MGMT362 Columbia College Dont Drink the Water in Flint Michigan Case Study Review the case study “Don’t Drink the Water in Flint, Michigan” located in the

MGMT362 Columbia College Dont Drink the Water in Flint Michigan Case Study Review the case study “Don’t Drink the Water in Flint, Michigan” located in the attached document. Write as synopsis (a brief overview) of the case. Please prepare your synopsis as if I (and your colleagues) do not have the whole case study. Your synopsis should be concise, complete, and fully describe the situation “as you see it.” The synopsis should not exceed 4-5 paragraphs.

Identify three (3) problems (Stop 1) and utilizing the material (Stop 2) we have covered in the course so far and make three (3) recommendations (Stop 3) to solve the problems. Each problem will require a justified recommended solution.

Support your recommended solutions with rational thought learned from the course material, other courses, online resources provided for this course, and real-life experience.


· Double spaced, 12 point. one inch margins

· Number of pages: 8

· Style: APA or MLA

· Please use the attached template to format the paper. Case Study Analysis 1-3
Overall Expectations

Double spaced, 12 point. one inch margins
Number of pages: No more than 10
Style: APA or MLA
Due: Sunday at 11:59 PM CST of the assigned week (except Case Study Analysis 3, which is due
on Saturday of Week 8)
Please format your paper like the template, below.
Synopsis of the case (4-5 paragraphs)
Problem #1 (Each problem should be no more than three to four sentences in length. Be succinct.)
Cause of Problem
Recommendation # 1 (Recommendations are directly tied to the problem you identify. For each
problem, a thorough and justified recommendation must be provided. (Shy away from general
statements and blanket conceptual recommendations that are not fully justified with the facts of the
Problem #2
Cause of Problem
Recommendation #2
Problem #3
Cause of Problem
Recommendation #3
Don’t Drink the Water in Flint, Michigan
Apply the knowledge of OB presented in this chapter to the following case. Applying this knowledge
should enable you to effectively investigate the issues facing Flint, Michigan’s water supply.
Flint, Michigan, is located 70 miles north of Detroit. It has a population of about 99,000, and roughly 42
percent of its residents live below the poverty line. Fifty-six percent of the community is African
Poor economic conditions were not always the norm for Flint. The city thrived for years thanks to the
operation of a large General Motors plant, but that changed when the company downsized the plant in
the 1980s.1
This case is about a series of decisions that led to the contamination of Flint’s water supply. Michigan’s
governor at the time was Rick Snyder, and the mayor of Flint was Dayne Walling. In 2016 the governor
created a six-member task force that included experts on issues ranging from public health to
environmental issues to investigate Flint’s water supply.2 Assume you are a member of this task force as
you analyze this case.
Background on What Happened
Snyder ran for governor in 2010 on the strength of his business and management experience and the
promise “to bring outside experts to transform financially languishing municipalities. To do so, he was
able to use an existing law that allowed the governor to appoint an ‘emergency manager’ to trump
locally elected officials on key policy decisions.”3 This is an important point because Snyder appointed
two emergency managers who played key roles in this case.
According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the first orders of business for the emergency manager in
2011 was to “find a cheaper source of water than the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which
had been raising rates for years.” Flint’s City Council voted 7–1 in March 2013 to “leave the Detroit
system and use a new system proposed by Genesee County to draw its own water from Lake Huron.”
The move to the new system was made official by emergency manager Ed Kurtz in 2013, and state
treasurer Andy Dillon approved $81 million in financing. The decision was expected to save the city
millions of dollars.4
Kurtz then commissioned a study to find whether the Flint River could be used as the water supply while
the pipeline from Lake Huron was being built. The study panel concluded that the river water was one
option, but it presented challenges. It’s not clear whether other viable options were considered. Scott
Kincaid, a member of Flint’s City Council, told The Wall Street Journal that using the Flint River as a
primary water source “was never discussed” during the council’s vote. One year later, Darnell Early, the
new emergency manager, ended the city’s arrangement with Detroit Water and began to implement the
plan to use Flint River water.5
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) then approved permits to upgrade Flint’s
water-treatment plant, enabling it to treat river water. Mike Glasgow, a lab supervisor at the water
treatment facility, sent an e-mail to the MDEQ saying “the Flint water treatment plant was not ready to
start treating Flint River water and would do so only ‘against my direction.’” He told an investigative
committee that no one responded. Water from the river began to flow to residents’ homes in a matter
of days. Although Glasgow thought this was a bad idea, and “nobody asked his opinion in any official
way,” he apparently stopped protesting.
Glasgow “testified he expected corrosion-control chemicals to be used in the treatment process, but the
state didn’t require the chemicals. The plant would not have been able to add the phosphates in any
case … because it didn’t have the necessary equipment and would have had to wait three to six months
to order and install it.… There was a deadline we had to meet. I almost feel like everything was just
happening so fast … so many different things to look at … it was somewhat easy for these things to be
What Happened to the Water?
The water began to turn brown and smell of chlorine. Residents like LeeAnne Walters began to notice
changes within her family. Everyone began to lose hair, and the children came down with a host of
problems. Walters told a reporter that “the twins, 3-year-old Gavin and Gerrett, kept breaking out in
rashes. Gavin had stopped growing. On several occasions, 14-year-old JD suffered abdominal pains so
severe that Walters took him to the hospital. At one point, all of LeeAnne’s own eyelashes fell out.”
The city ultimately came to Walters’ home and tested the water, but according to experts, it used an
inaccurate method to do so. Officials also suggested that the problem was due to plumbing within the
Walters home and not to water source contamination.
It turns out that Walters’ family and many others were suffering from the effects of lead in the water
supply. These effects are more severe for children and can lead to “irreversible neurological
consequences.” The lead exposure continued for 17 months despite repeated complaints from Flint
Flint officials sent a notice to all residents in January 2015. It said “that the city’s water contained high
levels of trihalomethanes, the byproduct of a disinfectant used to treat the water. Over time, these
chemicals can cause liver, kidney, and nervous system problems.” The notice warned “that sick and
elderly people might be at an increased risk, but it said the water was otherwise safe to drink.”7
The city continued to tell people throughout most of 2015 that the water was fine. Mayor Walling said,
“The city water is safe to drink. My family and I drink it and use it every day.”8
Other evidence suggest otherwise. Tests by Marc Edwards, an expert in lead corrosion at Virginia Tech,
revealed lead concentrations “more than twice the level the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.” This led
to an investigation by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center. Her findings
demonstrated that children under age five had lead concentration levels that had doubled or tripled
since the city switched to using Flint River water.9
There was even a spike in Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area. From June 2014 to November 2015, 87
people were hospitalized, and nine died. Although there is no clear scientific proof that the leadcontaminated water caused these illnesses, one expert concluded, “It’s a ‘reasonable conclusion’ given
the link between poor water quality and Legionnaires’ disease in scientific studies elsewhere.”10
Residents of Flint have had many hardships trying to live with the problem. Consider the cost of using
bottled water for drinking and washing dishes. Taking showers was also problematic due to the
frequency of skin rashes associated with bathing in tainted water. A survey showed that 80 percent of
the residents substantially changed their bathing habits because of the water crisis. According to a
report in The New York Times, “Some have found cheap memberships at gyms just outside the city and
use them to bathe more than exercise. Others waited in a long line last month [March 2014] to receive
contraptions called Pump-N-Sprays: nozzles and foot pumps that can be attached to 5-gallon bottles of
water as makeshift showers.”11
What Did the Investigations Reveal?
Tax cutting and the desire to save money played a role in the damage to Flint. An economist from
Michigan State University concluded that “tax cuts of this magnitude, some of which were passed during
the first year of Gov. Snyder’s administration, were bound to have real consequences.”12
The power and authority of the emergency managers making the key decisions also affected the chain
of events leading to the tragedy. And officials from two state agencies—the Department of
Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services—contributed as well. They
were warned by Miguel Del Toral, an official from the US Environmental Protection Agency, that Flint
had not put anticorrosion safeguards in place to protect people from the Flint River water. These state
officials also ignored warnings from Marc Edwards and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Finally, the decision to
approve permits to improve Flint’s water-treatment plant by the Department of Environmental Quality
was flawed. Officials apparently misinterpreted the “federal Lead and Copper Rule, which required the
city to control corrosion in pipes to prevent the leaching of lead.”13
Local officials played a part in that they went along with the decision to use the Flint River water as an
interim supply while the pipeline to Lake Huron was being constructed. Photos show them toasting the
The governor and his staff demonstrated a lack of oversight. One report noted, “Neither the governor
nor the governor’s office took steps to reverse poor decisions by MDEQ and state-appointed emergency
managers until October 2015, in spite of mounting problems and suggestions to do so by senior staff
members in the governor’s office, in part because of continued reassurances from MDEQ that the water
was safe.” The MDEQ also was faulted for “failing to enforce drinking water regulations, while the state
health department was criticized for failing to ‘adequately and promptly act to protect public health.’”15
As of August 2016, reported that “nine current and former state and local officials face counts
ranging from willful neglect of duty to conspiracy over allegations they withheld information from the
public about lead contamination in the city’s drinking water.”16
Apply the 3-Step Problem-Solving Approach to OB
Step 1: Define the problem.

