Corporate Toxicity: The WorldCom/MCI Scandal

Author(s): Deven Wisner, M.S.

Originally posted: February 18, 2015

What various roles exist in corporate toxicity? In what environment does toxicity thrive? Do toxic leaders exhibit certain characteristics?

"This case study provides a real-world example of corporate toxicity to illustrate the toxic triangle model and show how situations like this one come to pass (Padilla, 2013). The primary focus will be on WorldCom/MCI and the events leading to the world famous accounting scandal that came to light in 2003. This case briefly examines the three major triangle elements, (1) the role of the leader, (2) the enabling efforts of colluding and conforming followers, and (3) the conducive nature of the specific organizational context, all in correlation with the eventual destruction of the organization. Identifying these elements provides an opportunity for students to analyze an actual account of corporate toxicity through critical thinking and discussion. The questions provided are intended to stimulate a discussion focused on the: (1) events leading to the demise of the organization, (2) characteristics of the primary leader and followers, (3) role the environment played in escalating the situation, and (4) the influences of social pressures..."

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