350 Word response with 3 scholarly sources. APA Format. 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.


Volkswagen’s Diesel Emission Scandal

The legal system in the United States is structured in such a way that it allows liberty of law-making among the numerous courts. The courts have a hierarchical system of which the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest among the courts, and it bases its supreme laws from the U.S. Constitution. Any cases elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court supersedes legislations among the lower courts. For Christians, the Word of God–its statutes and precepts–is their final authority in all things; it supersedes the supreme laws of the land in which they reside.

Volkswagen, a German auto manufacturer company that made news headlines in September 2015 continues to pay the repercussions of its scandalous actions–over $32 billion of associated costs by the end of the second quarter of 2019 (Jacobs & Kalbers, 2019). Jacobs and Kalbers (2019) assert in their article, “The Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Scandal and Accountability: Where Were the Auditors and Attorneys during the Sustainability Charade?” that Volkswagen violated both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s legislation by using “installed software (known as ‘defeat devices’) that substantially reduced the effectiveness of the emissions control system of the diesel vehicles when on the open road” (Jacobs & Kalbers, 2019, p. 16). Volkswagen’s scandalous behavior, however, is not a surprise considering its history of scandalous “episodes in which it skirted the law” (Merenda & Irwin, 2017, p. 200). Analysts and experts wonder where the auditors and lawyers were that could have prevented this scandal. Jung and Park (2017) arguably suggest that the following factors for Volkswagen’s scandals: “austere leadership styles, insular corporate governance, and drawbacks from family feuds and nepotism” (p. 128).

As a manager in the engineering department, I would have been able to prevent this incident by suggesting autonomy within the engineering department from the officers above me, establishing an open, efficient, and transparent communication system between officers and employees, and be more proactive to present to officers realistic goal making, planning, and its execution as they regard to engineering. First, the lack of autonomy within the engineering department caused Volkswagen’s accountability of compliance to be ineffective and are solely within the hands of their officers and their interests. Second, establishing a new system that allows effective and efficient collaborative communication between employers and employees ensures improved quality assurance and checks and balances among the overall management systems. Finally, with a more open line of communication between my higher-ups and my team, a proactive approach in reporting suggestive goal making as it relates to engineering informs officers of the company’s current capabilities allow them to informed decision making regarding the future of the company’s strategy realistically.

As the CEO of the diesel division of Volkswagen, I would have responded by seeking autonomy of the diesel division from the officers above me, acknowledging and taking full responsibility and consequences of the decisions made of the officers above me and the employees below me as the CEO of the division from which the scandal is focused, and make corrective actions of all wrongdoings. First, as CEO of the diesel division of Volkswagen, I would respond to the publicly reported scandal by acknowledging and taking full responsibility for the actions made and its consequences as my position as the CEO of the diesel division. Second, I would be seeking autonomy of the diesel division from officers above me to ensure quality assurance and compliance of legislation that pertains to this division. Third, I would be focusing on evaluating, making corrective changes, and periodically repeat the same process of evaluation and corrections to management processes in order to maintain and ensure the accuracy of communication and compliance among the numerous departments within the organizations, especially the ones that are regulated by law.

A problem exists with roleplaying the perspectives of both a manager of the engineering department and the CEO of the diesel division of Volkswagen. Regardless of the most brilliant solutions thought of to its current scandalous problem within their respective scope of responsibility, unless they are given authority to act autonomously, their solution plans would be worthless. Jung and Park (2017) stated that one of the factors that caused the likelihood of this current scandal from occurring is from Volkswagen’s austere leadership styles of its former CEOs respectively: Ferdinand Piëch and Martin Winterkorn. Both Piëch and Winterkorn were known to have identical leadership styles with Winterkorn (Jung & Park, 2017). Winterkorn, the CEO serving during the scandal was known to be a “perfectionist, . . . [insulting] and [punishing] his employees for small flaws . . . [his] authoritarian leadership style allowed no autonomy to subordinates, cultivated fear, and discouraged open communication across the management hierarchy” (Jung & Park, 2017, p. 129). John Maxwell’s (2007) assertion that leadership is the main factor of the rising or falling of their organization’s standing.

Legally, as a manager of the engineering department or the CEO of the diesel division of Volkswagen, I have the responsibilities to obey and abide by the employer/employee agreement that I signed for employment. I must also be aware of and obey local, regional, and national legislations that may be incompatible with my employment agreement. I must then communicate any issues to my employers for corrective actions. Spiritually, as a Christian, God’s Word supersedes any written law by man without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I must conduct my actions in all areas based on a Biblical worldview. “The Bible provides direction for ethical business conduct, from basic business practices such as using honest weights and measures . . ., to broader issues of social and environmental responsibility” (Kippenhan, 2016, p. 16). Ethically, in both positions I would not be faced with an ethical dilemma between my senior officers within the company and the legislations of the land of which they conduct their business. The installation and use of defeat devices to pass emission inspections is simply illegal and deceitful by nature. The Golden Rule states that “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 English Standard Version). Proverbs 15:22 states that “without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established (King James Version). I would encourage my senior leadership to seek further unbiased counsellors from numerous organizations to ensure compliance, as well as cover any blind spots, and I would influence the corporate culture of Volkswagen to operate in compliance to the Golden Rule.

Business operators are expected to know and comply with the legislations of the countries in which they conduct their business. They are also expected to act in good faith and tend to their local social responsibilities. The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal is a rich case study for analysis of real-world business problems and developing solutions to its failed management systems. For a Christian stakeholder, their conduct and loyalty are based above their company’s or countries’ legislations; they rest upon the Word of God. Christians must ultimately rely on the Holy Spirit’s illumination, wisdom, and discernment to tackle the ethical dilemmas they may face in the business world.


Jacobs, D., & Kalbers, L. P. (2019). The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal and accountability. CPA Journal, 89(7), 16–21. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/l…

Jung, J. C., & Park, S. B. (2017). Case study: Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Thunderbird International Business Review, 59(1), 127–137. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1002/tie.21…

Kippenhan, N. (Ed.). (2016). Biblical worldview edition of dynamic business law. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/97813090517…

Maxwell, J. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: follow them and people will follow you. Harpercollins Leadership.

Merenda, M. J., & Irwin, M. (2017). Case study: Volkswagen’s diesel emissions control scandal. Proceedings of the Northeast Business & Economics Association, 199–202. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/l…

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