Essay on Deviant Behavior

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Deviant behavior is any behavior that goes against the norms and values approved by the society. The deviant Mr. Jeff Skilling was the CEO of Enron Corporation. Before his deviant acts, Mr. Skilling had led the corporation to greater heights of success (Bryce, 2003). The former CEO misused his authority as the boss of the company for personal financial gains. Rational choice theory can explain the deviance behavior committed by the former CEO. The theory assumes that an individual has preferences among a list of existing alternatives that allow them to state which option they prefer (Green & Shapiro, 2010). This means that the individual picks choices that are likely to benefit him or her in the short run or the long run. In the case study, Mr. Skilling chose alternatives that benefited him but had dire consequences on Enron Corporation.

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Mr. Skilling committed several accounts of deviant acts that adversely affected the financial performance of Enron Corporation (Bryce, 2003). Mr. Skilling committed some fraudulent transactions that were meant to benefit him at the expense of the corporation he was heading. He also carried out some insider trading and other crimes that led to the collapse of the company. As the CEO of Enron Corporation, he initiated accounting systems that allowed accounting for anticipated future profits from any deal. The accounting system led to loopholes as the company did not produce a balance sheet or cash flow statement with their earnings. Investors and lenders were misled by the false financial statements because they made investment or lending decisions based on statements that did not reflect the actual financial position of the company. As the CEO of the company, Mr. Skilling had prior knowledge that the firm was going bankrupt and thus sold all his shares to unsuspecting investors. The deviant sold all his shares to avoid making losses if the company finally would be declared bankrupt (Bryce, 2003). Mr. Skilling sold the shares without notifying the buyers of the impending insolvency of the company. The fact that the former CEO misled the purchasers of the shares to believe that they would benefit from buying the shares amounts to deviant behavior.

As stated earlier, the deviant acts committed by Mr. Skilling can be explained by rational choice criminological theory. In simple terms, the theory points that human beings are calculative actors who evaluate means and ends, overheads and profits and make decisions that are likely to have greater benefits to them (Green & Shapiro, 2010). The criminological theory assumes that the offenders or deviants commit crimes or offenses to meet their needs. The offenders are usually fully aware of the negative consequences of their acts, but they ignore because they are guided by the desire to achieve their satisfaction. According to the theory, the deviants are guided by the principles of individualism (Green & Shapiro, 2010). In the case study, the deviant commits acts that are meant to benefit him alone.

Mr. Skilling used his position as the CEO to get insider information that made him dispose of his shares as well as commit other crimes. The former CEO resigned from his job and committed security frauds because he was aware of the impending insolvency. The fact that he resigned from his position in the company and then sold all his shares show that he committed the deviant act of using insider information to make decisions that benefited him only. Based on the theory, deviants act are selfish individuals who weigh out alternatives and pick those who favor (Green & Shapiro, 2010). The behavior of the former CEO clearly shows that he had little concern for other investors. The management style utilized by Skilling is the reason behind the financial woes that Enron faced. The decisions that Skilling made as the CEO and after quitting indicates that he committed the crimes he is convicted for.


Bryce, R. (2003). Pipe dreams: Greed, ego, and the death of Enron. New York: Public Affairs.

Green, D. P., & Shapiro, I. (2010). Pathologies of rational choice theory: A critique of applications in political science. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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