Don't do an Enron

January 30, 2004

Enthusiasts of merit pay in UK universities (Letters, THES , January 9 and 16) should take note: Enron Corporation managers in the US were dedicated supporters of merit pay.

According to Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind's book, The Smartest Guys in the Room , the system allowed executives to push their supporters ahead and buy loyalty. Instead of rewarding brains, innovation and dedication, the authors say it promoted "ruthlessness, selfishness and greed". In other words, the merit system rewarded the toadies, the bastards and the crooks. An inspiring model for universities.

Donald C. Savage

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