Christina's Midterm Project

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Posted on 12 Apr 2013 16:10

Evaluation of Adventureland Amusement Park Departments and Employee Profiling
Christina Moawad
4/12/13

Abstract

The research I conducted aimed to uncover the system of communication through the different departments of Adventureland Amusement Park. I used John Swales definition of a discourse, as Adventureland does fit all his criteria. I then describe my different methods of research and draw my findings from the research. I then discuss what the research meant to the communication of the departments, and conclude with a description of what I perceive to be a profile of each department employee. I find value in this project because I predict many of the trends related to employment in Adventureland will also be true with other employment discourse communities. In most workplaces there are going to be a hierarchy of employees and similar behaviors amongst employees. This will be useful to the class because we will all be part of employment discourse communities in the future.

Introduction

Discourse communities tend to seem fairly straightforward to an outsider until that outsider seeks membership. The reason for this is that these communities have regulations and criteria for successful operation. John Swales’ piece of writing offers six distinct dynamics of a discourse community, stating these measures as his definition. I find it effective because it does allow a board array of communities, while simultaneously does permeate invalid communities. I am choosing to use this definition of discourse, as I believe it is “clear cut” and fitting for my purpose in the Adventureland community. Swales’ definition does fit the Adventureland discourse. However, I would like to explore his second point of discourse community having mechanisms of intercommunication among its members, in depth and join it to the miniature discourse communities, which comprises the overall “Adventureland Discourse Community.”

I believe people choose to study discourse community in this method because it gives insight on what it takes to be a part of these communities. If one knows specific reasons of how a certain community functions together, they would know what they have to ultimately do to become an insider. It reveals a set of “un-written rules,” which sets a standard for a group, meant for outsiders seeking membership. My purpose in this study is to uncover this “un-written” set of rules that pertain to the departments of Adventureland. I will be analyzing the difference between these groups and what allows a prospective employee to fit into each specific department. The research I conducted focuses on the personal characteristics necessary for the intercommunication among the members, which are necessary in operation and how these characteristics are found in future employees.

Background Information

Adventureland Amusement park is located in Long Island, New York. The park has been in operation for 51 years and has been family owned and operated since 1962. The park is comprised of six different departments which all co-operate for the greater goal of financial gain and customer satisfaction. The departments include Food, Rides, Games, Ticketbooth, Giftshop and Management.

Methodology

I sent out a Survey Monkey URL, personally and via the Adventureland Facebook page, which was composed of 8 questions designed for various employees at Adventureland. Another form of research I did was on the different packets of orientation manuals given to employees on their orientation days. This document was originally what sparked my interests in the differences between the employees in each department. These writings helped me analyze further into this question. I used the Adventureland employee Facebook page to look deeper into written communication of the park. I enjoyed this part of my research especially because it was informal, raw writing, which gave me easy-to-pull-from data. This section mostly helped me with department-to-department communication. This website gave me a standard to compare internal park writings with, due to the fact that the website was made for outsiders. I concluded much of my data by comparing posts on the Facebook page with website information.

Results

My research from all five categories was not as beneficial as I thought it would be alone, as they were together. Each category seemed strong enough on its own, but when paired up with information gathered from other sources, it confirmed many of my ideas. My start to research began with the survey, which I originally thought would be the strongest source of information, to which I was surprised, was not. The answers to my questions did not come back to be advantageous. The greatest strength received from this survey was being able to compare how employees in the different departments answered each question. I found that employees from the same department answered the questions exactly the same. The strongest response came from the question, “On a scale from one to ten, how important do you think your job is to the operation of the park?” and all ride operators answered with an eight, explaining that they park simply would not function without them.

The orientation manual documents divides into different sections based on each specialized task preformed by each employee. This helps the group members, being employees in this case, by giving them instruction and knowledge to carry out their jobs and tasks. Some results I concluded from this were that the ride operator manuals were much longer and more extensive then the others. This led me to conclude that management is more selective in their hiring of these employees. Also, in each manual, each department emphasizes their own rules. This underlined that each department is specialized and unique, which is important and known through out the other employees.

The information I extrapolated from the Facebook page was more personalized and telling. I believe this is where my most successful results were concluded. The most important thing I noticed from this page was the difference between new and old employees, and their interaction on the page. I was able to pick out exactly which posts were from new employees as they were written with ambivalence and uncertainty. Also, from the Facebook page, I noticed that ride operators are scheduled for work 15 minutes before all other departments, the Ticketbooth department has their own ways of communicating through their own separate Facebook page and that the page contains much more action from new employees.

The website mainly helped me draw results to define where the insider-outsider line was drawn. The site seemed to have everything an outsider needs to know about taking a trip to Adventureland. I also concluded that new employees could uses this website as a learning tool to familiarize themselves with park regulations and information. An important aspect was that most of the park lexis is contained on the website for all to see.

Discussion

The central and most prevalent theme of my research was that the co-functionality of the departments are due to the fact that each department contains strengths and weaknesses that best suit their intended jobs. This is achieved mainly because management is making sure each employee in their department is additive to communication and can easily adapt. In this manor, it is clear that these supervisors have the greatest authority is park regulation. Their use of correct communication is pivotal in the Adventureland discourse community especially since they departments function separately. It is their job to ensure that they “sow” all the departments together. One important way of facilitated this gathering is by the employees that they hire. The characteristics of employees are essential in placing an employee in the best-fit department. I found this subject not only in my personal experience, but my research in all categories has also supported this, as for example, in my survey, employees from the same department answered the questions almost identically and the orientation manuals, the difference in job description is stressed.

If the departments were not operating in different manors, the park would not thrive as it does now. Each group contributes something unique and important to the community, and this variability is important for the intercommunications. In the games department, employees are most similar to each other than any other group in the park. They all are energetic and enthusiastic about their jobs, as that is what this job requires. Many of them would say they would do their job without pay and that they simply love doing it. This is definitely one department not for everyone. Ride operator employees seem to be most important to the customers of Adventureland, and so in the hiring process they look for employees with great people skills, which most of them have. These employees are most responsible and take their job most seriously, as their rules are much more stringent. Ticketbooth employees in this department tend to stick to themselves. Many employees at the park don’t interact with these workers because their job entails different things that outside workers. These workers are very experienced and detailed as they deal with people and money at the same time! Workers at the food stands, tend to notice, are the most laid back. Although this is not an easy job, for many it is fun! Most love working in this area. They work with their friends and have the least rigid rules because they are allowed, or rather have to, talk on the job. Giftshop workers are a mix of what it takes to be a games employee and a Ticketbooth employee. They are “people persons” and must be comfortable with sales. Along with games, these employees are the youngest bunch in the park.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Further recommendations for the analysis of Adventureland would include a look a Swales’ first point about a shared public goal. Future investigation can be done on what factors make this goal possible and what are the most important things necessary for the goal. A great question to answer would be, “What makes a group like this successful?” This type of question is useful because any business would find it beneficial to find out what is working in their community and what is not, and also why things are successful.

Swales, John. "The Concept of Discourse Community." Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990.(21-32). Print.

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