,784 Enron stories (Figure 3) for their critical dramaturgy, for this talk. Dad refused to be silent.
Boje, D. M., Gardner, C. L., & Smith, W. L. (2006). (Mis) using numbers in the Enron story. Organizational Research Methods, 9(4), 456-474.
Smith, W. L., Boje, D. M., & Gardner, C. (2004). Using the ethnostatistics methodology to reconcile rhetoric and reality: An examination of the management release of Enron’s year end 2000 results. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management.
Boje, D. M., Adler, T. R., & Black, J. A. (2005). Theatrical facades and agents in a synthesized analysis from Enron theatre: Implications to transaction cost and agency theories. Tamara Journal of Critical Organization Inquiry, 3(2), 39.
Part of the Enron Spectacle, was to pretend there was investor activity, when there wasn’t. This keeps the con-game going.
For example, “Tuesday, October 23, 2001, Lay huddled with a small group of advisers in a conference room adjoining his 50th-floor office suite. They were rehearsing “a carefully worded script” prepared by Enron’s publicists and several executives … Lay was to preside over a live Web cast chat with security analysts in an effort to quench the media firestorm about Fastow’s role in LJM partnerships. The script “suggested that no one at Enron was responsible for the LJM partnerships. Failure it would seem, was an orphan” [Boje, Gardner, & Smith, 2006: 409). (More)
“We are looking at the process of using theatre to persuade others that the constructed numbers reflect the “real” situation of the firm. For example, once each year from 1998
through 2001, an elaborate theatre stage was constructed on Enron’s sixth floor to simulate a real trading floor: According to former Enron employees, on the sixth floor of the company’s downtown headquarters was a set, designed to trick analysts into believing business was booming… former employee Carol Elkin said that it was all an act, and that no trades were actually made there. The people on the phones were talking to each other. Enron’s theatre was expensive, $500 to set up each desk, more for phones in this stagecrafted spectacle, and more for the 36-inch flat panel screens and teleconference conference rooms. On this imitation Hollywood stage, the entire set was wired by computer technicians who fed fake statistics to the big screens. On the big day, several hundred employees, including secretaries, played their rehearsed character roles, pretending to be ‘energy services’ traders doing megadeals. Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay played their starring role in the Enron dramatis personae to a target audience of invited Wall Street analysts, who cannot tell real from fake” (IBID., More).
Boje, D. M., Rosile, G. A., Durant, R. A., & Luhman, J. T. (2004). Enron spectacles: A critical dramaturgical analysis. Organization Studies, 25(5), 751-774. Click Here for Research Gate PDF.
Point is the Tragic Grand Narrative and the Epic Roots of many actors, interact.
There were stock analysts who blew the whistle before stock took a dive, but with the Spectacle of Enron Theater, no one was listening. For example,
Ex-Merrill Lynch analyst, John Olson, got in trouble for questioning Enron’s dealings six years ahead of the pack. He was violating his analyst script. CEO Kenneth Lay publicly scolded him during an analysts meeting.
They then lace in flaws to explain the fall. For example, when Enron’s executive committee proposed that the new company motto be “the coolest company on Earth,” then-Chairman Lay suggested wrapping the headquarters building in a pair of giant sunglasses—clearly an act of arrogance and extravagance that presages disaster (Boje & Rosile, p. 14).
Look Beneath, and Beyond at the bigger picture of a plurality of plots.
Enron Spectacle of Investigation Actually Contains and Reduces the Inquiry “Handcuffing a few executives is a spectacle that takes attention away from widespread system changes. The fear is that more epic narrations will motivate a broader scale of changes, such as those of the 1930s that created the SEC” (p. 33).
Spectators to the Spectacle get a cathartic lesson, but watching Lay, Skilling, and Fastow’s punishment, spectators do not actually have to reflect on their own complicity.
Boje, D. (2002). How Does Quasi-Object Relate To Enron?. Paper presented to Critical Management Studies track, stream 2. Click Here of PDF.
This table compares Aristotle’s (350 BCE) plot of six elements in thier hierarchic ordering, to Burke’s Pentad (5 items, used to make rations, e.g. sene/act ration), and my own Septet (7 items that returns dialogs and rhythm to the elements, Burke collapses into agency).
|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|
One character in the Greek Tragedy: “John Clifford ‘Cliff’ Baxter (September 27, 1958 – January 25, 2002) was an Enron Corporation executive who resigned in May 2001 before committing suicide the following year. Prior to his death he had agreed to testify before Congress in the Enron scandal” (More).
Augusto Boal (1979) and Paulo Freire (1970), for example, extend critical dramaturgy to a more neo-Marxist critical theory Themes of LJM span what Freire (1970: 86) calls a “thematic universe” defined as a complex of “generative themes.” Antenarrative plurality is exhibited in the LJM transactions as partnerships are created, transformed, then dissolved. The antenarrative quality of LJM themes is that they are not isolated, but are intertextually connected, dynamic, and interpenetrating (to other off-the-balance-sheet partnerships). Dialogs about system reform, push along the LJM themes in what Business Week (March 4, 2002: 18) called a “flurry of rhetoric about tighter accounting rules includes the use of metaphor and more responsible corporate boards. And then a long silence until the next time.”
