If you enjoy watching movies, you already analyze scenes, narrative, and plot, without even noticing it. The objective of this assignment is to engage you to think about your thinking – this is called ‘critical thinking’ – in context of what you have learned throughout the course. At a time of your choosing throughout the semester, you will be asked to watch a documentary titled Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. A link to this film will be provided to you free of charge on Brightspace during the first week of class. The documentary has received critical reviews for its expose on one of the largest business scandals in North American history. Your job will be to provide a critical character analysis – this refers to a reflective form of writing in which the author (you) evaluates the specific traits of a character. In this assignment you are conducting a critique of the Enron employees; specifically, you must analyze Jeffrey Skilling, Kenneth Lay, and the Enron traders. The aim of writing a critical character analysis is to enhance your understanding of the people in the organization and make connection(s) to theory and practice. It is important to note that critical analysis of a film is different from a movie review. A movie review is just about watching a film passively while a critical analysis entails engaging on a level that surpasses mere storytelling. After you introduce the topic of your critique and outline your essay (150 words), you will provide an overview of the Enron practices that eventually led to the disfunction of the organization (250 words). Then, you will reflect on your reaction(s) to the events that took place within the company as depicted in the documentary (350 words). Share your opinion. What surprised you? How do you feel about what took place in Enron? Were there any scenes or case facts that stood out as being critical? Do you agree/disagree with a decision (or decisions) that Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, Andrew Fastow, and/or Rebecca Mark-Jusbasche made? Why or why not? Do not be afraid to reflect in first-person writing style. Be prepared to clearly pair your analysis with at least two supporting concepts, theories, or principles that we have discussed or are featured in the textbook (350 words). For example, Enron used a “rank and yank” performance appraisal system that contributed to negative organizational behaviors. Support your arguments using evidence from peer-review research. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your arguments and leave a lasting impression (150 words). The assignment is to be completed individually. It should be about 1,250 to 1,500 words and must follow a standard essay structure (e.g., introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) and use proper APA referencing (e.g., title page/reference section, 12-point Times New Roman font, double spaced). The goal of this exercise is to ensure you have integrated your reading of the course material with a business case that has had far reaching implications on the way we organize our for-profit endeavours. Submit the essay in a word processing file using the Dropbox feature (see ‘Dropbox’ link under the ‘Assessments’ tab on Brightspace.
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