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Relationship Analysis of the Flint Government and General Motors

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Relationship Analysis of the Flint Government and General Motors

  1. Nature of the relationship
  • Permanent. GM is permanently regulated by the government;the Flint government should take GM into consideration in making policies because GM is the largest employer in Flint with strong economic power.
  • Supervisory. GM is supervised by the government.
  • Dependent. More precisely, the relationship is interdependent. GM depends on the government for social stability and public services and the government depends on GM for tax incomes and employment opportunities.
  • Mandated. GM is mandated by the government in using public facilities including water and electricity, and implementing employment policies.
  • Formal.
  • Power.
  • Cooperative. The relationship is cooperative rather than competitive. However, it is not cooperative enough to help solve some social problems in Flint. In Flint water crisis, the government didn't actively engage GM while GM was the first to detect water pollution.
  • Professional.
  1. Quality of the relationship
  • Supportive. The government supports GM with public facilities ad municipal services and GM supports the government with creating employment opportunities and making tax contribution.
  • Between trust and distrust. Especially in the Flint water crisis, GM distrusted the quality of water supply changed by the government; the government distrusted the finding of GM that the water was polluted. The relationship should move toward trust to address the water crisis and future potential crises.
  • Honest. The government should make information open toward the public including GM;  GM should be honest to the government by law.
  • Guarded. The relationship is guarded rather open because the relationship between government and the largest local employer deals with huge interests in politics and commerce.
  • Caring. The government cares the development of GM as it has a great economic influence in Flint. GM cares the government because changes in government policies will have a big impact on GM. Because they are interdependent and supportive, they have a caring relationship.
  • Dominating. The government plays a dominating role in the relationship because it has more social power than GM.
  • Between distant and collegial. Government and GM are collegial in cooperation but they can be distant from each other in protecting their own interests.
  1. How the relationship will influence the Flint DPW

Although the relationship of the Flint government and GM is supportive and caring, it is currently between trust and distrust, intensifying public distrust of the government in the water crisis. The relationship between government and GM can be characterized as a crucial external factor that lies in behind the “envelope” as “Accountability crisis”. Since the local government failed to fulfill their mission in DPW, yet the GM still survived in crisis by utilizing their own resource, both the company and its big population of employees displayed their distrust and independency. Thus, their relationship in DPW highlights the instability, which is supposed to be supportive and caring.

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