Exposing Enron: Media representations of ritualized deviance in corporate culture

  • Knottnerus J
  • Ulsperger J
  • Cummins S
 et al. 
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This article argues that rituals are an important part of corporate culture. However, they can involve deviance. Employing multiple media sources, this study identifies symbolic themes expressed through daily work rituals at Enron’s corporate headquarters. The themes involve risk, gratification, pride, and fantasy imagery. Utilizing structural ritualiza- tion theory, this article suggests that ritualized symbolic practices expressing these themes extensively influenced Enron employees. They shaped their cognitions, patterns of behavior, and social interaction. They also led to the normalization and reproduction of deviance. The findings of this study contribute to research on organizational deviance and structural ritualization.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Corporate culture
  • Organizational deviance
  • Structural ritualization theory
  • White-collar crime

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  • J. David Knottnerus

  • Jason S. Ulsperger

  • Summer Cummins

  • Elaina Osteen

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