HCBE Faculty Articles

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: A Global Case Study of Legal, Ethical, and Practical Consequences and Recommendations for Sustainable Management


Frank J. Cavico0000-0002-6258-2136


Bahaudin Mujtaba0000-0003-1615-3100

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Global Journal of Research in Business and Management



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In today’s global workplace, all executives and corporations must ensure that their managers and employees make ethical and sustainable decisions for their own long-term interest as well as those of the environment and consumers. Volkswagen (VW) has traditionally been known as a quality brand of automotive organization; but now they will also continue to be recognized as a global company that willfully and consciously manipulated their car’s software to falsify data. They will be known as a company that deceived the U.S. government and the public regarding compliance with emission standards; however, they got caught and will pay a heavy price in managing this crisis. This willful scandal makes one think if government deception was considered normal and acceptable in VW’s corporate culture and how such manipulation can be prevented in the future. In this article, we provide the facts about the VW emissions crisis along with a discussion of the harmful consequences resulting from the scandal. Based on the lessons learned, the article offers recommendations for managers and employees of all local and global corporations in making ethical, transparent and sustainable decisions. Finally, a list of discussion questions are offered so managers and business students can reflect upon them for the creation of an organizational culture where effective and sustainable decisions become the norm.





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