Las responsabilidades llegan hasta arriba

Hace poco vimos en las noticias cómo Ken Lay, ex Director Ejecutivo de Enron, era arrestado y esposado. Finalmente, años después del colapso de Enron, Lay enfrenta cargos por lo que pasó cuando estaba en la cima. Como tan a menudo ocurre en tales circunstancias, el Director Ejecutivo alega inocencia: no tenía idea de lo que estaban haciendo sus subordinados. Los jefes como Lay siempre parecen sentirse completamente responsables del éxito de sus compañías. De lo contrario, ¿cómo podrían justificar sus exorbitantes sueldos y beneficios? Pero la responsabilidad por el fracaso, ya sea en términos comerciales o criminales, siempre pare estar en algún otro lugar.

Los tribunales de EE.UU. (como los de Italia en el caso de Parmalat) darán su veredicto final acerca de las responsabilidades civiles y criminales contempladas por las leyes actuales. Pero hay en juego un problema más amplio en estos casos: ¿hasta qué punto debería ser responsable un Director Ejecutivo por lo que ocurre bajo su dirección?

Es claro que ningún Director Ejecutivo, en ninguna corporación con cientos de miles de empleados, puede saber todo lo que pasa en la compañía que dirige. Pero si no es responsable, ¿quién lo es? Quienes están a su cargo aducen que simplemente estaban haciendo lo que pensaban que se esperaba de ellos. Si no estaban cumpliendo órdenes precisas, al menos estaban respondiendo a vagas instrucciones pro forma provenientes de los puestos más altos: no hacer nada ilegal, pero tratar de lograr las máximas utilidades. Con demasiada frecuencia el resultado es un clima en que los gerentes comienzan a sentir que es aceptable realizar operaciones al límite de lo legal o maquillar las cuentas de la compañía.

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