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Submitted By dsk001
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My Time at The Giant Center: Day of Observation

Prepared for
Professor Treva Clark
Organizational Communications

Prepared by
Dylan Kapp

March 22, 2013

Memorandum

To: Professor Treva Clark

From: Dylan Kapp

Date: March 22, 2013

Subject: Day of Observation Paper

Dear Professor Clark,

The attached report is my Day of Observation paper. Throughout this paper I am going to discuss some of the communication events that I encountered in my time with Amy Rhine from The Giant Center. The Giant Center is a multi-purpose arena operated by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company. The Giant Center is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The day of my observation was on Sunday, March 3, 2013. My observation took place over a weekend; therefore, I did not need to get permission to be excused from classes to complete this assignment.

I lived in Annville, Pennsylvania my whole life, which is just a few miles away from Hershey. I was already familiar with the Giant Center before we were assigned this project. Alex Sweeney, a former student in the Organizational Communications class, made me aware of this opportunity. This is the source of where I got the necessary contact information to get in contact with Amy Rhine. I contacted her via email and she replied with a date that would be suitable for the both of us.

Within the report you will find three different communication events that I was able to observe. I will present them using the Harvard Case Study Method. These events will be introduced by an overall background of the company including some of the other employees met during this experience. In order for you to follow along more easily, I have included a table of contents and an executive summary.

I hope that you enjoy this report on the communication events that took place with Ms. Rhine and her fellow co-workers. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at dsk001@lvc.edu.

Sincerely,

Dylan Kapp

Dylan Kapp
Attachment: Day of Observation Report
Table of Contents

Executive Summary………………………………………....…………...………………….…p. iv

Introduction…………………………………………….…………………………………….p. 1-2

The Giant Center………………………………………………………………………..p. 1 The Office Environment……………………………………………………….……...p.1-2

Purpose of Day of Observation………………………………………………………....p. 2

Communication Events………………………………………………………..………...……p. 2-6

Game Day Procedures………………………………………………………………..p. 2-3

Ordering More Sticks……………………………………………………………...…p. 4-5

Race Night…………………………………………………………………..………..p. 5-6

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………..….…p. 6

Recommendations…………………………………………………………………………....p. 6-7

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………p. 8

Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………...p. 9

Appendix A: Thank You Letter………………………………………………………...p. 9

Executive Summary

This report outlines the communication process of the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Giant Center is a part of the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company. It is a multi-purpose arena that hosts several events including ice hockey, basketball, concerts, and even circuses. To start off my report I am going to introduce the company by stating who they are and what they do. Throughout the report I will describe three communication events that took place and these events will help demonstrate effective communication methods. Lastly, I will sum the report up by explaining my thoughts about this Day of Observation and what I gained from the experience along with some recommendations for this project in the future.

I was able to witness all three of these communication events and be the primary researcher during the observation. During the events I had the opportunity to take detailed notes. My notes were primarily used to refresh my mind on these specific events in order to write this paper. These events range from going through daily tasks, ordering more supplies, and setting up future events. The three events are all different as well. One of the events is between Amy and I, another is between Amy and a co-worker, and the last one is between Amy and a customer. Each of the events are going to be described, analyzed, and evaluated using the Harvard Case Study Method. Throughout the day I gained much knowledge on dealing with communication in a workplace.

My final recommendations are towards the efficiency and effectiveness of this project and they are as follows:

* Spread the work load out * Encourage (but do not require) two days of observation in order to observe more communication events and pick ones that you felt were most important

I have come to the conclusion that the Giant Center employees communicate effectively. I also came to the conclusion that there are a few flaws in the assignment that can easily be fixed. Furthermore, I will conclude my paper with the experience and knowledge that I gained from my Day of Observation.

Introduction:

The Giant Center

The Giant Center is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania and is a multi-purpose arena that draws crowds from all over the world. It was opened in October of 2002 and now displays many of the events that used to be held in the old Hersheypark Arena. One of the main attractions at the Giant Center is the Hershey Bears who are a professional hockey team in the American Hockey League. Other than the Bears the Giant Center also plays host to many popular events including the Harlem Globetrotters, WWE, High-School PIAA Playoffs, and many other events that can perform in an arena. Milton S. Hershey founded Hershey Entertainment, which encompasses the Giant Center.

There are many employees that work for Hershey Entertainment but the one that I chose to shadow was Amy Rhine. Amy graduated college with a degree in sports management and has worked many events in her past. She grew up in New Jersey and worked at many events at the New York Giants stadium before she was offered a full time position with the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company. She was also offered a position to volunteer at the super bowl next year and be a part of that. One thing that Amy told me is whatever I do don’t get a degree in sports management because it is very difficult to find a job. Her advice was to get a business degree and then take classes on specialized areas of that trade.

