Dilemma at Devil's Den

Topics: Management, Full-time, Morality Pages: 6 (1886 words) Published: September 7, 2011


In the case study of the Dilemma at Devil’s Den, we have a student snack bar Devil’s Den, which was managed by contract with an external company College Food Services (CFS) that had many organizational challenges that needed to be immediately addressed. An employee Susan realized these challenges. One of the main many problems was the theft that was going on for a long time. The employees were allowing their friends to take free food, and they themselves were also taking food in large quantities when leaving their shifts. The storage room could be easily accessible as it was unlocked all the time. Employees took advantage of this situation to take free freebies from the storage room. The problem here was that there seemed to be a severe divide between the CFS vision for Devils Den and what was happening in real. It clearly looked as if it was the management’s fault to convey the vision to its employees. For example, one of the policies of CFS management was that the employees could eat what they wanted during working hours at the snack bar free of charge, but wrong implementation lead to the frequent theft of eatables from the storage room. Another problem that Susan pointed out is that no one paid attention to the behavior of the night shift employees that made a nuisance for morning shift employees, as they had to do all the closings for the previous night. Adding to this the low wages and inconsistent work schedule lowered the morale of employees making the situation extremely toxic.


The objective is to find out what Susan can do regarding clearing her conscience of the theft occurring at Devils Den by colleagues. There is also an element of self interest involved in the case as Susan does not want to ruin her chances of being promoted to the position of a student manager in the near future by reporting the theft cases to management.


The case faces two unique problems, at one end it involves the conflict between self-interest and ethics of Susan and at the other end the mismanagement by the College Food Services (CFS).

Character sketch of Susan: Susan, a business student with concentration in finance at Mt. Eagle College was working at a part time job in a snack bar, the Devil’s Den. Susan was really bothered by the occurrences at Devil’s Den. She felt that the problem was big enough to have been tackled earlier thereby saving the losses incurred to CFS. According to her, CFS was paying a high price for the greediness of the unethical employees. Also she was concerned about the inappropriate code of conduct shown by the employees of the night shift.  Being a person of high ethical and moral values she wanted to take a stand against the petty thefts of her fellow employees. However what prevented her from doing so was the indifferent attitude of the management toward the employees involved in the theft.

Background of CFS: College Food Services (CFS) was an external company that managed the campus snack bar, Devil’s Den at Mt. Eagle College. They had a policy according to which the employees who were students were allowed to eat whatever they liked free of cost during working hours but this led to the employees taking freebies off duty as well. There were around 30 student employees and 6 student managers in the staff. The night shift employees mainly carried out the thefts. The CFS had appointed a full-time manager for the day shift where as student managers were appointed during the night. Low wages, easy access to the unlocked storage room, poorly controlled inventory and no written rules or strict guidelines by the CFS management were few of the several reasons leading to the problems. Again the student managers were previous employees chosen by other student managers and received no formal training or guidelines beyond what they had already learnt by working there. They received authority and responsibility but were never...
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