1.1 Risk communication and “Diesel Gate”
1.2 VW and “Diesel-Gate”
The irregularities in our Group’s diesel engines contradict everything that Volkswagen stands for. I also do not have the answers to all questions at this time.6
As Chairman of the Board of Management, I assume responsibility for the irregularities at Diesel Engines that have come to light and have therefore asked the Supervisory Board to discuss an agreement with me which will terminate my responsibility as Chairman of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Group. Although I am not aware of any misconduct on my part, I have decided to take this step in the interest of the company.8
2.1 Descriptive content analysis
2.2 Rhetorical analysis
2.2.1 Rhetorical situation
2.2.2 Rhetorical appeal
2.2.3 Linguistic characteristics of texts
1st Person singular
1st Person Plural
Reference to others
Assertiveness of statements (Rhetorical Analysis-DICTION)
Question of culpability
Words longer than six characters
Length of sentence
2.3 Risk management process steps according to DIN ISO 31000: 2018
2.4 Quality dimensions of reporting according to Boesso/Kumar
In December 2017, a lawsuit for damages on the assigned claims of approximately 6000 customers against Volkswagen AG was lodged in Switzerland in the amount of approximately 30 million Swiss francs.47.
So if you asked me today: “Is Volkswagen a good company?” my answer would be: “Yes, Volkswagen is a highly successful global corporation.” Yes, we are investing all our energy in the future of mobility and, by extension, in our own future. And yes, we at Volkswagen recognise how vital a solid foundation of values and a healthy corporate culture are for our existence and survival.48.
3.1 Observations on the content of the descriptive content analysis
Our company continues to offer excellent prospects because we stand for innovative strength, competitiveness and financial substance.50.
“And that’s because the measures we’re taking now will succeed in making Volkswagen a better company.” A group that boldly takes the future into its own hands and grows sustainably with an eye on long-term goals for its customers, employees and partners, for our society and last but not least for you, our shareholders.51.
3.2 Rhetorical analysis
3.2.1 Rhetorical situation
3.2.2 Rhetorical appeal
We are doing everything we can to overcome this crisis: effective technical solutions for our customers and trustful cooperation with all responsible authorities amidst full transparency will help us get to the bottom of what happened.60
3.2.3 Linguistic characteristics of texts
3.3 Steps of the risk management process according to DIN ISO 31000:2018
3.4 Quality dimensions of reporting according to Boesso/Kumar
4 Summary and discussion
- VW has added a separate section on the diesel issue to its annual report.
- However, straightforward and fact-based information is primarily communicated in the Risk and Opportunities Report and in the separate section on the diesel/emissions topic.
- There has been comprehensive detailing and reflection of the events in the annual reports since 2015.
- The question of culpability is not discussed in detail, but legal implications have been laid out.
- The emotional appeal to the reports’ readers (especially shareholders) is addressed in the Letters to the Shareholders, where an increasingly positive, emotional language is used.
- In addition, following “Diesel-Gate”, statements expressing certainty can be found in the Letters to Shareholders with increased frequency.
- Amongst the strategies for restoring the company’s image, corrective measures are recommended in order to avoid similar scenarios in the future.
- VW employs the narrative of the learning organisation to signal to readers that similar incidents will not occur in the future.