Do I Smell Weed? Making Sense of Employee Behavior at a Restaurant
Eric Nelson, Matthew VanSchenkhof, Chad Brown, Jessica Cox
January 1, 2017
Strategy & General Management
sensemaking, drug use, restaurant
Journal of Critical Incidents
This critical incident focuses on applying Karl Weick’s (1995) sensemaking theory to help students interpret perspectives in what occurs when a summer intern had to deal with an emerging situation in a restaurant. By applying Weick’s sensemaking theory, students learn how their experiences add value to developing potential solutions. Chad was a shift manager at Italiano’s, a local Italian restaurant in rural Missouri. He experienced a major test less than three weeks into being promoted. The scent of marijuana coming from a bathroom led him to realize that an employee was smoking marijuana while the restaurant was open. With little information at hand and limited experience, Chad had to determine a course of action that the restaurant’s owners, customers, and employees would all respect. Chad was left wondering how his response would construct his identity at Italiano’s and as a future leader in the restaurant industry.