Major Lessons for Leaders and Authorities Highlighted in Volkswagen Scandal Book
It has been 18 months since the Volkswagen cheating scandal was made public by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2015. As the story continues to unfold we now know that this was deliberate corporate malfeasance of the highest order, making the Volkswagen scandal the new global benchmark for corporate cheating and corporate scandals.
Many lessons can already be extracted from the turmoil created by the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, including:
The need for individual punishments when their actions deliberately violate laws protecting the health and well-being of humanity.
The need for regulators to have sufficient funds to do their jobs professionally and thoroughly without having to rely on self-test or third-party submissions made by the firms they are regulating.
The need for emissions tests of vehicles to be performed around the globe under real-world driving conditions, not in fabricated laboratory tests performed under ideal conditions requested by automotive manufacturers.
The need for modern corporate governance structures and standards to be in place, even in the most closely held, cross-linked shareholding situations.
The need for individuals to be accountable and more willing to speak up when they know of corporate wrongdoing, no matter what the corporate culture or workplace climate.
The need for organizational leaders to understand that legalese and corporate speak are not the proper way to respond to a crisis, especially when said crisis impacts millions of customers. Doing so simply creates more drama and additional brand equity deterioration with customers, government officials, journalists, shareholders, interest groups, and concerned citizens.
These lessons are the topics we explore in our book Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga, with the caveat that some lessons, as well as new ones, will continue to evolve as this scandalous story lingers and regenerates itself for months and years to come.
As one reader has commented, “Dieselgate is a great case study in corporate ethics and governance for MBA and business leadership programs.” We couldn’t agree more and can only hope and wish for this to become the case. For the leadership lessons from the Volkswagen cheating scandal on corporate governance, branding, crisis communications, corporate responsibility, business ethics, corporate culture, and individual accountability are relevant to leaders of any size organization.
Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga is available in all Amazon stores globally in both paperback and Kindle formats.