Originally Posted by Midpack
And you know for a fact that he didn't?
I assume you mean that Winterkorn very well may have said,
"Tell me about anything dishonest or improper you see," to
all his executives. "Don't fear for any reason that I will
retribute. Honesty comes first." And yet for various
reasons the middle managers could not overcome their fear
of consequences, and so covered up the secret, consciously
giving their big boss plausible deniability.
Well, this comes down to whether you feel, if a CEO really
said something like that, and had their heart truly in it,
if their employees would believe him (her). I feel the
employees/managers WOULD - IF the CEO really believed it.
But this also requires that the employees and managers also
hold similar principles dear. As I mentioned on another
board, a primary-er reason for a cover up is not that the
employees & managers fear
their CEO; it's that they merely are afraid to look bad*.
When an animal is cornered, fearing for its physical safety,
all other considerations go out the window. People actually
operate that way: the brain, being evolutionary, has a hard
time distinguishing general fear generated by the cortex's
logical deductions (hm, to lose my job & income would be
scary) from physical threats (my stress system is
overloading and my whole body is tense - there must be a
actual tiger about to eat me, not some vague anthropic
system of money and job security that is indeed a problem
if i lose my job, but not something that's going to rip
my leg off).
So, unless people have set up iron guard rails against
being duped into bad behavior, by the lizard stress system,
they are going to act as lizards when the fear comes (i.e.
"Hey Bob, you were supposed to have fixed the emissions
problem by lowering it by 20% like we agreed last December,
and now the deadline is up and you're telling me you havent?")
That image in Bob's brain scares him because he equates that
with the image of him losing his job, as mentioned.
Because he hasn't prepared his mind on how to deal with
such an eventuality - he hasnt sat down and said to himself,
even once in his life, Well if sh!# comes to shove i really
DO want to do the right thing even if it means losing my job
and facing my wife. I really do prioritize my principles
over added difficulties in my life. While most people WOULD
say that to themselves, absolutely, if they ever sat down
and had to write it out as a contract to themselves, most
people never sit down and do so; hence, the default behavior
is to just go with the flow, the reptilian evolutionary flow
of evolutionary programs our brain is born with.
*I talk about job security - financial fear. But maybe
social ostracization fear is the true activator of the fear
circuit. That is, at first for deadline or a slippery slope
pathway considerations (as posts above theorize) the
device gets implemented. Then the next morning they wake
up and have a feeling of wrongness. But to call it out
makes them seem wishy washy, and worse, "Well why did you
pass condonance on it earlier when it first got instituted?"
All this may occur unconsciously and simply manifest as
denial unwillingness to think about the possibility it
would ever come to light. "On the next model.. We'll do
it right.. and no one will ever know about the old cheat"
(Note: the idea that deadlines cause a lot of corruption
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere years ago, but forget
exactly. Also that social ostracization is THE greatest