By on October 18, 2015

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An investor and analyst argued in column that appears in the New Yorker that Volkswagen engineers may have rationalized illegal behavior by incrementally cheating up to the infamous levels uncovered by researchers last year.

Using the catastrophic failure of the space shuttle Challenger as an example, Paul Kedrosky wrote that “normalization of deviance” could have led Volkswagen engineers to systemically cheat on emissions in the same way engineers rationalized colder and colder launches for the space shuttle until it finally disintegrated in 1986 because of failed, cold o-rings.

It’s more likely that the scandal is the product of an engineering organization that evolved its technologies in a way that subtly and stealthily, even organically, subverted the rules.

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