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.
Using the case study of Volkswagen as an example, this assignment will discuss to that extent ethics play a part in the success or demise of an organization as well as the measures the organization can take to ensure ethical practice.