Listening to birdsong: Impression management of VW on Twitter during Dieselgate

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In this study, we examine the impression management of Volkswagen (VW) for dealing with the diesel emissions scandal (Dieselgate) on Twitter in the context of legitimacy theory. Therefore, we identified 13 tweets from the VW US Twitter account, which are directly or indirectly meant to resolve the crisis. Thereby, respective crisis tweets followed different impression management strategies, which have been classified by us according to prevailing impression management literature. To evaluate the effectiveness of VW’s crisis management strategies, we conduct frequency analysis for a first intuition and sentiment analysis, based on user replies, to evaluate different crisis management strategies upon the induced user emotions. Exemplary user responses are provided to give insights into the sentiments. Our findings illustrate that different strategies imply major differences in positivity and negativity, allowing us to derive recommendations for adequate online crisis management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)64-78
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020