Look first at the Outcomes box of the Organizing Framework in Figure 11.7 to help identify the
important problem(s) in this case. Remember that a problem is a gap between a desired and a
current state. State your problem as a gap, and be sure to consider problems at all three levels.
If more than one desired outcome is not being accomplished, decide which one is most
important and focus on it for steps 2 and 3.

Cases have protagonists (key players), and problems are generally viewed from a particular
protagonist’s perspective. Take the perspective of a member of the task force investigating this

Use details in the case to identify the key problem. Don’t assume, infer, or create problems that
are not included in the case.

To refine your choice, ask yourself, Why is this a problem? Explaining why helps refine and focus
your thinking.
Step 2: Identify causes of the problem by using material from this chapter, summarized in the Organizing
Framework shown in Figure 11.7. Causes will appear in either the Inputs box or the Processes box.

Start by looking at the Organizing Framework to identify which person factors, if any, are most
likely causes to the defined problem. For each cause, ask yourself, Why is this a cause of the
problem? Asking why multiple times is more likely to lead you to root causes of the problem.

Follow the same process for the situation factors.

Now consider the Processes box shown in Figure 11.7. Consider concepts listed at all three
levels. For any concept that might be a cause, ask yourself, Why is this a cause? Again, do this
for several iterations to arrive at root causes.

To check the accuracy or appropriateness of the causes, map them onto the defined problem.
Step 3: Make your recommendations for solving the problem. Consider whether you want to resolve it,
solve it, or dissolve it (see Section 1.5). Which recommendation is desirable and feasible?

Given the causes identified in Step 2, what are your best recommendations? Use the content in
Chapter 11 or one of the earlier chapters to propose a solution.

You may find potential solutions in the OB in Action boxes and Applying OB boxes within this
chapter. These features provide insights into what other individuals or companies are doing in
relationship to the topic at hand.

Create an action plan for implementing your recommendations.

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