Volkswagen To Play Musical Chairs With Employees To Keep Everyone Honest: Report

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

It looks like Volkswagen may take a hint from musical chairs in tweaking its company structure—minus the chair removal (hopefully)—following its Dieselgate scandal, and will reportedly begin rotating certain positions in the interest of accountability.

The company plans to have employees switch positions periodically in order to improve “control mechanisms,” German newspaper Welt am Sonntag recently cited VW’s supervisory board chairman, Hans Dieter Pötsch, as saying. A German newspaper reported in November that the emissions cheat began as a result of engineers viewing former CEO Martin Winterkorn’s goals as too high, but the employees “did not dare tell him” that was the case.


Rotation will occur at central points in the engine development in order to lessen the chances of situations such as that, according to Welt am Sonntag.

“We are planning a rotation principle for certain functions,” Pötsch told the newspaper. “The employees concerned will spend only a limited time in certain positions before moving on.”


But, Pötsch added that rotating those positions will be a challenge. Because people able to program engine-control units are a “scarce” resource, Pötsch said VW could rotate employees with sister companies Audi and Porsche.

The manufacturer will also strictly adhere to a “four-eye principle” to develop future engine software. Pötsch said VW needs a company culture that tolerates differing opinions and permits errors, but that “it is important that mistakes are made ​​only once.”

That’s something we can all agree on—especially when the mistakes are as costly as VW’s most recent (and perhaps famous) one.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Contact the author at