Organizational Culture of Disney – Free Essay Examples

Organizational Culture of Disney

In every organization culture determines the ways of performance, interaction patterns between employees, managers, types of communication, climate, morale and satisfaction. New business environment and cultural changes change organizational culture and influence behavior and motivation of employees. Shared values, visions, relationships and climate influence implementations and perceptions of organizational actions. The business change requires new understanding of work relations and new vision of the corporate goals and aims. Today, Walt Disney is one of the largest entertainment companies in the world founded in 1923.

Corporate and HR strategies are aimed to meet diverse customers’ expectations and treat culturally diverse employees as a singe unified top talents. The company’s strategy is to expend internationally and deliver unique entertainment for both adults and children. Its corporate strategy provides to insiders and outsiders information about what the organization stands for, its image, values, and character. Walt Disney follows a strategy of product differentiation by technological innovation. It’s a ‘historical trend’ of the company which helps Walt Disney to achieve success and leadership position on the market (Thomas1976). During this decade consumers see a strategy of ever-growing diversification-into live-action films, nature films, television, and theme parks.

The organizational culture of Disney influences implementation and acceptance of strategic objectives and goals. The shared values determine the bonding of organizational principles to the goal-setting process. Strategies that consider organizational values in their development will become an extension of organizational values (Balsano et al 2008). The values organizational that give Disney credibility also will give credibility to the individual. They are a source of self-fulfillment and personal integrity. While organizational values relate to employees, profit, customers, stakeholders, community, and the like, individual goals will relate to fairness, honesty, trust, respect, quality, and cooperation. These are precisely the values that are inherent in the organizational values statement. Alone, these organizational values are far too general and open to interpretation. It is easy to forget the particular and complicated nature of human moral experience. Thinking about and discussing the ethical implications of a goal is more practical and valuable than using a list of values or ethical models. Acting on the ethical implications is even more valuable. Ethical action at Disney is the relentless effort to make values a part of the goal-setting equation. Where the managers go wrong, however, is in expecting more from these values than they can deliver. The mission of Disney reflects these ideals: “The Walt Disney Company is committed to balance environmental stewardship with our corporate goals throughout the world” (Disney Home Page 2009).

At Disney, it s organizational culture reflects unique industry requirements and customers’ expectations. Each application deals with the realities of a particular goal and how to accomplish it. It is possible to say that new changes will be influenced by old principles of work and will need a new set of principles for further change. In this case, individual integrity is the real foundation on which organizational ethics is built. Integrity includes values, goals, and actions of all people in an organization, but its demonstration is particularly important for an organization’s managers. A manager’s actions are the pivotal link between his or her personal beliefs and organizational aims. Managerial integrity stands at the center of shared values and the goal-setting process. Managers become known for their ability to bring out the best in people by challenging them with high performance goals. They are also known for their trustworthiness. At Disney, employees depend upon them to be fair and honest in setting goals at a level that will challenge them but not at such a high level that the goals are unattainable (Thomas1976). Trustworthiness is an important component of integrity. Otherwise, there will be no followers. Trust conveys that managers mean what they say. It is a belief in an old- fashioned concept called integrity (“WHAT IS CULTURE” 2009).

The demand for high quality and service excellence influence morale and satisfaction of employees at Disney. It can lead to resistance to change and opposition movement. A common mistake is to conceive employees and their relations as fixed entities (Pringle and Gordon, 2001). To the contrary, they should be constantly forming around a specific task or goal, fixing things, celebrating their accomplishments, disbanding, and then forming again with different people appropriate to take on another problem with new goals. What is the purpose of continual improvement other than to keep the organization alive and well? Organizations exist for purposes outside themselves. The overriding purpose is to be responsive to children’s needs–but who is the customer? (Mosley, 1985).

The answer to that question is problematic. In the process of fixing the small things, teams tend to become insular and can forget why they exist. In focusing on their particular goal, they forget not only the ultimate customer, but also those teams around them. “The Walt Disney Company aims to foster safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces” (Disney Home Page 2009). Disney’s teams can become competitive, combative, and even destructive to the organization. Goal displacement occurs when activities that were originally intended to help improve organizational goals become ends in themselves (Pringle and Gordon, 2001). “Disney operates an International Labor Standards (ILS) program designed to address working conditions for people making Disney-branded product, including factories that are not owned by Disney and are associated with vendors and licensees with whom we do business” (Disney Home Page 2009).

