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Electronic Bits and Ten Gallon Hats

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2015


My dissertation uses the Enron Corporation to examine how companies use culture to shape political and economic systems. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company morphed from a vertically integrated natural company into a derivatives trading house. An emphasis on innovation, free markets and knowledge work in the firm’s marketing efforts accompanied this organizational shift. Because the change was so dramatic, after its 2001 collapse the company became an ideal site for Americans to express cultural anxieties about the move away from Fordist production and toward an emphasis on working with complicated pieces of information. Drawing on archival sources such as issues of the employee magazine and executive correspondence, this study contributes to an understanding of the cultural work that must be performed in order to establish and maintain political economic systems, as well as the ways in which cultural production is used to make sense of economic change.

Dissertation Summaries
Copyright © The Author(s) 2013. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Business History Conference. All rights reserved.

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I would like to thank both Mark Rose and Stephanie Kolberg for their thoughtful comments on an early draft of my dissertation summary.


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