Corporate Crisis

“Why should I care about the shareholders, who I see once a year at the general meeting. It is much more important that I care about the employees; I see them every day.” – Attributed to the CEO of Volkswagen in 1983.

In 2015, it became apparent that the car maker, Volkswagen, had for years been using illegal software installed in 11 million of its cars worldwide to help the company satisfy emissions standards required by US state testing agencies. When news of this broke, the company faced a global backlash.

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Can some blame for this deceit be directed towards the company’s governance structure? Based on your analysis of the crisis, explain whether you think suitable steps have been taken to prevent future scandals of this type.

Notes: The Individual Essay calls on students to investigate a corporate crisis, and whether governance contributed the organisation’s culpability.  Students also need to assess the organisation’s response.

Emphasis is placed on careful background study.

The purpose of the Individual Essay is for students to do some in-depth research on the topics and to take a position and argue and explain why your position has merit.  This means that you have to think through what the topic and questions are about, then formulate your position and justify that position, drawing on actual examples. Students are not to conduct primary research as this could require University Ethics clearance. Thus, students must NOT contact any organisation directly.  Acceptable sources of information for the Individual Essay are limited to online and secondary sources only. Please note: There is a minimum requirement of 20 references required for this research report, which is the absolute minimum needed to show sufficient depth of research.

Generating content for Assignment 1 entails critically explaining/ exploring the following:
1.    Relevant scholarly/ professional terms drawn from the unit and related studies to explain the situation under scrutiny,
2.    A profile of the organisation at the time that the crisis occurred,
3.    The circumstances and contributing factors leading up to the case crisis,
4.    The key actors involved in the case crisis and their culpability,
5.    The organisation’s response to the crisis and,
6.    The broader governance lessons one can be learned from the aforementioned.For more information on corporate crisis check on this :

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