Friday, January 27, 2006

The Wheels of Justice Turn Exceedingly Slow

Remember Enron?
Public Agenda Alert -- Jan. 25, 2006
* Public Agenda Alert - Enron Trial Opens Next Week
* Behind the Headlines: Hamas Wins Palestinian Election
* Enron Trial Opens Next Week

Next week, former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey
Skilling go on trial for their role in the collapse of
the high-flying energy company. Enron, at one point
the nation's seventh-largest company, was the most
notorious in a series of corporate scandals that rocked
the business world in the past four years.

In the years since the scandal broke, the public remains
skeptical of the business world in some ways. Half say
wrongdoing among corporate executives is a widespread
problem and people are divided on how effective tougher
penalties will be. Majorities say they are dissatisfied
with the size and influence of major corporations.
And few Americans give business executives high ratings
for honesty and ethical standards. On the other hand,
large majorities believe the success of American business
has a lot to do with the strength of this country.
Relatively few say they have a negative view of the
accounting profession. And in their experience, majorities
believe their employer is loyal to them.

In Public Agenda's focus groups on this issue, we've found
that average citizens seem to define business ethics differently
than corporate executives. Citizens believe preserving jobs
should be a major ethical priority for business and layoffs
should be a last resort.

In contrast, most business leaders told us that sometimes
layoffs are an inevitable part of staying competitive. When
executives talked about ethics, they were concerned about the
damage recent scandals have done to business' reputation and
the need to restore public trust.

Download our report, "A Few Bad Apples: An Exploratory Look
at What Typical Americans Think about Business Ethics Today,"
prepared in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation:

Read our Red Flag on Trust in Business:

Read The New York Times special section on Enron:

Read the Washington Post's article on corporate reform since
Enron's collapse:



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