The Office Environment

In order to discuss the effectiveness of communication at the Giant Center it is important to discuss how they communicated in their offices. When I observed the employees who were working, they seemed very relaxed and it appeared to be a place where almost anyone would be able to fit in. Once everyone had their work done they would gather in an office and talk about upcoming events, prepare what they needed in order to complete their next task during the game, and, when they didn’t have a whole lot of work to do, they would watch the Bears game. When we walked around the office everyone was on a “first name basis” and nobody acted like they were higher up than someone else. According to Gordon’s leadership article it is important that leaders and group members have the same amount of rights and input in a company. If everyone has the same rights people will participate more and the company will be more successful because the group members and the leader are both satisfied (Gordon, T. 2011). In an article published in 2003 Gordon also conducted research that stated, “increasing participation competencies has resulted in improved financial results” (Gordon, 2003). This defines the Giant Center employees really well because everyone participated.

All of the offices were laid out in a large room. Most of the offices had one person per room, but Amy shared her office with another person. All of the offices were connected by a hallway, which made communicating with fellow employees fairly easy. Since there were a lot of people working within the office I think the way it was set up was the most efficient for this company. One thing that was different about Amy’s office though that other people did not have to worry about is noise. Her office was right beside the door to exit out to the main concourse so whenever people entered or exited the office hallway a distraction occurred. Some of these disruptions could include looking up to see who it is every time the door opens, the noise that is made when the door opens, and even noise from people who are having a discussion while walking down the hallway.

Purpose of the Day of Observation

When we were assigned the day of observation assignment my first thoughts were “this is going to be a lot of work” and “where do I even start.” I knew the overall goal of the project was to shadow an employee of some company and use the Harvard Case Study Method to describe, analyze, and evaluate their communication techniques to see how people communicate effectively. Many college students have trouble with communicating when they go to apply for jobs after school because it is something that they do not get much training with, which is another reason this assignment was to be completed. After I thought about this I realized that I did not want to go see what Mrs. Rhine does on a day-to-day basis, but how to communicate well and with proper business etiquette. Mrs. Rhine’s main goal is to make the audience and the customers happy by having interactive activities that occur between every whistle and commercial break. She showed me three ways in which she makes the customers happy and I am going to describe the events that I observed. Every event that I observed was positive, although I am sure Amy has to convey some negative messages at times as well. Through this process I have learned something from each of these events.

Communication Events

Communication Event #1: Game Day Procedures

Describe:

Before every game an agenda needs to be prepared describing all of the events that are going to take place before, during, and after the game. It is the marketing departments’ goal to keep the customers content when the game is not going on including before the game and during stoppages. The department needs to plan their agendas for two extremes. During a period there could be a lot of stoppages or very few stoppages. If there are a lot of stoppages we need to make sure there are enough of activities planned to cover all of the breaks. If there are very few stoppages some of the activities and advertisements will need to be pushed back to the next period. All of these actions need to take place through instinct.

Since the marketing staff walks around the concourse throughout the game they need to use radios to communicate to one another incase the agenda needs changed at all. Since most of the staff walk around during the game this can cause some communication issues at times that will be analyzed later in this paper. Many times changes need to be made rather quickly because a period only lasts twenty minutes. Amy handed me the agenda when she was going over it with me and it looked complex. They had a schedule planned out with something happening almost every minute before the game and then new activities and advertisements for every break in the game.

Analyze:

The game day procedures’ meeting was a one on one meeting with Amy and myself. To start off the meeting she gave me the grand tour of the Giant Center to show me the ins and outs of what the staff deals with on a game day. After the tour we went back up to her office and she gave me the agenda to look at and use as a visual aid. On page 465 Guffey describes visual aids as something that “enhances and compliments presentations” (Guffey, 2011, 465). Although this is not a typical presentation it is still a visual aide because it helped me to know what was going on and when it was going on. She explained who would be doing each activity and then introduced me to these people as well. Usually each person does the same thing every game so they do not have to all know how to do each of the activities, only the ones they conduct.

One of Amy’s main projects that she described to me is Coco’s Kids Club. This event, which is set up every game, allows kids who are 12 and under to learn more about the Hershey Bears, the sport of hockey, and other events taking place in the Hershey area. Children who are a part of this get many incentives including two ticket vouchers to a Hershey Bears game, a birthday card from Coco The Bear, and all kinds of different prizes (Hershey Bears, 2013).

This conversation occurred in her office and it was a one on one meeting. Amy took the role of the sender during this meeting and I was the receiver. The message that she was trying to convey in this meeting was to fill me in on the daily procedures of a game day and some of the events that she is in charge of. Since this meeting took place in her office there was not much noise that was distracting, which allowed the conversation to flow more smoothly.

