Volkswagen Company’s Emissions Scandal

Are You Ethical?

After investigating the provided views and perceptions of ethics at work, I found that my personal perceptions of ethics are closer to those described in the article titled Minima Moralia in Project Management, by Louis Klein (2016). I have investigated and reviewed each point of view and found that the majority of managers interviewed for this research have very similar and repetitive views of what Ethics is and why are they needed. They believe in doing the right thing all the time, and that ethical behavior is a safety net rather than a device to provide profits (Molette, Ruffa, Surrett, Mongold, & Leisegang, 2012). While these views hold a degree of truth to them, the similarities between the answers may indicate that these perspectives are borrowed from somewhere and not entirely honest. Klein (2016) offers a different perspective.

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According to his article, the goodness or wrongness of action should be determined not only by the morality of intentions but also on the morality of achieved ends. To summarize my personal view on ethics in management and business, decisions should be made to produce the best and the least harm to everyone involved based on the information available at hand. However, as history often shows us, bad decisions have a nasty habit of being the only viable ones available at the moment.

Volkswagen Emissions Crisis

The Volkswagen emissions scandal of 2015 may have left a smear on the company’s reputation that will take a long while to wash out. To summarize what happened, Volkswagen was accused of falsifying and underreporting their emissions and buried the data within the corporate software (Brand, 2016). As a result, stocks fell, customers felt deceived and betrayed, and the mass media had a field day covering the story and making sure that “Dieselgate” becomes a widely acknowledged term (“Dieselgate, n.d.).

Volkswagen is a unique company, in away. In a world full of corporate vision and mission statements, it does not publish one of its own (Skeet, 2015). The only mention of the company’s vision was in its 2006 financial report, after which it disappeared, to be forgotten and never mentioned again. Volkswagen translates as “the peoples’ car,” which makes the purpose of the company’s existence and its intention to serve the needs of the people profoundly clear (Samuelson, 2015).

However, vision and mission statements are not instruments used to lure customers in. These are internal guidelines for company managers and employees. As practice shows, a company that does not follow its own mission statement is bound to make unethical decisions and place profit before morals, ecology, and even health and safety of its customers. Ecological emission systems, in general, do not produce short-term profits – they take time to devise and install, and they make the products more expensive for the end customer (less competitive). However, managers and companies that forsake long-term perspective for short-term profits may cause even the giants such as Volkswagen to plummet.


Brand, C. (2016). Beyond ‘Dieselgate’: Implications of unaccounted and future air pollutant emissions and energy use for cars in the United Kingdom. Energy Policy, 97, 1-12.

Dieselgate. (n.d.). Web.

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Klein, L. (2016). Minima Moralia in project management: There is no right life in the wrong one. Project Management Journal, 47(3), 12-20.

Molette, H., Ruffa, M., Surrett, S., Mongold, G., & Leisegang, M. (2012). Are you ethical? PM Network, 26(1), 27.

Samuelson, S. (2015). Why corporate values should help avoid scandals. Web.

Skeet, A. (2015). No vision, no mission, no hope. Web.

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