INFORMATIVE SPEECH OUTLINE
Topic: The Volkswagen Emission Scandal
General Purpose: To Inform
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about a recent classic case of corporate malpractice that reverberated across the global business community.
Thesis: From the factors that led to the scandal, to the execution of the scheme itself, Volkswagen’s woes reflect deep ethical failure.
- Attention Getter: Cases of corporate entities trying to game the system are nothing new. However, the level of ingenuity exhibited in some of their schemes is fascinating. From creative accounting techniques, to deployment of smart technologies, modern history is full of examples of businesses that went the extra mile to cheat.
- Reason to Listen: The iconic German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen AG is a classic example of these endeavors. The emission scandal which engulfed the company two years ago warrants close attention because it underscores the existing conflict between environmental preservation and economic achievement.
- Thesis Statement: From the factors that led to the scandal, to the execution of the scheme itself, Volkswagen’s woes reflect deep ethical failure.
- Credibility Statement:
- 1. I have always been drawn to examining unethical corporate practices ever since I came across the 2001 Enron accounting scandal.
- Accordingly, I have pored over numerous research materials in an attempt to understand why such companies do what they do.
- Preview of Main Points:
- First, I will discuss the underlying factors that led to the scandal.
- Second, I will discuss the scandal itself.
- Thereafter, I will explore its aftermath in terms of the impact to both the company itself and the corporate community in general.
- The most powerful underlying factor behind this scandal is pressure.
- The company had an ambitious plan to increase vehicle sales within a short time frame. One shortcoming with this plan is that environmental regulatory requirements were ignored.
- According to Professor Lynch, who analyzed the case at length, engineers would need to “conjure up a near miracle” in order to design a competitive engine (Lynch and Santos 1).
- Poor oversight by the board also made it easy to execute this scheme (Elson, Ferrere and Goossen 37).
- The scandal itself occurred in September 2015.
- Volkswagen had violated the US Clean Air Act by producing vehicles whose emission exceeded set standards.
- A software program minimized this emission during regulator lab testing to avoid detection.
- Real-world emission exceeded the standard by over 40 times (Painter and Martins 204).
- The company accepted these charges by the US Department of Justice.
- It was ordered to pay a 2 billion dollar fine for this transgression (Torrance 1).
- The scandal had a substantial adverse impact on the company and the market
- Changes were made to the company’s management structure.
- The company’s CEO resigned and some senior executives were fired (Lynch and Santos 1).
- The company’s sales volumes were affected.
- Sales of Volkswagen cars also plummeted across markets (Torrance 1).
- Consumer trust in the brand declined and shareholders were negatively affected (Painter and Martins 205).
- The scandal generated policy discussions
- The scandal elicited debate on corporate malpractice worldwide (Lynch and Santos 1).
- Review of Main Points:
- Today I first discussed the underlying factors that led to the scandal.
- Second, I discussed the scandal itself.
- Finally, I discussed the aftermath in terms of the impact to both the company itself and the corporate community in general.
- Restate Thesis: From the factors that led to the scandal, to the execution of the scheme itself, Volkswagen’s woes reflect deep ethical failure.
- Closure: In conclusion, the reality of the matter is that this particular case will not be the last of its kind. However, it offers an opportunity; the opportunity to learn and reflect on how to avoid similar mistakes in future. Hopefully, the lessons will endure.
Elson, Charles M, Craig K Ferrere and Nicholas J Goossen. “The Bug At Volkswagen: Lessons in Co-Determination, Ownership, and Board Structure.” Journal of Applied Corporate Finance 27.4 (2015): 36-43. Print.
Lynch, Luann J and Carlos Santos.” VW Emissions and the 3 Factors That Drive Ethical Breakdown.” 17 October 2016. Web. 31 Ocotber 2017 <https://ideas.darden.virginia.edu/2016/10/vw-emissions-and-the-3-factors-that-drive-ethical-breakdown/>.
Painter, Christopher and Jorge Tiago Martins. “Organisational communication management during the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: A hermeneutic study in attribution, crisis management, and information orientation.” Knowledge and Process Management 24.3 (2017): 204-218. Print.
Torrance, Jack. “What caused Volkswagen’s emissions scandal?” 10 May 2016. Web. 31 October 2017 <https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/caused-volkswagens-emissions-scandal/article/1394371>.