Volkswagen Replies

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  • 04 Apr, 2021
  • 12 Mins Read

Volkswagen Replies

speak on how the situation would be approached to ensure the issue would not progress any further considering some of the instances faced in one’s recent past regarding ethics. There is clearly concern regarding the manner in which emissions are produced and how they are monitored. From a managerial standpoint, there is a high likelihood that correcting an issue would include a significant amount of man-hours and funding to correct issues associated with the level of emissions produced by a car, possibly to the point of interrupting an acceptable work/life balance. Anyone in a leadership position must consider the possibility of decision creating unwanted consequences for subordinates, therefore, it is important for thos
Each reply must be at least 450 words.
Reply to the threads of 2 classmates below who offer views different than yours. Identify the points of difference in your analyses and explain how your application of the relevant law to the facts of this situation led you to a different conclusion.

Each reply must include both full citations in a reference list at the end of each post, and short-form in-text citations. Acceptable sources include books, legal and business journals, legal cases, the law (cases, statutes, regulations, etc.), the Bible, biblical commentary, etc. Dictionaries and other web sources that lack scholarly support are not acceptable sources

Each reply must be supported by 3 scholarly sources other than the textbook/course materials. Each source must be properly cited in current APA format.

(1)Ruben Marquez
Forum 1/Module 2 and 3 Thread

Volkswagen’s incident involving the emissions scandal was an egregious incident I believe is associated with a failure of leadership. The issues is not primarily on the shoulders of the CEO and directors who carry overall responsibility; leadership is referenced as part of the overall action of facilitating business ethically, taking steps to address problems like this, and making the decisions to say something when such issues or actions are observed. That is not to say that someone should be a snitch. As someone that has worked below some excellent bosses and seen instances where decisions are being made that would carry heavy implications on the company and the customer, it should be the duty of a subordinate to lead from the back, cover their boss’s back, and provide advice to protect their leadership’s interests in such a matter.
As an individual that has had to lead the operation and maintenance of one of the Navy’s most important organic sensors on board a naval ship, one can e working under leaders to understand, “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30; English Standard Version).
With such a realization in mind, one of the first steps that would be taken would be to consider every possible action, the associated equal response, and ethical considerations of each action. The absolute first thing I would accomplish would be asking the question of whether or not the engineers that would be responsible for implementing such a monitoring change whether or not it was something they would consider ethical. Following that conversation, the legal office would be consulted to determine whether or not that was something that was or was not legal. Assuming the conversation would in fact make such an engineering modification illegal, and clearly it is, steps to address the issue to higher leadership and figure out how to squash the issue would be taken.
It is difficult to believe that the manager actually understood that was occurring. There is also such a double-edged sword regarding oversight and whether or not a supervisor or manager is observed as overbearing or lax. The incident would have been prevented by being pro-active, as precautionary responses will always trump reactionary responses. A professional work subculture would have been created where employees can come forward in certain instances they feel something inappropriate is occurring without having to face issues associated with retaliation and the fear of maltreatment. Observation of test data of the same vehicles would also be regularly reviewed to ensure things that were not immediately within one’s scope of normal operations were still on one’s own metaphorical radar. Anyone in a position must make every stride to be more knowledgeable of the dealings within their department as, “a wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might” (Proverbs 24:5; English Standard Version). In an instance such an unethical action was being noticed, efforts to correct course would be made, and the same legal department would be notified as far as legality while still attempting to protect the other subordinate engineers.
It is no surprise that CEOs most likely have a lot on their plate as far as ensuring the smooth operation of a business. They may not have the capability as far as oversight goes to control every instance an incident such as this occurs which is why they have to rely on HR to hire the right individuals. There have been a number of instances one has been blindsided and ultimately had to take responsibility for a work center’s shortcomings while ultimately having to face the brunt of the backlash in an effort to remain a good leader, maintain subordinate loyalty, and move the force in a positive direction. Clearly, it is not always as easy; perception and trust of the department could always take a significant hit, but one has always preferred to deal with the blowback and be tact in one’s dealings following the issue. As a CEO during an instance like this, one would attempt to continue to maintain the same beliefs. The situation itself is complex and must delicately be handled while still attempting to save face for the sake of shareholders, customers, competitors, and employees. How a CEO reacts to an issue like this can make or break how their employees view them. This is relevant as senior managers may react through, “denial, evasion of responsibility, reducing the offensiveness of the event, corrective action, and mortification” (Ayoko, Ang, & Parry, 2017, p. 620). Assuming there was no knowledge or foresight on such an issue, one cannot feign knowledge and say that one was not aware or even attempt to deny the crisis is even an issue due to such ways of addressing the issue most likely resulting in negative reactions towards the organization (Ayoko, Ang, & Parry, 2017). Furthermore, it should be noted that corrective action and mortification are measures an organization can use to address the issue without invoking more of a negative response towards the organization, perhaps even lower it (Ayoko, Ang, & Parry, 2017). As for dealing with the legal implications of the crisis, organizational reprimands would occur as appropriate to include possible termination after discussing the matter with the Chief Legal Officer of the company.
One’s strategy to responding to such a public blow would be to simply wait out the issue, for a time. Some might believe it wise to maintain what is called corporate silence in an effort to not convolute a situation further (Sims, 2009). This silence would be upheld immediately following the occurrence of an organizational crisis while allowing the formulation of a calculated decision prior to addressing the issue with the public (Sims, 2009). The next plan of action would be to assume responsibility for the flawed emissions detection equipment in Volkswagen’s cars without apologizing. This is due to the possibility that while efforts are being made to correct an ethical mistake, apologizing would imply that the company is asking for forgiveness which some might view as a demonstration of weakness in the face of competitors and that the employees did wrong. Instead, intentions would be centered on shifting the orientation of the information from the current issue and instead shifting public attention to what actions would be taken after the fact to prevent such a crisis in the form of an after-action plan to ensure greater transparency or improved quality assurance measures (Painter & Martins, 2017). After such actions were to be taken, continuous ccommunication between managers and leadership to subordinates would be maintained to ensure all members of the organization are informed of the issues associated with the crisis and that the organization would navigate their way through it effectively.
Ayoko, O. B., Ang, A. A., & Parry, K. (2017). Organizational crisis: Emotions and contradictions in managing internal stakeholders. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(5), 617-643. doi:10.1108/IJCMA-05-2016-0039
Painter, C., & Martins, J. T. (2017). Organizational communication management during the volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: A hermeneutic study in attribution, crisis management, and information orientation. Knowledge and Process Management, 24(3), 204-218. doi:10.1002/kpm.1544
Sims, R. (2009). Toward a better understanding of organizational efforts to rebuild reputation following an ethical scandal. Journal of Business Ethics, 90(4), 453-472. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0058-4

(2) Liani Lyttle
“Volkswagen: Where Were the Lawyers?”- L. Lyttle

Initial thoughts
Upon reading the Volkswagen article, many interesting thoughts questions arose. The main question being “how does this even happen?”   I do not feel as if the leadership is completely “in” on a conspiracy. I do agree with the author in which they probably did not have the knowledge needed to know something unethical or wrong was happening. Almost always, each department get so caught up in perfecting their role in a business and agency that often times it leads them to become stagnate in growth and knowledge.
Where did they go wrong?
In the specific case of Volkswagen, I believe that the management team trusted and relied on the designer engineer’s work ethics, professional experience and trusted them to uphold the right ethical standards of the company. The fault I see is the lack of knowledge. The Bible warns us:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge” (Hosea 4:6, English Standard Version).

If there was additional effort to really get to know the work of the engineering team, the industry, new technologies, expectations and performances of the parts, etc. I think that would have played a major role in catching that something was wrong before they feel deep into the rabbit hole.
How could this incident been prevented?
Oftentimes, even if a supervisor does not know the full extent of the work or every detail of the project. Taking time to ask questions with whatever little knowledge they do have, would allow them to tread the employee’s body language, statements, and hesitations. This could have triggered the feeling that something was not right; thus, bringing management in to have certain discussions and ultimately bringing in an expert to look over the work or provide a second opinion the test results or mechanisms of the vehicles. This would have ensured everything was right in the shop and with the product.  Setting the standard of “trust but verify”.
Once the information came back contradicting the information given by the engineer’s the managers would have had grounds to launch a full blown investigation and prevent the entire indecent before it went public.
How to catch the lies?
Experts have shared numerous studies that provide managers, supervisors, and leadership in general with cues that can help them catch when a lie is brewing. Ray Bull, PhD, a professor of criminal investigation at the University of Derby describes it best when he stated “Liars have a dilemma, they have to make up a story to account for the time of the wrongdoing, but they can’t be sure what evidence the interviewer has against them.” (Zimmerman, 2016, para. 7).
There are some predominant cues that experts share that can assist in catching whether or not a lie might be brewing. Some of those cues include a change in the voice pitch. “Their voices are pitched higher. And Liars are more likely than truth-tellers to press their lips together.” (DePaulo, 2004, para. 6).
In addition to vocal cues, experts have also mentioned facial features as another area to observe when holding a conversation with someone you suspect is lying. Dr. Paul Ekman says, “We get our biggest payoff from face and voice cues when dealing with lies about emotions at the moment. We add cues from gestures and words when it comes to lies about beliefs and actions, such as crimes.” (Ekman, 2004, para. 9)

How would you have responded when the situation became public?
As CEO, the most important thing is to remain calm. Do not panic, do not lie or justify the matter, (Johnson, 2015, para. 12).Take an honest approach and communicate where the misstep occurred as adequately as possible. Express our deepest and sincerest apologies for the impact it caused the public and share openly our next plan of actions to rectify the matter and ensure it does not happen again. The Bible guides us by teaching us

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, New International Version).

A very wise expert once pointed out, “Apologies tend to go a long way, especially in the USA”. (Johnson, 2015,para. 14) In the United States, people tend to be more emotion-based than fact based in these types of situations. There; showing empathy to care for the people affected in this situation can go a long way and assist with damage control.
Make yourself available to answer questions and speak to the concerns. Select individuals that are trusted and are ethical. Those that are prepared to stand alongside you and the company to walk through this process and bring reconciliation.
While apologies have been made and questions have been answered, assign a team to begin rectifying the issue. Recall all the cars that were impacted by this incident or buy the cars back, fix them and then put them back on the market the ethical way.
How would this response prevent future incidents?
Despite the reputation impact and damage this incident caused. This was also a growing moment. In committing yourself to stay humble and learn from the moment, rather than panic and be defeated as a company we can rise up and take step to ensure this does not happen again.
In the future assign two groups, the designers and the testers (Volkswagen Clean Air Act Civil Settlement, n.d.). This ensures that there is no breach or conspiracy in proper designing and promised functions.
When we take time to familiarize ourselves with the trait, ask questions, make time to study a little more. We equip ourselves for success and lower the rate of vulnerability within the company.

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