Case Analysis of VW Emissions Scandal

Questions to Answer Using at least two theories or concepts from two different chapters of the book (chapters 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 or corresponding lectures), analyze and explain the pressure that the engineers felt and why their failure to perform as the executives desired could have happened. (This section should be about 1 1/2 pages long.) Now that you have analyzed the situation and what is causing it, make recommendations for improving the situation. (This section should be about 1 1/2 pages long.) Be sure to base your recommendations on course material and information from the case. You can use any of the material from the following chapters in your response: Chapters 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Cite the page number in parentheses when referring to the textbook. And you may use material from lectures. Requirements Your task Read through the VW Case Study, then write an analysis, answering the questions. To receive full credit, you must answer both questions and only use material that was covered in the appropriate time period. Late Assignments All papers must be submitted to Canvas by the deadline. Papers will not be accepted after the deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to insure that the correct file is properly uploaded by the deadline. Format Three-page maximum, not including the appendix. Double-spaced, 12-point font, with 1-inch margins. Case Analysis Read VW Emissions Scandal (For read) This is a comprehensive cumulative case on the Volkswagen emissions scandal. It reviews the scandal from all levels: individual, group and organizational. This exercise is important because it offers real world application of organizational behavior knowledge and skills, while also allowing you the opportunity to utilize a three-step problem solving approach – identify the problem, determine associated causes, and recommend solutions. The goals of this exercise are to help you develop critical thinking ability and to realize the practice power of OB for solving problems in your job and career The top three global automobile manufactures in 2015 were Toyota (10.23 million units), Volkswagen (1014 million units), and General Motors (9.92 million units).1 Senior leaders at Volkswagen (VW) had a vision of global dominance and were determined to overtake Toyota and become the world’s number one auto manufacturer. Company leaders identified diesel vehicles as a key means for reaching this goal and realizing their vision. Volkswagen has long been known around the world for its diesel vehicles, and executives saw this as an advantage over its competitors. Moreover, diesel vehicles were attractive to customers because “They were cheaper than hybrids and packed more muscle under the hood yet still often got more than 40 miles to the gallon.2 A major obstacle, however, was challenging emissions standards in the UnitedStates. The U.S. standards were always stringent, more so than Europe, but in 2004 were tightened dramatically. VW nevertheless decided to take on the challenge and pressed ahead, diligently attempting to innovate its designs and technologies and meet these standards. VW’s competitors (Mazda, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai), in contrast, found the standards too difficult and chose not to compete in the American diesel car market.3 VW, who also owns Porsche and Audi, applied its renowned engineering and innovation expertise to overcome the emissions hurdles. In this instance, however, effective solutions did not materialize in time and within budget. But what did emerge was a way to cheat. Engineers at the company’s research and development complex in Wolfsburg Germany identified patterns of parameters associated with emission testing (steering, throttle, and other operations). They then used these patterns to program software to switch a car’s emission equipment into a “cheat mode” when testing conditions were detected. The software became known as “cheat devices” and would switch back to normal mode when in non-testing (typical) driving conditions. (For perspective, the normal operation mode produced emissions that were up to 40 times the legal limit!)4

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