Focusing on the small things is one way to build teams in Disney, but teams can also be built around big problems. Those problems can be addressed by task forces that work on organization wide issues. The task force investigates major issues, develops alternatives, looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each, and provides an action plan. Issues may include the organizational vision or the strategic plan itself. Task forces also address reorganization, rewards and recognition, communications, training, and education, to name a few. In organizations with effective teamwork, management retains authority for defining the vision. However, work teams plan, set priorities, organize, coordinate with others, and take corrective action.

They solve problems, schedule and assign work, and even handle personnel issues such as absenteeism and discipline. All these duties were previously prerogatives of management (Pringle and Gordon, 2001). Consequently, the team must now hold the responsibility and authority to implement solutions if it is to be effective. An inspiring vision is needed at all levels of the organization from the executive suite to the mailroom. A correctly delivered vision serves that purpose and conveys the need for change. That need is usually larger than the organization itself, and is something that the individual can accept. Every organization has a purpose outside itself that the individual person can commit to and goes to the very survival of the organization. If people are not dedicated to the organization’s purpose, Disney becomes unresponsive to those it serves and will perish (Garrow and Hirsh 2008).

Ay Disney, human motives develop in sequence according to five levels of needs. These needs are: psychological (hunger, thirst), safety (protection), social (be accepted, belong to a certain group), esteem (self-confidence, achievements, respect, status, recognition), and self-actualization (realizing one’s potential for continued self-development). The proposals will threaten the need of achievement and esteem needs. It is suggested that the freedom to exercise initiative and ingenuity, to experiment, and to handle the problems of their jobs in their own way are crucial aspects of work (Pringle and Gordon, 2001). The proposals enveloped for Disney will allow freedom of choice but will limit personal involvement in work. So, managerial integrity will be influenced by developing and consistently applying a well-honed set of organizational and individual moral values. Values such as honesty, fairness, and respect for the individual are prerequisites for achieving both integrity and effectiveness. The consistency between behavior and belief, in tune with organizational goals and values, permits the manager to deal with the realities of a particular goal and the means to accomplish it (Giroux, 1999).

The organizational culture developed by Disney allows to say that real dilemmas will occur in practical problems where values clash with pressures for tangible and immediate performance. Tangible performance represents values that are readily quantifiable and measurable. They include such objectives as setting goals for growth, productivity, profit, career development, or promotion, all of which may involve career aspirations (Krause, 2008). The appeal is to pressure people to cut comers and to shade the truth to accomplish these tangible and measurable objectives. Managerial integrity can be easily compromised at the expense of the more intangible ethical standards. The more tangible measures also carry with them the potential to destroy the shared values on which managerial integrity is based. The pressure to perform naturally leads to a conflict between means and ends. Managers face the critical responsibility of choosing the right goal to ensure that what people are striving for is the ethical choice. Moreover, because of the propensity of people to do what they are told (and their natural inclination to accept goals as legitimate because they come from an authority figure or from the organization itself), it is crucial that managers do not ask people to employ unethical means to accomplish an otherwise noble goal. Both the means and the ends are valid subjects for ethical questioning (Krause, 2008).

The important aspect of Disney culture are periodic evaluations of the overall performance which makes the organizational culture transparent, as each step or method is reviewed in light of the overall strategic objectives. Simplicity of the process stages also reduces reluctance and mistrust between employees. Ongoing cultural management helps to identify possible problems and deviations early on and allows for corrections and the resolution of weaknesses. Needless to say, Disney’s employees are to be part of this process. The Disney management tries to involve its employees in innovation processes in order to improve morale and motivate them. The first step is to display to workers that they stand to benefit from cooperating in the process of organizational culture and new values.

The view of participation in planning and decision-making arouses fears and possibly resistance among workers new to this, based on their experience that workplace changes are frequently accompanied by deskilling and the removal of jobs (Garrow and Hirsh 2008). These types of plans do provide positive reinforcement for continuing to contribute to the culture. Thus, some barriers emerge from the concern that worker participation may eliminate the rights of some groups in Disney. Many managers fear the loss of control and decision-making authority. They are worried that workers participation means poor decision-making latitude and influence for them. Thus, workers participation is intended to open up new roles and responsibility for mangers as they are freed, for instance, from certain communication tasks that the work group can take on (Chan et al 2009).

In Disney, the nature of the individual’s thoughts will also relevant after goals have been formulated. Individuals choose to take action in accordance with each chosen goal. They should focus on what is to be achieved, the means needed to achieve it, and the reasons for, or benefits of, such action. Intrinsic motivation is not inherent in the task but rather exists inside the person. However, the working environment tends to be governed just as strongly by imposed standards and external rewards (such as pay, recognition, and promotion) as it is by things that are done because they are personally rewarding. This is not to deny that one should enjoy work and achieve personal reward, but in real work settings, such motivation rarely operates in isolation from other types of external motivators. The new proposals will affect task performance in at least three ways. First, they energize performance by motivating people to exert effort in line with the difficulty or demands of the goals or task.

