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Interview Report

            On March 24, 2003 I spoke with Cheryl B concerning the culture of the Graphics Print organization at ADVO Inc. I learned that much is done in the spirit of making it an enjoyable place to spend forty or more hours a week. The organization prides itself on being hardworking and dedicated to the goal of meeting very tight deadlines. Cheryl pointed out that though there is “loads” of work the employees have every opportunity to make it a fun place to be. The month of December is filled with holiday festivities, including several theme parties and a ‘mini me’ Christmas tree decorating contest. Where all of the contestants must buy a small Christmas tree plant and attempt to decorate it in a likeness of themselves. I noticed last year even the manager participated.
             I believe the participation of the manager fosters open communication with the employees. In speaking with Cheryl B, a graphics print coordinator, I learned that the manager, Mary C, has worked for ADVO for over twenty years, having started in the production facility as a machine operator. I believe Mary’s seemingly life-long investment in ADVO, and her ability to stay grounded, has allowed her to earn the respect of her employees: as a United Way fund-raiser the employees are allowed to wear blue jeans every day of the week for a donation of one dollar per day. Mary wears blue jeans every day unless clients are in house. As a matter of fact, Cheryl says that the coordinators esteem so highly that they do not engage in negative talk about her.
             Cheryl also says that Mary is “so comfortable in her position as manager that she is able and willing to listen to ideas and suggestions of her employees and even implement them into departmental policy while giving the owner of the idea the recognition.” Cheryl cited a newly implemented policy for a new way of accepting work from the Client Services organization as an example of Mary’s willingness to accept ideas and recognize the owner of the idea.