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Who Moved My Cheese

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Henry Sampa

Management Theory and Practice GSB 550

Assignment 2 due date:  13th April 2016

Change can be enormously upsetting and scary event, disturbing the comfort of the status quo. Departing from the known down the path of the new often requires the mindset to dispel the negative thoughts that come to mind and instead embark upon the path of discovery and adventure with an open mind and positive outlook. To act as a guide to the unknown, Spencer Johnson wrote a lighthearted parable entitled Who Moved My Cheese as a way for readers to step back and analyze the effects of change on their life from an outside perspective. According to Johnson, change can be incredibly displeasing for those who are not prepared to adjust to it. Although Johnson does not directly refer to it, it can be said that he encourages people to dispel the negative thoughts that come to mind and instead embark upon the path of discovery and adventure with an open mind and positive outlook from the onset, quite similarly to the way the mice did in the book.

The story starts with a gathering of a group of friends who wanted to catch-up after their high school reunion. One of them set out to share a tale of two mice, called Sniff and Scurry and two miniature humans, called Hem and Haw, who all together lived in a maze. In the story the mice and miniature humans had one thing in common, every morning they all wore their sneakers and clothes, left their homes and rushed into the maze to find something they both cherished, cheese. They loved and lived for cheese.  

The two groups(the mice and the humans) had different ways or methods to finding their “Cheese” .One day, they both all found what they had been looking for,a cheese-filled corridor in "Cheese Station C". Two little people were over the moon about this and even went as far as to declare that they would never have to look for cheese again. The miniature humans grew accustomed to the constant source of cheese and disregarded any thoughts of finding new cheese. The mice, however, always ensured that every morning they returned to “Station C” they inspected the pile of cheese before eating some of it and the mice never stopped exploring their surroundings. Meanwhile, the pile of cheese was slowly dwindling until one day all the cheese was exhausted and the four of them were left with nothing. Sniff and Scurry arrived to find no more cheese left but they were not surprised, the cheese supply dwindling, they had mentally prepared. Leaving Cheese Station C behind, they got their sneakers on and started off their search for new cheese side by side. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrived at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demanded, "who moved my cheese?". Unprepared, the humans could not cope with the sudden life-altering change. Still in denial, the humans kept returning to cheese “Station C’’ hoping that the person who moved their cheese would have returned it. Haw eventually was able to overcome his fears and follow Sniff and Scurry’s lead of wandering off into the maze in search of new cheese, while Hem remains behind, laboring under the delusion that somehow, someway, his cheese will someday be replaced. Haw was first frightened by the change in affairs that had led him to wander the hallowed halls of the maze in search of new cheese. He eventually realized, however, that he was enjoying the change of pace and that the hunt really wasn’t so bad. Eventually Haw catches up with Sniff and Scurry and the new piece of cheese they had discovered.

The moral of the story is that each of us will experience change at some point in our lives, and we will all deal with it in different ways. Indeed, “cheese’’ represents what we are long for in our lives. For most people, it could be a job, a relationship, money, fame, health and family. The “maze’’ means where we spend our time and sweat our blood to chase our goals. It can be the organization we are working for, or the communities we are living in. Some of us will never let ourselves become satisfied with the status quo and instead will constantly be on the lookout for change in our environment so that we will have advanced warning of the environmental change. Through the story, we also see that others will allow themselves to become blinded to the world around them while they focus on the safety of the familiar and comfortable. They will not notice the depletion of the source of their comfort until it is all gone and nothing remains. Some people move on, driven by necessity, in search of something new, while others remain behind in the fruitless hope that their comfort will somehow be restored; that someone will return their “cheese”. Those that move on quickly have are better positioned to find new opportunities (“cheese”) and a source of new comfort whilst those that refuse to accept change will be doomed to failure.



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