Evaluate:

This was an important meeting for Amy to have with me. Without this meeting I would not have known the complexity of the agenda that needs to be in place in order for an event to flow smoothly. I feel that it was good that this was the first item that we completed because it gave me a different outlook on the event at hand than a normal fan would have. Many times people just go there as fans and have a good time, but they do not know all of the work that goes on before and during the game that makes it run smoothly.

The communication that took place in this meeting was very effective in my opinion. Her overall goal was to give me a tour, go over the daily agenda on a game day, and discuss to me one of her main projects. She did very well and I learned a lot about the event just from this little event. It made it easier to concentrate since it was a one on one conversation so I only needed to focus my attention in one direction. It was also very easy to follow her because she supplied me with a copy of the agenda for the night and it was an informal meeting. Being that there was no background noise just made everything else better and I took away a few good tips on communication from this event.

Communication Event #2: Ordering More Sticks

Describe:

This event occurred in Andy’s office. Andy is a co-worker of Amy and he is the marketing manager, so anything that needs to be ordered needs to go through him first. The only part of this event that I got to be a part of was listening to how they were going to deal with it. After every game there are three stars awarded for excellent play during the game. If one of the Hershey Bears players is named one of the stars they receive a stick to give to a lucky fan. The goal in this event was to try and figure out how many sticks they would need for the rest of the year and whether or not they had to order more. At the beginning of the year they ordered, what they thought would be, enough sticks for the whole season. Unfortunately some of the sticks disappeared and nobody knew what happened to them, so they had to act accordingly.

On the way to Andy’s office Amy explained to me what the purpose of these sticks were and the reason why they needed to order more. Since they were going to have to order more sticks they wanted to make sure they got enough, but not too much, for the rest of the season. Anything that is left over at the end of the season will go to waste because the sticks were specially made for their seventy-fifth year, which was the 2012-2013 season.

Analyze:

As we were discussing this event I noticed how much the employees care about the customers and the fan base. Instead of saying “If we run out, we run out” they wanted to spend a little bit more money to order more sticks so the fan base stays constant or even continues to rise. This decision that needed to be made was not a very easy one. They counted how many of the sticks they had left and came to the conclusion that they would be about twenty sticks short if all three stars from the game came from the bears. After they concluded that they had to email the provider of the sticks and find out how much it would cost them. When they heard back from the supplier they found out that they had about sixty custom wraps left that were used to customize the sticks with the Hershey Bears logo and a special design for the seventy-fifth anniversary.

Since they already paid for these customized wraps they came to the conclusion that they should just buy sixty more sticks so they use all of the wraps and nothing goes to waste. This communication event was a lot like the first one. It was the same face-to-face style with not a whole lot of noise again. The sender in this situation was once again Amy and the message she was sending to Andy, the receiver, was that they needed to purchase more sticks. One thing that was different about this event though was that there was another receiver, myself, but both Amy and Andy were sending me the message.

Evaluate:

In my opinion this event was communicated very well. When we began the meeting we had a problem that needed to be solved. First they had to decide whether or not they needed to order more sticks so they would have enough for the rest of the season. In order to be proactive they decided to order some more because they would have been about twenty sticks short if the Hershey Bears produced three stars for the rest of the games left in the season. The next decision that they had to tackle was how many they should order and because of the excellent communication between Amy and Andy it made the decision making a whole lot easier. They had to send an email to communicate with the stick company to determine how much it would cost for a stick and how many they should order. Once they found out all of the information they needed they made the decision to get about sixty more sticks.

This communication event was handled very well. Amy and Andy made sure that they knew all of the appropriate information that they needed before they came to any conclusions. The communication took place through a face-to-face perspective as well as via email to contact the supplier. The sender in both messages was Amy and the receiver was Andy in the face-to-face conversation and the supplier in the email. Overall this communication event was a great experience to observe because it displayed the proper steps that need to be taken during the process to order supplies.

Communication Event #3: Race Night

Describe:

Another project that Amy deals with is setting up race night to take place during the Hershey Bears game on March 30, 2013. Race night is a huge event that takes place where all different kinds of racing vehicles are displayed in the parking lot. The costumers then have the chance to see an up close perspective of all the racing vehicles. The vehicles range anywhere from sprint cars, NASCAR race cars, and even racing trucks. A second incentive to participate in this event is that all fans that go to this game receive a ticket that grants them access to the NASCAR events in the Poconos on June 8, 2013.

Analyze:

This event did not flow as smoothly as the other ones did. Three months ago, Amy emailed the people who were in charge of race night in the previous years to find out if the wanted to do it again. Two months went by and she did not hear anything. This led her to assume it would not work out. With less than a month before the event is supposed to take place, Amy received an email in regards a date and time for race night. In order to keep customers happy she replied with a date that would work. Since she had such a late awareness that this event was to take place it put stress on her busy schedule. Guffey explains the importance of communication on page fifteen when she says, “Feedback helps the sender know that the message was received and understood” (Guffey, 2011, 15).

