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News Tip: Forgiveness for VW Requires Plan to Prevent Future Dishonesty, Expert Says

Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive appeared Thursday at a congressional hearing on emissions-rigging

Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive appeared Thursday at a congressional hearing on the automaker’s admission of emissions-rigging.•    Quotes: “Both in the FIFA case and in the VW case, it’s not just the dishonesty,” says Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. “If there was just a bug in the software but nobody did it on purpose, or it was an honest mistake, the damage could have been the same, and we would have been upset about it, but the intentionality behind it tells us something about this company. They have portrayed themselves in a certain way and have relied on our trust in a certain way and then betrayed it.”•    “The good news is that people have a tremendous willingness for forgiveness. We do understand that people make mistakes from time to time. We have all made mistakes. So the question is will people ask for forgiveness. If they do, I think people will forgive them and there’s a way to move forward. But what you need to do when you ask for forgiveness is say here’s the things we’ve done wrong and this is how we are going to prevent ourselves from doing this again. Without this kind of reckoning, acknowledging the sins and apologizing, I don’t see a way forward.”•    Bio:Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His research focuses on decision-making and the forces that drive it. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and the author of books, including “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty” and “The Upside of Irrationality.”•    For additional comment, contact Ariely