Volkswagen Case Study (assignment)

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Volkswagen Case Study (assignment).


  1. Using your case study as an example, discuss to what extent ethics play a part in the success or demise of an organisation.
  2. What measures can an organisation take to ensure ethical practice? 


  • Knowledge and understanding of relevant research relating to ethical issues pertinent to prescribed case studies as well as analysing and understanding the implications of these issues.
  • Ability to independently manage learning resources, demonstrate command of Harvard referencing, structure a report according to academic conventions and express ideas accurately while maintaining academic style.


You may wish to focus your analysis section on 3-4 of the following points:

  • Revenue
  • Share price
  • Shareholders
  • Board
  • Managers
  • Customers or patients
  • Public relations (PR); media coverage
  • The industry or sector  Regulators


Your report should follow the structure and suggested word counts below:

  • Cover page
  • Executive summary (not included in word count, this is a university regulation)  Contents page  Introduction (250-300 words) –
  • Analysis (1250 words, 3-4 points)
  • Conclusion (150 words)
  • Recommendations (300 words) –
  • Reference List (not included in word count) –
  • Appendices (not included in word count)

Allocation of Marks

  • Use of sources (including: range, quality, paraphrasing/ summarising and referencing)
  • Structure (including: report structure, paragraph structure and cohesion)
  • Task fulfillment (including relevancy, clarity and level of analysis)
  • Language (including: range, accuracy and style)

Volkswagen Case Study 

In September 2015, the Volkswagen company publicly admitted that almost 600,000 cars made for the US market had been fitted with “defeat devices”, which is used in order to enable the vehicles to pass emissions tests. Soon after this, they announced that the same devices were fitted on some 11 million cars worldwide. The corporation’s Head of U.S. Operations, Michael  Horn, went on to sit before a Congressional Committee to claim that the attempt to deceive the regulators was the work of “a couple of software engineers”.

However, it soon became clear that this assertion was not the case. The company went on to admit this when it published a “statement of facts” as part of an agreement with the US Department of Justice. This document clarified that Volkswagen’s engineers had difficulty building a diesel engine that was capable of achieving high performance while keeping emissions within regulatory standards. They engineered a mechanism that reduced emissions while testing was occurring, but that allowed emissions far beyond legal limits while driving on roads. The statement made clear that company managers supported the use of this system on various occasions, despite protests from multiple workers. …