Free Essay Discussing Volkswagen's Scandal

Published: 2022-02-18 20:46:46
1293 words
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According to Mansouri (2016), the failure of a company to operate ethically and legally can have far-reaching effects, including financial loss, damaged brand reputation and public image, and lawsuits. Volkswagen encountered such challenges due to using defeat devices to avoid detections associated with exceeding the environmental emission limits. These devices provided misleading information to regulators about the amount of emissions produced by Volkswagen's diesel-powered cars (Lippe, 2015). Therefore, this paper provides appropriate responses to questions associated with the company's unethical behaviour.

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Strategies for Preventing Volkswagen's Scandal

There are different strategies that an employee or a manager working in Volkswagen's engineering and legal department could take to prevent its scandal. For instance, a manager working in the company's engineering department should ensure that its operations are legally, ethically, and spiritually right (Rhodes, 2014). Determining the rightfulness of the company's actions would require the manager to embrace effective communication with employees, uphold transparency, and accountability throughout his operations. Engaging employees in the engineering department could help in revealing all the malpractices committed by the organization. Also, the engineering department manager should build a strong relationship with the company's legalofficers to investigate the engineers' unethical behaviour in advance (Vlasic, 2017). Conversely, Volkswagen's legal department manager has an obligation to understand how the engineering department operates. This manager should also seek information from the department by engaging the company's engineers to understand its malpractices. Also, the legal department manager should engage other regulatory agencies to help in investigating the company's operations to ensure sustainability (Rhodes, 2014; Lippe, 2015). For example, involving the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be critical in understanding the company's unethical behaviour and taking appropriate counterstrategies.

Lippe (2015) emphasizes on the ignorance of the company's employees as well as managers as a critical cause of the challenge. Having a detailed understanding of the engineering departments' operations is the only way for the legal manager to feel comfortable with its activities. However, embracing transparency may raise concerns about concealing some of the company's trade secrets to the public. Conversely, the legal department manager should use the non-compete agreements to ensure adequate protection of the company's secrets. Also, the use of tighter and stricter controls on the company's technology systems could help to prevent the loss of private information. For example, Volkswagen could use the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software to guard its email against unauthorized hands alongside the firewall systems. Therefore, the responsibility of preventing the company's scandal lied in the hands of its managers both in the engineering and legal department (Vlasic, 2017). The managers' outward commitment to embrace transparency and accountability through effective communication was crucial before the occurrence of the scandal.

Contrariwise, it would be difficult for an employee to confront the management of a company engaged in corrupt activities. The severity of the issue may even increase if fellow employees collaborate with corrupt management. The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, states that "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity" (Proverbs 11:9). This verse highlights the importance of relying on one's integrity as an employee while leaving the others to perish from their scandalous behaviour. Therefore, employees need to understand their rights while in such situations. For instance, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects employees who reveal all forms of unethical and illegal operations that a company undertakes. In this case, Volkswagen violated the guidelines provided by the Clean Air Act by having software that allows its vehicles to pass through all forms of emission detection limits. Therefore, it is critical to report the company to the EPA as an employee.

Analyzing the Diesel Division's CEO's Response to the Scandal

There are different strategies that Volkswagen's CEO could take in response to the company's scandal after going public. First, the CEO must underscore the fact that he is responsible at all costs for the company's poor corporate culture that led to the occurrence of the scandal (Lippe, 2015). Therefore, the CEO should honour the challenge and apologize to the public for engaging in such an unethical practice. Secondly, the CEO should outline the reasons that led to the occurrence of the scandal. For instance, he should indicate that it was Volkswagen's corporate culture that favoured profitability over ethical responsibility that contributed to the scandal. The company's engineers decided to install the defeat devices on its automobiles after realizing that their engines could not meet the country's strict emission limits (Vlasic, 2017). Therefore, the need to meet customers' expectations and attaining sustainability in the challenging fuel economy also pushed the engineers to install the defeat devices.

Thirdly, the CEO should empathize with the public, citing the fact that although this was a difficult situation to avoid, unethical and illegal strategies were not the best counterstrategies to take (Mansouri, 2016). For instance, the CEO should emphasize to the regulators that it would be time-consuming and expensive to redesign and redevelop the motors. However, the company regrets all the steps undertaken to evade punishment from the regulatory agencies. Lastly, it was also crucial for the CEO to say his apologies to other stakeholders, including the shareholders and the government. These four steps would indicate the company's commitment to address the challenges associated with its operations and prevent future scandals. Hence, the CEO should also detail appropriate strategic actions for preventing future difficulties. For example, the CEO should outline the commitment of Volkswagen to change its corporate culture by moving from being a profit-oriented organization to a sustainability-oriented company (Vlasic, 2017). Also, the CEO should indicate plans to undertake third party auditing of critical areas such as compliance with emissions and meeting safety standards.

The response undertaken by Volkswagen's CEO could help it to prevent future incidences in different ways. First, changing the company's corporate culture would increase its focus on meeting the needs of its stakeholders rather than exclusively focusing on shareholders (Rhodes, 2014; Lippe, 2015). The push for attaining operational sustainability would push the organization to address all the concerns raised by its stakeholders rather than exclusively focusing on shareholders. Therefore, the company could eliminate the use of the defeat devices in its diesel-powered vehicles as a strategic approach towards meeting its customers, suppliers, and governments' needs for vehicles that are free from environmental pollution. Secondly, the implementation of the third party-auditing approach could transfer part of Volkswagen's risk of violating the environmental standards. Lastly, this auditing approach would also motivate the company to take appropriate strategies to educate and train its employees on the importance of meeting environmental standards (Mansouri, 2016). However, some critics could contend that these audits are costly and time-consuming. Contrariwise, this move is critical and spiritually bounded. The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible alleges that "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out" (Proverbs 11:9). Therefore, Volkswagen must undertake these preventive strategies to attain sustainability in the long-run.


Overstepping ethical and legal requirements has multiple adverse effects on a company's operations. Some of these effects include damaged brand reputation, damaged public image, financial loss, lawsuits. Violating ethical and legal frameworks can also culminate into permanent closure. Therefore, organizations Volkswagen should put into consideration the recommendations outlined in this paper to attain long-term sustainability.


Lippe, P. (2015, October 13). Volkswagen: Where were the lawyers? ABA Journal. Retrieved from:

Mansouri, N. (2016). A case study of Volkswagen unethical practice in diesel emission Test. International Journal of Science and Engineering Applications, 5(4), 211-216. Retrieved from:

Rhodes, C. (2014). Democratic business ethics: Volkswagen's emissions scandal and the disruption of corporate sovereignty. Organization Studies, 37(10), 1501-1518. Retrieved from:

Vlasic, B. (2017, August 25). Volkswagen engineer sentenced for role in emissions fraud. The New York Times. Retrieved from:

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