Case Study 1 – Barry and Communication Barriers
Effective Communication as a Motivator
One common complaint employees voice about supervisors is inconsistent messages – meaning one
supervisor tells them one thing and another tells them something different. Imagine you are the
supervisor/manager for each of the employees described below. As you read their case, give
consideration to how you might help communicate with the employee to remedy the conflict. Answer
the critical thinking questions at the end of the case then compare your answers to the Notes to
Supplement Answers section.
Barry is a 27-year old who is a foodservice manager at a casual dining restaurant. Barry is ...view middle of the document...
haven’t been going well at home and he was lucky to rummage through some of the dirty laundry and
find a relatively clean outfit to wear for work. He admits he needs a haircut and a good hand scrubbing,
especially after working on his car last evening. When he walks into the kitchen he notices several trays
of uncooked meat sitting out in the kitchen area. It appears these have been sitting at room
temperature for quite some time. Barry is frustrated and doesn’t know what to do. He feels like he is
beating his head against a brick wall when it comes to getting employees to practice food safety.
Barry has taken many efforts to get employees to be safe in how they handle food. He has huge signs
posted all over the kitchen with these words: KEEP HOT FOOD HOT AND COLD FOOD COLD and WASH
YOUR HANDS ALWAYS AND OFTEN. All employees are given a thermometer when they start so that
they can temp food. Hand sinks, soap, and paper towels are available for employees so that they are
encouraged to wash their hands frequently.
Communication Case Study #1P.docx
1. What are the communication challenges and barriers Barry faces?
2. What solutions might Barry consider in addressing each of these challenges and barriers?
3. What Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) would be helpful for Barry to implement and
4. What are some ways Barry might use effective communication as a motivator for employees to
follow safe food handling practices?
Communication Case Study #1P.docx
Notes to Supplement Answers:
1. Communication challenges abound at any workplace. Barry has some common challenges in his
a. Language barriers: not all employees speak English as their first language making verbal
communication a challenge at times.
b. Generational (age) barriers: having employees in various age categories can pose a
unique set of challenges. While the younger generation is used to texting and using
shortened messaging, their vocabulary may not be consistent with that of older
employees. Work values and attitudes may also affect communication between
younger and older employees.
c. Cultural and ethnic barriers: Cultural differences in food safety practices may be a
challenge for Barry to overcome.
d. Non verbal challenges: Barry’s body language (appearance) is telling others he does not
care about personal appearance and cleanliness.
e. Emotional barriers: Emotional barriers can interfere with effective communication.
Barry comes into work after a rough start at home. These negative emotions are
affecting how he communicates with the employees.
2. Barry might consider the following solutions to the identified challenges and barriers:
a. Language barriers: Several potential solutions might be addressed here including
posting signs in employees’ primary language. Putting signage with visuals, not just
words. Barry might learn some simple words in the employees’ primary language to