When we were standing behind Coco’s Kids Club table on the main concourse a customer walked up and asked about race night. Amy said that she does not have all of the vehicles that she would like yet. The lady offered to help with getting more vehicles to the show. The lady knew someone that participated in the event last year and she said that she would be here tonight. This was great because we were able to find another customer that would like to be a part of this event.

Evaluate:

This communication event had many flaws in it. The first one started off in the very beginning when Amy didn’t get a response about setting it up. She had to assume that they did not want to have it this year. Closer to the time that the event was last year, she got an email asking about when race night was going to be this year. Since she has so many other activities going on this event added more stress to her job. This could have easily been avoided if she tried to contact the person in another way besides email, say via phone call. Since she found out late about the event she had to quickly get tickets for the Pocono race and find people who were willing to bring their cars out that night. This is a prime example of basic miscommunication that when prevented, can allow events to run more smoothly and successful.

This event entailed two separate conversations to get to the overall goal of one main conversation. The first communication that had a negative effect was an email. Amy was the sender and she wanted to know if race night was still going to happen this year. She did not find out that the event wanted to be put on again this year until about a month before the date so she had to scramble. The other communication event helped her out significantly. In this event Amy communicated the message of race night to a customer, which in return allowed her to get extra help. This event did have a lot of noise though due to the fact that it took place on the main concourse and there were approximately nine thousand people in the building. Overall, the situation was handled well despite the fact of the late notice that the people gave saying that they wanted to continue race night.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day I had a great time at my Day of Observation and I learned a lot. The Giant Center was a great place for me to observe because the main event that takes place there is hockey, which is something that I enjoy very much. I could see myself working for Hershey Entertainments and Resorts because everyone was laid back and easy to get along with. I was welcomed right into the conversations and nobody judged me.

The communication between the employees, customers, and suppliers at the Giant Center was excellent. Everyone within the offices got along great and when they went down to the main concourse the conversation flowed smoothly there as well. When it came to talking with people outside of the company the employees did a great job there as well.

Recommendations:

Although this assignment demonstrated communication events well, I felt that there were a few flaws with the overall assignment. This assignment helped me learn how communication is used within a business effectively. Below I will elaborate on a few things that I feel would make this assignment better in the future.

The first thing that I would change in this project is the number of assignments to be completed. Instead of having due dates for only the proposal and the final paper I think it would be better to have separate due dates for some of the components of the paper. For example, there could be separate due dates for the executive summary, the letter of dismissal from classes, and the thank you letter. I also think it would be a good idea to add a small point value on each of these assignments so people can get some kind of credit if they do not do so well on the paper itself. I do like that this assignment falls in the middle of the semester because it spreads the work load out for the class so that not everything is due at the end of the semester like most classes.

Another suggestion that I would make for this assignment is to offer students, but do not require them, to complete two days of observation at the same place in order for them to observe more events. If students completed two days of observation they would be able to experience more communication events and pick the most powerful ones to use in this paper. It would also help someone get a better understanding of what happens on a daily basis in an office because they would have more experience. The student could also shadow two different employees from the same company on two different days. Then when they write their paper they can compare and contrast them as to how they deal with communication events.

Bibliography

Gordon, T. (2003). Productivity & Profitability: The Case for Participation in The Workplace and the People Productivity Process [Electronic version]. Gordon Training International, 1-14.

Gordon, T. (2011). What every leader should know [Electronic version]. Gordon Training International, 1-8.

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2011). Business communication: Process and product. (7th ed.). South-Western Pub.

Hershey Bears >Coco Kids Club. (n.d.). Hershey Bears > Hockey. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://www.hersheybears.com/fan_zone/coco_kids_club.php

Appendix A: Thank You Letter

986 Mount Wilson Rd
Lebanon, PA 17042

March 4, 2013

Mrs. Amy Rhine
Marketing Coordinator
Hershey Entertainment
550 West Hersheypark Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Dear Amy:

I very much enjoyed having the opportunity to meet you and get a tour of the Giant Center. I would like to personally thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to show me what you do and answer the questions that I had. Your facility is very nice and your co-workers were very nice to me also.

The thing that I learned the most is all of the procedures that go on behind the scenes in order to have an event take place. If the game/event does not go how the itinerary was planned, everything has to be changed rather quickly so the show can still go on. It was awesome to be a part of something that I enjoy doing everyday: hockey. It gave me a different perspective rather than what goes on off the ice. This experience opened my horizon for what I want to do with my future.

I would be very interested in doing an internship there although may schedule with hockey may prohibit me from doing that with all of the time that I must invest into my hockey. If you ever need a volunteer or if anything comes up that you would ever need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Once again thank you for everything that you did yesterday!

Sincerely,

Dylan Kapp
Dsk001@lvc.edu
(717) 673-3192

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