To read this content please select one of the options below:

Humans, monkeys, and diesel fumes; oh my!

Katherine Karl (Department of Management, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Nai Lamb (Department of Management, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Olivia Young (Department of Accounting, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)

Publication date: 11 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 July 2019


Research methodology

Information about Volkswagen’s human and animal testing was obtained from the secondary sources cited.

Case overview/synopsis

In 2014, Volkswagen (VW), BMW and Daimler funded an institute to conduct research to support their position that diesel engines are cleaner and safer than other fuel alternatives. One of the research studies conducted by the institute examined the effects of diesel fumes on humans and monkeys. Researchers put ten macaque monkeys in sealed rooms and pumped in exhaust fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle for four hours. For comparison, another group of monkeys was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup. The monkeys were later anesthetized and examined to see what the fumes did to their bodies. Other tests involved willing human subjects who were exposed to similar conditions.

Complexity academic level

This case is applicable to upper-level management or business ethics class.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Karl, K., Lamb, N. and Young, O. (2019), "Humans, monkeys, and diesel fumes; oh my!", , Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 162-170.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles