The forklift fiasco case study | leadership | Amridge University


There are three forklift truck operators in the warehouse. Two of them are young employees who have both been warned twice (the second warning in writing) about careless operation of the trucks. Last week one of them (Jack) made a fast turn and spilled a shipment. The dropped cartons had to be opened and inspected and a number of damaged items sent back for repair.

The supervisor said it was inexcusable carelessness and gave him a three-day layoff. She warned all truck operators that any damage with trucks would be punished by layoff from here on.

Today Jill Harrison, the third truck operator, ran into a door frame overhead and spilled the entire load she was carrying. She had simply failed to lower the truck. She is a valued employee and has never had an accident or any disciplinary record in all her years on the job. She is a friend and neighbor of the supervisor, and they ride to work together. Everyone is watching to see what the supervisor is going to do.


1. If a supervisor makes a threat, is it necessary to carry it out?

2. Have you ever been punished for a mistake on the job? Was the action fair? Explain.

3. Discuss the issues and challenges of women leading men, especially in work settings traditionally dominated by men.

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