A case study submitted by a student involves problems that crop up in a dormitory kitchen. The facts of the case include the notion that there were about a dozen workers in a cafeteria and that for quite awhile, no one is overworked and it is generally agreed that the food is good. The cafeteria worked in an organized fashion and menus were simply repeated. Most of the workers were middle aged or older and had no young children at home to tend to. Many of the workers were women, attended the same church and would cover for each other in the event that one of the workers was ill.
In fact, it was a desirable situation and the people got along very well with one another. There was no air conditioning, or dishwashers, and no modern conveniences in general. Everything changed in 1975 when the dorm was rebuilt and the kitchen was also given an overhaul. Yet, while the employees of the Old dorm kitchen were retained, an additional ten employees were added and a more significant structure was implemented. There was an emphasis on quantity and everything seemed to have expanded. With new schedules, the women rarely saw one another.
Negative feelings emerged as this small dorm kitchen grew from feeding thirty to three hundred and the old workers were not satisfied with the quality of the food. Another concern had been in regard to one of the new employees who was hired for the morning shift. She was loud and disruptive and so obnoxious that two of the workers threatened to quit if she were to stay. The morning crew consisted primarily of the old workers and the new people were scheduled for the evening. It made sense because the old crew was used to early hours. However, that meant that the new crew was largely inexperienced in that facility.
Some of the new workers were inexperienced in the field as well. Also, the evening crew did not like the fact that they were made to clean up whereas the morning crew did not have such duties. There were also problems with the part-time student workers who mostly washed the dishes; although they were aware of the management problem, they basically did their jobs and tried to leave quickly. However, at some point in time, it had become apparent that things are not well in the Iris Hall Dormitory Kitchen. While things had gone smoothly for ears, change had created a situation where there is almost a merging of corporate cultures.
While this is not a merger, the fact that two crews surfaced–one with experienced workers at the facility and one with all new workers–created much tension. By not having time to work together, each shift does notice what the other shift had not completed and in some way, each crew is pitted against the other. It is easy to blame the other shift for work that had gone unfinished. Another problem is the simple fact that the change has taken a toll on a work community that was tightly knit. Expansion means change and progress is something that many workers who have been set in their ways, resist. It is understandable.
These workers enjoyed the quaint atmosphere and the flexibility of their jobs. They could cook, create menus, make decisions and trade places. With new management and two shifts, there were other concerns. Also, the addition of a disruptive worker in the morning is not conducive to creating the environment necessary for the cafeteria to do well. The situation requisites that some decisions be made. What needs to be done regarding the problem employee, the problem in respect to who reforms clean up tasks, the poor morale of the first shift and the fact that the second shift is not properly trained?
The newly hired cafeteria supervisor is responsible for making all of the decisions in respect to the named problems. The causes of the overall situation may be attributable to the fact that the facility had undergone expansion. This accounts for the poor morale. However, the fact that the second shift is not properly trained and that there is confusion in terms of who performs what task is related to the lack of proper organization. The supervisor needs to employ techniques in order to alleviate the problems that should be easily resolved.
Morale is a bit more difficult, particularly because the supervisor is new. Finally, the fact that one problem employee has arisen may have to do with the fact that she was put on a schedule with employees who have seniority. The fact that she is “bossy’ is perhaps a misconception as the original workers may expect her to act as if she is a subordinate. The reality is that she may have just as much a right to make suggestions and change the way in which something is done as any other cafeteria worker. Still, this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
One major factor that is behind much of the problems is the fact that there is little in the way of organization. The supervisor has not scheduled specific duties, or made an attempt to split up some of the cleaning tasks. Also, if more directives were provided, there would be less leeway in terms of how things are done and the problem employee may not stand out as much. Also, if the operation were more organized the second shift staff would have been properly trained. This factor has a significant impact on the situation and all take holders should be concerned.