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Adriana Sandoval
RWS 3365
University of Texas at El Paso

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Work Unites
Introduction
The following research was conducted in order to analyze an activity system. An activity
system is a system that brings people together to build a relationship and carry out a
specific task. I decided to analyze and study the First Convenience Bank as my activity
system due to the fact that I am employed there. First Convenience Bank is made up of
11 employees all together. One branch manager, three assistant managers, and the rest are
personal bankers/tellers. At the branch in which I work at there are eight full-time
employees and only three part-time employees that also attend school aside from
working. These banks are located inside almost every Wal-Mart.
Methods
Interviews
I decided to conduct interviews because I felt the need for my interviewees to give me
their own input on how they feel about certain matters. Not only do the interviewees get a
chance to talk and give their opinion but also for the most part they feel comfortable
while talking with another person instead of answering questions on a piece of paper. It
gives that extra comfort and insight due to the fact that you are able to look at body
language and also at the way the actually react to the question being asked at that
moment. For the most part I asked open-ended questions that each interviewee could
interpret in their own way. I chose to interview the branch manager, Jessica Parra, and a
personal teller, Brianna Garcia because they hold different power in the work force,
which gives me a variety of viewpoints to work with. Both interviews took about 40 to 50
minutes each; however, they were conducted at different places. Jessicas interview took
place in her office, where on the other hand Briannas interview was at Starbucks.
Document Analyses
Analyzing documents at the branch was helpful because it gives you an idea of the values
and responsibilities the employees have according to their position at the bank. One of
the documents that were analyzed included the principals and values that are expected
once you become part of their team. That document was useful in order to understand the
type of relationships that are built amongst the coworkers. The document was a poster,
which is located at the branch as well as in their Intranet, reading, PRIDE which stands
for passion, revenue, integrity, diversity, and empowerment. I thought this document
contained a heavy amount of significance regarding the work environment at the bank
because it gives perspective of the type of work ethic the employees are used to giving.
The second document I analyzed was a report sheet used to balance all the services
offered to customers, such as money orders and their fees, utility bills, Western Union,
cash advance, and coin machine. The report sheet is filled at 5 oclock pm and at the end
of each day. There are exceptions for example, Sundays because on that day the bank
closes at 4 oclock pm. The reports may be done by any employee who is a personal
banker 2 or above. Lastly, the third document I decided to take a look at was proof. It is
not necessarily one document alone, it is actually all the transactions such as the deposits,

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withdrawals, and cashed checks that the tellers have conducted throughout the day. They
gather all those deposits, etc. and they scan them to the proof department in order for the
transactions to be made permanently. Only a personal banker 3 or above may send proof.
The reason why I chose the last two documents was because it reflects on the huge
responsibility that employees at banks have when it comes to being aware of not being
over or short on their own drawers or the reports. Also, regarding proof, it needs to be
done correctly because if not the transaction will not be permanent and it would be as the
customer never conducted that certain transaction.
Observations
While conducting observations you get to actually study the employees. Many times they
have a certain ritual or way of working that they are not even aware of, but can be
brought to light when observing carefully. Not only is it an individual work, but also as a
team. They might have a specific way of communicating within the branch. Observations
are useful because it is not someones words or thoughts; it is actually a visual that you
can portray with your own eyes and define its meaning behind the action or method that
individual decides to take. I was able to do three different observations on different times
of different days. The reason to why I decided to conduct the observations at diverse
times was because depending on the time and on the day out of the week; the bank is
busier at certain times as well as on specific days. All three observations were done at the
same branch, however, my physical location varied from the employees side of the
counters, the costumers view, and the managers office. At least five employees were
always working when I conducted my observations; for the most part it was four personal
bankers/tellers, one assistant manager, and the branch manager in her office.
Results
Through the conduction of interviews, I established some sort of relationship with each
interviewee, which allowed me to assist and analyze them in a more intimate and
effective way. The interviews were a success due to the fact that the interviewees had the
chance to express themselves and not hold back form their opinions in fear that one might
get their feelings hurt. It genuinely set a sense of honestly in their words and thoughts.
The analyzed documents allowed me to get a closer look at the responsibilities and values
each employee must follow and hold up in order to grow and excel in their positions.
Also, when taking a look at the reports and documents that had to be done it puts into
perspective the kind of skills needed for the job. The last method that I used was
observations, which I believe gave the most feedback on how the entire activity system
works. Observing the employees without them paying attention to the fact that I was
there allowed me to really get a feel of the work environment they have set up for
themselves. I thought this method showed the most due to the fact that the employees
were not asked to do anything nor to answer any questions. In this stage, it was all based
on how they act around each other, how they approach costumers, how well they handle a
problem, and how they go about pressure, etc. It helped me analyze their characters, their
ideas, and their ways of communicating throughout the branch.

