Journal of Critical Incidents

JCI's focus is on brief incidents that tell about real situation in a real organization. The incident tells a story about an event, an experience, a blunder, or a success.

Articles from Vol. 8, Annual

A Community Unraveled: Police Shooting in Ferguson, MO
Introduction Had the police department done enough to address community concerns regarding perceptions of racial discrimination and police abuse? Race relations and discord in Ferguson, MO had been tense for a number of years (Strassmann, 2014)....
After Hours
Introduction Had she really made a mistake? Lauren had contemplated her decision-making process regarding the past incident while she nervously sat in the office waiting to meet with Matthew, her General Manager. Lauren had come to realize that...
A Hijab: Not Quite "The Look"
Introduction After informing Samantha that she did not get the job, Heather Cooke, an assistant manager at Abercrombie & Fitch, wondered if she should have asked if Samantha was Muslim. Did she need religious accommodation? But Samantha hadn't...
An Inventory Letter from Carter's to Kohl's-What Could Go Wrong?
Introduction Mr. Johnson had a highly valued business relationship with Mr. Elles. Johnson was the executive manager of Kohl's Corporation's profitable Children's Division, while Elles served as Carter's, Inc,. executive vice-president of sales....
August First Bakery & Cafe Pulls the Plug on Laptop and iPad Use
Introduction "If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful."--Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com (Bezos, 2004) Jodi Whalen had had enough. During a lunchtime rush, her restaurant's electronic...
Cannonball!
Introduction Late one night Laura received a call from the president of a homeowners' association regarding one of the community swimming pools she supervised. "Laura! We need you to get here immediately! I found two of your guards using the pool...
Deployment or Demotion
Introduction On the flight back to his home station, Army captain (CPT) Jack Thompson pondered his choices. He had to decide soon because his combat support company was about to deploy to Afghanistan. During a rotation at the National Training Center...
Finding the Perfect Strategic Partner for an FDA Approved Drug
Introduction MannKind Corporation, stock symbol MNKD, burned $10 million in cash monthly to develop new insulin that could spare millions of people from the seventh largest cause of death but external funds were needed to avoid company demise (Markey,...
Half-Baked
Introduction "This can't be happening," Gerry spoke out loud as if someone else were still standing in the kitchen. Gerry couldn't believe his ears. One of the other chef instructors had just told him the new baking chef, Diane Harvey, had been...
Heritage Health Resources
Introduction Ann Igbo's dream was turning into a nightmare: Heritage Health Resources was strapped for cash, and things would get worse if she did not act. Her company had plenty of work, but its costs were increasing and it relied on payments from...
Inventory Management at the Theme Park
Introduction "What the ...? How can I make sure catering has the right products in the right amounts to make sure we satisfy our customers? Why can't the warehouse get my order right?" Erin, a catering supervisor for a Midwest theme park had just...
Just What Constitutes Protected Concerted Activity in Social Media Use by Personnel?
Should Disgruntled Employees Resort to Social Media? Employees discussed work related problems on Facebook, with the more pointed comments paraphrased below: It's pretty obvious that my supervisor is as immature as a person can be and she proved...
Leonidas Mining on the Edge
Introduction "Chewed out?! Sent home without pay?!" exclaimed Lito de Guzman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leonidas Mining Philippines Joint Venture. Using his iPhone, he called his son, Ron de Guzman, the Director of Operations...
Lululemon Athletica and a Series of Bad Marketing Decisions
Introduction Chip Wilson was so inspired by his yoga classes that he decided to experiment with different fabrics to come up with the ultimate yoga wear. When taking yoga classes, he noticed that cotton clothing that was typically worn did not perform...
Old Dog, New Tricks: Staying Relevant in the Digital Era
Introduction Anders Dahlberg, Underwriting Director at WMUK--the local National Public Radio affiliate and classical music station located on the campus of Western Michigan University (WMU)--sighed heavily as he read yet another article about the...
OMG! He Said What? (A&E's Duck Dynasty Situation)
The Interview Phil Robertson, patriarch on A&E's Duck Dynasty reality show, did an interview with GQ magazine in 2013. Sitting in his house, Phil begins the interview with: Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong," [Phil] ...
Profit and Inventory under IFRS and GAAP
Introduction The hot sun was setting on the street as Sabrina took down her sign which had advertised her ice cream bar sale in the neighborhood. While most of her friends sold lemonade to make a little money during the summer months, Sabrina decided...
Refuge: A Place of Safety or Danger
Introduction Ed Post had just been nominated to the Board of Deacons for Messiah Church. The annual business meeting was only one week away at which time he would be officially voted on to the board. A major responsibility for a board member was...
Sam Cooper: To Stay with the Family Firm or Not!
Introduction Card denied! The message appeared on the screen like a recurring bad dream. I had 10 lawns to finish fertilizing that day before I went to my other part-time job and there I sat with a company credit card that was denied payment for...
Save the Whales? A Public Relations Crisis at Lego
Introduction Lego Group President and CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp was surprised when Greenpeace activists, in an attempt to stop Arctic drilling, mounted a campaign criticizing his popular toy company for its cobranding relationship with Shell Oil....
Say It Isn't So Lady "O": A Sex Scandal at the Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls
Introduction "I am a mama bear when it comes to protecting my children" (Gaskell, 2007). These were the words of the billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey following the tragic announcement that allegations of sexual abuse were made against the school...
Seeing the Light or Tilting at Windmills? the Case of Richards-Townshend
Introduction Merle Richards took another long sip of black coffee and continued rubbing his brow. Merle and his old friend Jim Townshend had started the firm over 20 years ago with a pledge to treat the business like a growing family and to have...
Service Unbounded: A Contract Management Dilemma
Introduction Nathan O'Rourke's first thought after hanging up the phone was, "Can I get fired for this?" As a representative for the government, he was supposed to make sure the agency's new laboratory administration contract was performed without...
The ALS Bucket Challenge: The Good, the Bad, and the Money
Introduction "C'mon, c'mon...." Josh muttered anxiously as he checked his social media, "maybe someone challenged me today." Josh Bryant was a typical teen who was constantly on social media and had been waiting impatiently for someone to issue...
The GoldieBlox Video: Copyright Infringement or Fair Use?
Introduction GoldieBlox posted a video to its website that depicted young girls creating an elaborate and entertaining Rube Goldberg device. The only audio in the video was music, a performance of the Beastie Boys song "Girls" with the original...
The Language Barrier
Introduction The customer quickly ran off with her package in hand as Heather watched her go. "Did that customer really just say that to me? I can't believe she would say such thing!" Stinging from the insult hurled at her, Heather McCook, a Service...
The Missed Deadline: Whose Problem Is It?
Introduction David had always thought of himself as an effective problem-solver but now he realized he was faced with a situation that needed resolving on a number of levels. "What am I going to do now?" David thought out loud. In the short term,...
The Race to the South Pole: Lessons in Problem Solving, Planning, and Teamwork
Introduction Antarctica lies at the bottom of the world encircled by the Southern Ocean and isolated from the shores of South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration occurred during the first decades...
Urban Outfitters Bloody Mess
Introduction "Urban Outfitters are you serious w/that Kent State sweatshirt? It is appalling to think that someone at your company thought that was cool" (Broder Van Dyke, 2014). Messages such as this tweet (see above) from Monica C Birakos (@monicabirakos)...
Whose Back Do I Scratch?
Introduction Danielle O'Reilly was frustrated. She paid for a massage several weeks ago and was really looking forward to it. However, she had just learned that she was not going to get her massage and there was nothing she could do about it. Danielle...
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