A Project for ETAP 520: Community, Technology, and Knowledge Building
School of Education
University at Albany, SUNY
Although internal documents revealed that GM knew that faulty ignition switches could impact the safety of its cars as early as 2001, they did not issue a recall until 2014. By that time, over 600 people had allegedly been involved in accidents, with 13 fatalities. This issue involves a number of themes: responsibility for the faulty switch, internal culture and communication related to safety issues, the extent of responsibility for accidents and deaths related to the faulty ignition switch, the ethical lens with which GM considered safety issues, the role of government regulators, and stakeholder communication regarding the safety concerns and recall.
The GM Recall Site explores these themes through an analysis of a number of sources, including General Motors company documents, government hearing transcripts and reports, popular press articles (e.g., The New York Times and PBS), humor in the form of cartoons and videos, and websites devoted to the recall (such as http://recalls.gm.com).
To collect “local knowledge,” or knowledge derived from personal experience, I analyzed social media posts related to the GM recall, reviewed online commentary by employees posted to online job boards, collected photographs of key rings from friends and families, captured the position of my knee in relation to my key ring in my own car, and administered a survey.