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In-tray Exercise

Instructions for the Participant

Samson’s Discount Stores (Pty) Ltd is a chain of Convenient Stores, selling various consumables and household products, etc, based in Limpopo.

Samson’s Discount Stores initiated a development initiative which is designed to prepare potential supervisors for supervisory positions within the store. As part of this program young supervisors are required to stand-in for local store supervisors should the need arise. This is now a well established procedure within the chain.

For the next 1 hour you are to assume the role of Fritz Mashaba, one of the new upcoming supervisors, who is in their first year of employment with the company. You have had some supervisory exposure, having been seconded to a number of stores in the past, but this is the first time you have been to the Bela-Bela store. 

It is now 7:30am, Monday morning, 10 February. You have just arrived in the office of the existing Bela-Bela Store Supervisor, Lesley Mogoro, who is away overseas and will not be back at work for at least two months. Lesley left on Thursday, 6 February.

You have come in this morning to work through Lesley’s in-tray as you need to be at your Local Council at 9:30 for a very urgent two-day workshop that came up unexpectedly to discuss new legislation that affects all stores. You have to attend this workshop personally and won’t be back until Wednesday, 12 February, if nothing else happens. The rest
of the staff usually arrives by 8:00 am in order to ‘open-up’ at 8:30am. As traffic can be quite hectic on a Monday morning it is suggested that you leave as early as possible (not later than 8:30) to ensure that you get to the workshop on time.

As you are new to this organisation you don’t have access to any computers, fax machine, telephone or telephone numbers and will therefore not be able to contact any person. You also don’t know any of the people. You are also not contactable while away on the workshop. You want to do well to make a good impression on your Regional manager and others in you store.

Although this exercise is fictitious, it nevertheless represents tasks every supervisor has to face on a daily basis.

The material in your In-Basket is as left by Lesley Mogoro.

    • Write actions to be taken on each relevant item. Remember: As this is a real situation, you
      need to see yourself sitting in that particular office/position putting action to the various items – just like any effective manager would do – don’t just describe what you would do – you have to respond to the items by informing people what you want them to do.
    • You can therefore give instructions, request information, make decisions, arrange meetings, delegate assignments, write letters your self, etc. as appropriate.
    • You should leave your In-Basket as you would expect Sarah the secretary to find it when she arrives later today. You are likely to be fully occupied for the next hour or so with no time to clarify your
      instructions before you leave – therefore you should ensure they are all clear, self explanatory and easy to understand by whomever the reader is
    • You should work privately and quietly on your own.


You only have 60 minutes in which to complete the exercise. If after 60 minutes you haven’t submitted your work, the page will be redirected and you will loose all the work you had done.

Now you are ready to start. Complete the registration form below and click on submit. You will then be redirected to the page containing the exercises. Good luck.



iThemba is an accredited
Provider of Education and Training
with the Services Seta # 0659

All course fees includes:

  • NQF Aligned Courses
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Light Lunch and Refreshments
  • 15% Tax

Contact info

For further information and reservations please contact Sarah Swanepoel at:
Telephone: 012 998 0809
E-Mail: artsiecrafts3@gmail.com