Case | HBS Case Collection | August 1988 (Revised August 1989)

Poletown Dilemma, The

by Thomas R. Piper


Senior management of General Motors must select a site for a new assembly plant to replace two plants located in Detroit. The economics strongly favor a site in an adjacent state. However, a relocation would have substantial, negative impact on the existing work force, the City of Detroit, and suppliers in the Detroit area. Selection of a Detroit site would result in higher costs and would require the taking by eminent domain of 1,200 homes in the community of Poletown. The case raises issues of corporate responsibility, business-government relations, and stakeholder analysis.

Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Business and Government Relations; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Business Offices; Management Teams; Restructuring; Economics; Auto Industry; Michigan;


Piper, Thomas R. "Poletown Dilemma, The." Harvard Business School Case 389-017, August 1988. (Revised August 1989.)