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Discussion
Many people see bank organizations as a strict and boring work environment due to the
fact that it involves dealing with large amounts of money and one must be careful as to
how it is handled. However, at this specific bank, Fist Convenience, it is the opposite of
what banks are usually referred to as. It has a fun and co friendly environment because
most of its employees range from the ages of 20 to 30 for the most part. Ages have a lot
to do with how the work environment is set because generations have a variety of ways to
do their work which is affected by the people who surround it. The relationships these
individuals have with their superiors and co-workers definitely influence the mood that is
set at the work place. A thing that also helps define the set up of the work environment
but is often forgotten or looked as not relevant is culture and race. Often, depending on
their race is how they were brought up with certain traditions, manners, ways of thinking,
etc. When a variety of people come together to get a task done as a group one must watch
for behaviors that each one has brought with them into the work force. It is important to
take note of what seems irrelevant aside from the skills needed in order to perforce a
certain job, however, every tradition, habit, pet peeve, etc. is essential to analyze and
figure out everything that affects the contribution as a team.
Conclusion
As I conducted my research on this activity system I came to find out that the
relationships between employees, whether itd be co-worker-to-co-worker, boss-to-boss,
or boss to co-worker is extremely important to the kind of environment that will be set for
the work place. In order for an activity system to be successful there must be a good
connection between the people who are conducting the same task because a variety of
cultures and ideas are coming together to develop, serve, or build. Many times the result
of different people coming together builds up tension and problems as well, however,
communication is key. A work place can be both, fun and serious. The First Convenience
Bank has a fun and friendly environment due to the fact that the employees are younger
than 30. This research helped me understand the different viewpoints coming from the
variety of positions in the branch mainly through the interviews. Also, the documents that
were analyzed put into perspective the skills that the employees must learn and have in
order to be successful with the company. The whole project was an eye-opener because it
made me look at certain things that I would never give attention or think that they were
important such as the different cultures each employee grew up in. I always though it was
just part of their background and wouldnt affect the work place, however, it does affect
the work environment. I learned so much about communication and skills while
conducting and gathering all my data for this project.

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Appendices
Jessica Parras Interview
When hiring someone, what qualities do you look for?
Outgoing and confident
What is the most challenging about the job?
Working with all types of personalities
When people have a problem, whom do they generally go to?
Assistant managers before the manager
Describe what work meetings are like.
A lot of information regarding new policies, problems that have been lingering
around, or recognitions
Who generally speaks at meetings?
The regional district manager, then managers, and employees get a chance to
voice their opinions as well
If you could change anything about the workplace, what would it be?
Nothing, happy where she is at and who she works with
Are there any traditions that you follow?
Christmas dinner, every year
What do you like most about working for the company?
The growth opportunities it offers
What are some ways to deal with the pressure of the busiest work hours?
Take a breath and also a five minute break
How do you think employee-to-employee relations affect the workplace?
It affects everything, how they work with each other and customer service
How do you deal with interpersonal conflict between employees?
Have the employees speak to each other to solve issues
At what point do you turn to your superiors to handle a matter with a customer?
When customer requests to speak to someone in a higher position
What are some ways to move up in the company?
Exceed the companys expectations

What are some of the same goals you think everyone here shares?
Mostly everyone wants to grow with the company or move to the next level

Briannas Interview
When hiring someone, what qualities do you look for?
Proficient and accountable, willing to learn
What is the most challenging about the job?
Opening checking account to meet a monthly goal can get tedious
When people have a problem, whom do they generally go to?
I usually attempt to solve the problem myself first, if not I ask another employee
or my supervisor for assistance
Describe what work meetings are like.
Work meetings usually involve new promotions and recognize employees for the
hard work they have performed during the month
Who generally speaks at meetings?
The manager usually speaks at work meetings but she also likes to hear what her
employees have to say
If you could change anything about the workplace, what would it be?
Making sure each employee is recognized for their hard work and find ways to
motivate my team to reach their sales quotas
Are there any traditions that you follow?
The company hosts a Christmas party during the holiday season where all the
employees from the city gather to mingle
What do you like most about working for the company?
The coworkers are great to work with
What are some ways to deal with the pressure of the busiest work hours?
Being organized is the best way to deal with pressure especially during the busiest
times of the month
How do you think employee-to-employee relations affect the workplace?
It can make situations complicated if there were any relations within the
workplace

How do you deal with interpersonal conflict between employees?


We fix the problems immediately because then it will create tension if there is
conflict arising
What are some ways that teams are motivated?
We usually get motivated with promotions
At what point do you turn to your superiors to handle a matter with a customer?
When I am not able to handle the problem myself
What are some ways to move up in the company?
Sales and great customer service
What are some of the same goals you think everyone here shares?
Opening as many checking accounts as possible