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A thorough appraisal of the situation allows the author of this case study to better understand the problem and foresee possible solutions to it. The problem itself, according to Meyer and Brown, can be found in the fact that “nearly two hundred of the rancher’s cattle had mysteriously died, and he could not determine the cause of death” (p. 94). Erickson, as a public relations representative, takes control of the situation, driven by the notion that the governor supports the idea of “open government” and understands that the issue must be resolved immediately. The idea that Erickson has to go all-in to resolve the case is the main driving force for him. On the one hand, it is logical to assume that people will respect the government if it manages to solve the problem. On the other, if Erickson ignores the inquiry, a wave of indignation may arise among the community. Taking water contamination in the area into account, we can conclude that it is also possible that the products on the farmer’s land were also contaminated as a repercussion of chemical poisoning. Erickson knows that he needs to either stop the functioning of the Fast Grow Corporation chemical plant or at least of their fertilizer production process.

There are several scenarios possible in this kind of situation. The first one for Erickson is to convene a commission to assess plant operations and then pay them a visit, demanding they stop their damaging processes. If plant management refuses to comply, Erickson could threaten that the plant will suffer major losses due to the downtime caused by all ensuing inspections. If it is decided that the plant should be closed down, a negative response would be expected from investors who spend ample money on the production of fertilizers and on plant maintenance. Erickson is going to have a talk with the governor, and if that does not help to advance a resolution for the problem, he will be forced to compensate the rancher for his dead cattle. The second option is simply to request the removal of hazardous fertilizer waste left post-production. It would be critical to find out at what stage the pollution happens and to take necessary steps to eliminate the issue as soon as possible.

The last and the worst-case scenario is the option where the Fast Grow Corporation refuses to suspend work in order to determine circumstances or at least to allow the Commission to make necessary measurements and perform a deep analysis of what is happening in the fertilizer production process. The third option for Erickson is to set an appointment with the governor and survey all the facts as they stand; this scenario may be considered the worst case of all three, but if Erickson is successful in his inquiries, the governor and the office would have community support. If Erickson decides to come to the governor, he will have to announce a request to stop the fertilizer production in order to clarify the circumstances and to address problem-solving methods.

Otherwise, if the governor refuses to assist, Erickson will have to hold a press conference, to which he would call journalists from all over the state. In this case, he is motivated by the idea that he does what the policy passed by the governor requires from the governor’s office. If the governor refuses to help, the farmer will sue the plant, and then the case suffers bad publicity throughout the state and then the whole country. If the governor wants to avoid taking this issue to court, he will listen to Erickson and convene a shareholders’ council, encouraging them to carry out the necessary analysis, which he might justify by saying that it is better to incur temporary losses than to completely shut down the plant and raise a wave of public discontent.

If in Erickson’s place, this author would have chosen the following strategy: come to the factory and find out whether the operation really pollutes the environment. If it is determined to do so, the next step is to find out how. The author also does not have any evidence of guilt on the part of the plant, so an accusatory visit to the governor is not legitimate. Finding the cause of the problem, the factory, the governor, and the author of this paper join forces in searching for a solution to the problem, which would be beneficial to all parties involved. It is also important to convince plant management to pass the inspection because if the plant closes, people will lose their jobs and resentment could easily take over the state, or even the whole county. If the farmer were to sue the company, it would have to stop production and pay damages to him (not to mention losses that the company will incur during this idle time). A peaceful solution is advantageous to the plant owner as well, if he wants to become the next governor.

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