THEMES OF ENRON
THEMES AT ENRON
Former Enron Employees Pose before their Playboy Issue
|Themes of Enron related to each Spectacle type||To reunite split board they played with company names, such as Enteron.||Hostile takeover by Irwin Jacobs rebuffed with greenmail||Rank and yank performance reviews; Yes Sir corporate culture that became basis of global empire building||Off-Off Broadway (Valhalla, NY), spin the wheel speculators and gamblers; was part of Enron since 1985|
Themes of Enron (raptor partnerships span what Freire (1970: 86) calls a “thematic universe” defined as a complex of “generative themes.” Machiavellian characters are players shrouded in themes of romantic deregulation and ‘free market’ capitalism and Star Wars dialog, but beneath the mask, there is a dictator. And there is the voice of the voiceless, who are not permitted onto the center stage of Global or Metatheatre to talk of their themes of oppression.
The transfer for blame from Enrongate scandal to the Arthur Andersen scandal (they drove the getaway car) kept the Bush administration from spiraling into their Watergate. The U.S. press no longer traces the links between Bush Jr, Al Gore, Clinton, and Bush Sr. and Enron themes. They generative theme analysis work by the media has moved to where the spotlight shines. The Rise of Enron to the seventh largest American corporation is accompanied by a generative “theme of silence,” the face of Enron is veiled and spectators and actors are unconscious of the limit-situations of oppression in the chaotic-frenzy of the New Economy (Freire, 1970). After the fall, the themes moves from scandal, to fraud, to Bush (Enrongate), and on to Andersen, then WorldCom.
How Does Rhythm apply to Enron?
The Enron partnership rhythms are on the move, in a self-organizing complexity since 1997, only unraveling in August, after Skilling resigns as Enron’s CEO, and becoming public scandal in November, when the Big Three stock rating agencies, downgrade Enron to junk bond status.
Enrononomics has its own unique rhythms. Enron has some quite radical blocks emerge to their historical narrative and their facade theatric performances. To do an analysis of Enron, you need to follow the inter-rhythm strands between Enron and the wider embedded context of capitalism.
The rise of Enron was an experimentation of alternative rhythms for the merged Houston Natural Gas Company with the InterNorth Pipeline Company, that for a while was called Enteron, then Enron. And there was a good deal of improvisation by Enron, Andersen, and entities such as LJM, Raptor and Condor. Enron can be said to possess a rhythmic profile, a hybridity of repetitive, complex, and emergent chaotic rhythms. There is also rhythmic succession, moving from simple to more complex rhythmic profiles (morphing from utility company to energy trader, to 7th largest U.S. corporation, then into megaspectacle collapse). My proposition, then, is rhythm, then, in contemporary times is much more important than fifth place in Aristotle’s hierarchy of importance. There is a rhythmic construction to organizations, organizing, emergence, and change that is difficult to manage.
The rise, collapse, and aftermath of Enron spectacles has its own rhythm. Enron and Arthur Andersen shook the reputation of Wall Street, the accounting profession, deregulation in the energy industry, Whitehouse and Congress, if not the entire discourse of American capitalism. On January 10, when Bush officials revealed that Enron had sought its help, Philip M. Schiliro, top aide to Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-CA, is quoted as saying, “This is the perfect storm,” something the democrats need to counter Bush administration popularity (Cohen, Victor, & Baumann, 2002).
The rhythm of capitalism relies on the covering rhetoric of self-regulation. However, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), for example, seldom expels members for malpractice or incompetence. “For years, the independent Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been deliberating changes that would have disallowed some of Enron’s more controversial practices” (McTague, 2002: 16). The SEC is too under-budget and under staffed to regulate complex Raptor, Condor, and JEDI I and II transactions.
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.
Enron’s Cowboy capitalism with its Traveler’s Club Gentlemen strip tease lunches, the secretaries cast in the character role of French Lieutenant’s women, the executive who married strippers and former Lieutenant’s women, and the Playboy issue on the Women of Enron, all speak to a very sexist, paternalist, ideological framing. Yet ideological Frame has not been studied in leadership. Frame study in leadership would be an assessment of the worldview of the leader (agent) as well as followers (co-agent), customers (co-agents) and other spectators in corporate and societal Metatheatrics. Frames are scripted in Metascipted performatives for both genders.
Enron transformed the energy industry in (what the foreign press reported as) a grotesque manner that was spectacular by grasping together a new plot for the economy frame, with new characters as its players, surfacing New Economy frames using persuasive dialog, and starring characters in the spectacle.
The New Economy Frame
The earliest ‘New Economy’ reference to Enron focused on its strategy of outsourcing employees (February 4 1996). Enron immediately claimed “New Economy” king-ship status, projecting the image of the youthful free-market revolutionary conquest. Slogans like “new economy” have a snake-oil ring to them, and they legitimate aggressive and predatory corporate praxis. For example, outsourcing and reengineering began at Enron in 1993 when non-essential functions were turned over to outside contractors that paid former Enron employees less. “Enron Corp. systematically reviewed all of its functions and weeded out those that didn’t have anything to do with the gas business – the mailroom, fitness center, cafeteria, photocopy center and others… Enron employees were given time to transition into the contractors’ businesses or to quit” (Woodyard, 1996). In 1997 and 1998 Enron executives were seen as the heroic reengineers of business processes, strategists that could toss out the old business model, and reinvent entire industries in the new reinvent-or-die requirements of the New Economy.
All Hearts Point to Being-in-the-Whole SystemTrue Storytelling Institute
Storytelling is the preferred sensemaking of organizations. True Storytelling in a way to find Common Ground in Conversational Storytelling https://truestorytellinginstitute.com