Dieselgate: En kandidatafhandling om krisekommunikation

Anders Schelde-Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


On 18 September 2015, news started to spread that the Environment Protection Agency had issued a notice of violation to Volkswagen (VW). The violation involved intentionally programmed systems on several of the care makers diesel engines. The programming ultimately lead to emit of Nitrogen Oxide 40 times higher of what is allowed by American authorities. As a consequence 482.000 cars were revoked from the American market, starting what today has been known as ‘Dieselgate’. This thesis will examine how VW has dealt with crisis communication since the eruption of ‘Dieselgate’, including what strategies, if any, have been used to influence the situation. The thesis will be based on a theoretical framework involving the most important approaches within crisis communication. The theoretical framework will contain elements of both early and late generations of crisis communication in order to fully cover the development within the genre. Furthermore, a comprehensive theoretical section has been chosen in an attempt to give perspective to the thesis’ other two cases of crisis communication: BP in the Mexican Gulf in 2010, and Johnson and Johnson and the Tylenol-crisis in 1982. As VW and ‘Dieselgate’ will function as the primary case, the thesis will predominantly examine this process of crisis communication, whereas BP and Johnson and Johnson will be used as supportive examples of crisis communication. The thesis is founded on numerous sources in order to validate the information presented. Sources have been evaluated with regards to credibility and relevance, as it has been a consideration that the thesis is an academic product. In order to include relevant sources, a comprehensive research process prior to writing the thesis has been carried out. The thesis does not seek to give any final answers about crisis communication as it is considered that each case has its own set of unique characteristics. A number of selected examples of crisis communication from each case will be presented during the thesis in order to analyze and describe their influence and relevance on the time they were carried out. These examples combined with the theoretical framework will shape the discussion and conclusion of the thesis in an attempt to synthesize all conditions. Finally, the discussion and conclusion will feature reflections of the time and other surrounding matters of each case, which has been assessed as relevant.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages80