The Contradiction of Business
First State Financial Services was the third largest banking institution in the state. It maintained an extensive branch
and ATM network to service its diverse retail customer base. Even with First State’s size, though, the business
success of the bank was extremely dependent upon the trends in the local economy. Two years of recession meant
two years of poor loans, and First State fell into deep trouble. To limit and reduce overhead expenses, there were
some extensive layoffs. A new executive management expected rapid, better results with fewer resources. Everyone
at First State feared being fired even though the bank was inching ...view middle of the document...
” Lucy knew she was in a bad—no, depressed—mood.
The layoffs she was thinking about had taken place six months ago, but their full impact was only now being felt.
Lucy’s Spring Hill Branch was a busy one; previously there were nine positions authorized for it. Now there were only
six: two New Accounts positions (including Lucy’s) and four tellers. One teller could alternate between the teller line
and back-office duties.
The problem was that there were too many customers. Lucy smiled at the contradiction: “Here the bank wants more
customers, and we can’t service the ones we already have.” On almost any day at almost any time, there were three
or four customers in line. It did not seem to matter that most of them simply wanted to cash a check or make a
deposit: by the time they got to the teller, they were curt or rude, demanding, and sometimes hostile and
Lucy clearly remembered an incident that had occurred just two days ago. A customer had been waiting for about 20
minutes to pay a utility bill. When he finally reached the window, he started berating the tellers for being so slow
and condemning the bank for being so inept. By the time he finished, the teller was in tears.
Lucy remembered talking to her after he left. The teller said, “We work so hard and no one seems to appreciate