Job rotation for VW executives

VW is reported to be considering regular job rotation for its some of its senior staff.

The move, originally reported in the German publication Welt am Sonntag and picked up by Just-auto (an auto industry intelligence service) is intended to address the organisational issues that may have led to the use of so-called ‘defeat devices’ which enable vehicles to meet emissions standards under test conditions.

VW claim that only a small number of its staff were involved in the deployment of defeat devices. The intention of time-limited assignments, if indeed they are actually introduced, will presumably be to prevent collusion amongst close colleagues, of the sort that may have contributed to the emissions scandal.

A practice such as regular rotation has both costs and benefits. On the benefits side, rotation spreads knowledge across functions, fosters cross-departmental networks and cooperation and as such can help organisations achieve coordination, control, and innovation. However, complex, technologically advanced environments require a depth of expertise, specialist knowledge and mutual understanding that is difficult to create and maintain via short, transient assignments.

There is clearly a risk that in fixing one problem, VW may create another.

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