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The Olympus Scandal (Accounting Fraud)

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The Olympus case gives students an opportunity to analyze the factors and unique cultural environment that led to the accounting fraud in whistle blower Michael Woodford's perspective. It also provides

The Olympus case gives students an opportunity to analyze the factors and unique cultural environment that led to the accounting fraud in whistle blower Michael Woodford's perspective. It also provides students insights into a traditionally- structured Japanese company to identify the operation style and leadership distinctions from a U.S. structured company. The case is presented from the comprehensive public record and the book How I Went from CEO to Whistleblower, written by Michael Woodford, all surrounding the Olympus fraud and insider whistleblowing. A primary question that arose when the news of the fraud emerged in the media was: Did the accounting fraud solely result from the failure of Japanese executives' leadership style? Some people think that the Olympus president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa who owned ultimate power over the company is supposed to bear the most responsibility for this issue. However, this case argues that the answer to the previous question is no. What's more important than the corrupt executives is Olympus' operational system that indulged those executives' ambition. Therefore, the case focuses on an analysis of the operating system in regard to leadership, culture, internal controls, external controls and the board of directors. This analysis addresses the failure of Olympus comprehensively rather than placing blame on a single individual. It is an opportunity for students to understand and discuss the multiple aspects of a corporate system that should have the practicable controls and functions to prevent the abuse of decision-making power as well as the illegal activity from occurring.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12