It is not simple physiological arousal that produces high performance. Generally, one expects more effort to be expended when goals are difficult than when they are easy (Chan et al 2008). Greater effort should produce in greater performance, and more effort is needed to attain hard goals than easy goals. Managers who set easy goals stop working sooner than those with hard goals. While this result may seem trivial, it does illustrate the fact that challenging goals keep people motivated longer than less challenging goals, even when all individuals are working at the same pace. The lack of coordination and communication will influence organizational culture. Lack of ability limits an individual’s capacity to respond to a challenge–some people are not capable of performing in accordance with their goals. If they do not have the ability, they cannot reach them. At Disney, performance levels off after the limits of ability have been reached. Decision-making has a stronger effect on high-ability than on employees (Krause, 2008). “Managers and HR professionals feel they should be doing more about developing their organization’s workforce for the future, and talent management is assumed to be just about this” (Garrow and Hirsh 2008, p. 390).

Thus, it is important to note that given a goal commitment, Disney’s employees continue working at the task until the goal is reached. Employees work longer and more tenaciously for a harder goal then for an easier one, but there can be a trade-off. Employees with low demands and a long time limit or no time limit may work more slowly then those with high demands in order to fill the time available. The excess time in such a case, however, is the result of a slower pace rather than of greater persistence (Buell, 2008). At Disney, the prediction about the relationship of goal performance to satisfaction is this: the greater the success experienced by employees, the greater the degree of satisfaction experienced as well.

When employees at Disney perform well, they not only feel satisfied with their performance but also generalize this positive effect to the task; they like the task more than they did previously. In conclusion, job satisfaction is not a result of either the person or the job alone but rather of the person in relation to the job. Organizational learning is an important part of transformations at Disney. Organizational cultures are distinguished by the degree to which learning and problem solving occur. The cultural values and traditions are represented by governing variables (or values) and untested assumptions that make problematic the detection and correction of error. Some of the cultural values of organizational behavior include unilateral protection of self and others, win-lose relations, owning and controlling of tasks, rationality, and suppression of negative emotions. Disney’s management follows theories-in-use approach that maximize interpersonal defenses and minimize learning (Finch, 1979).

In sum, the organizational culture influences Disney in two ways: it is influenced by the organizational culture and maintains positive relations between employees. For Disney, there is a need to sustain effective strategies for cultural values and positive relations between employees. As a result of the complexity of Disney structure, which include multiple layers of authority, responsibility, and tasks, organizational culture emerges as subcultures with relatively distinct identities In addition to a manager’s characteristic response to stress and concerns; these organizational cultures and subcultures are driven by underlying main assumptions. At Disney, organizational culture units employees and motivates them. It may be compatible at any given time and the unconsciously driven main assumption group sabotages the more consciously driven task. Multiple and diverse organizational values exist in different departments and headquarters’. Thus, they follow the spirit and main values of the corporation and its historical traditions. The motivation changes if employees’ communication and interaction actions remain unnoticed. At Disney, greater autonomy and independence of each department from the central authority structure add to a subculture’s differentiation from the larger organizational culture.

References

Balsano, Th. J. et al. (2008). IDENTIFY YOUR INNOVATION ENABLERS AND INHIBITORS. Research Technology Management, 51 (6), 23.

Buell, John M. (2008). Living the Organization’s Mission, Vision and Values. Healthcare Executive, 23 (6), 21-24.

Chan Y. H., Taylor, Robert R., Markham, Scott. (2008). The Role of Subordinates’ Trust in a Social Exchange-driven Psychological Empowerment Process. Journal of Managerial Issues 20 (4), 444-467.

Disney Home Page (2009). Web.

Finch, Ch. (1979). The art of Walt Disney: from Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms. New York, H. N. Abrams.

Garrow, V.; Hirsh, W. (2008). Talent Management: Issues of Focus and Fit. By: Public Personnel Management 37 (4), 389-402,

Giroux, H. (1999). The mouse that roared: Disney and the end of innocence. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.

Krause, Th. (2008). The First Two Steps in Safety Strategy: Self Education and a Behavioral Vision. EHS Today, 1 (2), 28-28.

Mosley, L. (1985). Disney’s world: a biography. New York : Stein and Day.

Pringle, H., Gordon, W. (2001). Brand manners: how to create the self-confident organisation to live the brand. Chichester; New York: Wiley.

Thomas, B. (1976). Walt Disney: an American original. New York : Simon and Schuster. WHAT IS CULTURE. HR Magazine, Feb 2009, 54 (2).

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