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Disney Culture
By Emily Powell
Summary
“The Four Circumstances Driving Disney’s Organizational Culture”
Walt Disney Studios trains its employees in a pro...
Summary (cont.)
Innovation
Disney expects its employees to be willing to take risks and push the status quo in order to cr...
Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures”
“Deal and Kennedy argue that business success can be enhanced through the
development...
Disney has Strong Culture
The article spells out Disney’s cultural values plainly: They value innovation,
organizational s...
Disney has Strong Culture (cont.)
As far as rites and rituals go, Disney University itself is a powerful one. All
employee...
Peters and Waterman’s “Excellent Cultures”
Similar to Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures”.
Studied 62 companies with “exc...
Disney has Excellent Cultures
Looking at these themes, it’s clear that Disney possesses them all.
Close relations to the c...
Disney has Excellent Cultures (cont.)
Productivity through people
“Excellent organizations encourage positive and respectf...
More about Culture
Along with Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures” and Peters and Waterman’s
“Excellent Cultures”, there’s...
More about Culture (cont.)
This approach incompasses four distinct characteristics that scholars believe
make successful o...
Organizational Cultures are Complicated
This approach looks at a culture’s complexity like an onion
Onions in themselves a...
Organizational Cultures are Emergent
While integrated values are important, they don’t mean much if they are not
acted upo...
Organizational Cultures are not Unitary
With most organizations, it is pretty unreasonable to expect culture to be
complet...
Organizational Cultures are not Unitary (cont.)
That is only the theme parks. There is also the movie production part of D...
Organizational Cultures are Often Ambiguous
No matter how hard organizations may try, nothing is perfect. And with a
conce...
Questions
I would be interested in knowing more about the different subcultures of Disney,
particularly between the differ...
Works Cited
Lipp, D. (2015, December 29). The Four Circumstances Driving Disney's
Organizational Culture. Retrieved Octobe...
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Disney culture

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Comparing Disney University and other aspects of the company's culture to terms discussed in organizational communication.

Published in: Business
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Disney culture

  1. 1. Disney Culture By Emily Powell
  2. 2. Summary “The Four Circumstances Driving Disney’s Organizational Culture” Walt Disney Studios trains its employees in a program called “Disney University” where all employees are taught the ropes of both their individual position and of the company as a whole. One of the main lessons taught during the training concerns Disney’s four core values that are the foundation of Disney’s organizational culture: innovation, organizational support, education, and entertainment.
  3. 3. Summary (cont.) Innovation Disney expects its employees to be willing to take risks and push the status quo in order to create consistently original ideas and maintain the culture of “the happiest place on earth.” Organizational Support “No one is ‘too big’ to participate in Disney” From the top down, everyone is expected to support and encourage employee training and development. They believe that if everyone doesn’t do it, no one will. Education Lectures and seminars are provided to employees so that Disney is always improving
  4. 4. Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures” “Deal and Kennedy argue that business success can be enhanced through the development of a ‘strong’ culture.”(Miller 72) Basically, if an organization has the components Deal and Kennedy deem necessary for a strong culture, then their business will likely fare better than those that do not. There are 4 key components of a strong culture: Values Heroes Rites and rituals
  5. 5. Disney has Strong Culture The article spells out Disney’s cultural values plainly: They value innovation, organizational support, education, and entertainment. More details in summary slide While Disney surely has many heroes, this particular article names Van France as the hero of Disney University. Founder of Disney University along with Walt Disney Dedicated visionary who worked to incorporate these values into the employee training and creating the “happiest place on earth.” “Budgets, schedules, reports, more reports, union negotiations, training programs, meetings … more meetings, handbooks, cover-your-ass memos and the endless things which take up your time are of no value unless they end up producing A
  6. 6. Disney has Strong Culture (cont.) As far as rites and rituals go, Disney University itself is a powerful one. All employees are trained there and have all been for the past 58 years now. Disney University itself could also be Disney’s cultural network. When employees are trained there, the values held by the company are instilled in them right then and there. They are taught the ropes of their individual jobs, sure, but they are also taught what it means to be employed at Disney foremost.
  7. 7. Peters and Waterman’s “Excellent Cultures” Similar to Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures”. Studied 62 companies with “excellent cultures” and found common themes that they shared. Published in their book In Search of Excellence Examples of themes: Close relations to the customer Autonomy and Entrepreneurship Productivity through people
  8. 8. Disney has Excellent Cultures Looking at these themes, it’s clear that Disney possesses them all. Close relations to the customer It’s known that Disney values their customers and wants to create a happy experience for them. Autonomy and Entrepreneurship “Excellent organizations encourage employees to take risks in the development of new ideas.” (Miller 73) One of Disney’s main 4 values is innovation, which is essentially the same thing.
  9. 9. Disney has Excellent Cultures (cont.) Productivity through people “Excellent organizations encourage positive and respectful relationships among management and employees.” (Miller 73) One of Disney’s core 4 values is organizational support, which means that all employees are expected to support each other, especially in new employee training. You can’t create a happy atmosphere for customers if employees aren’t happy. Value-Driven “Excellent organizations have employees and managers who share the same core value of productivity and performance. That’s what Disney University is all about- teaching all employees to strive for Disney’s goals and a positive experience for all.
  10. 10. More about Culture Along with Deal and Kennedy’s “Strong Cultures” and Peters and Waterman’s “Excellent Cultures”, there’s one more approach to culture that is discussed in the chapter. “Rather than seeing culture as a thing that can and should be managed, these researchers see culture as the emerging and sometimes fragmented values, practices, narratives, and artifacts that make a particular organization what it is.” (Miller 74)
  11. 11. More about Culture (cont.) This approach incompasses four distinct characteristics that scholars believe make successful organizational cultures what they are: They’re complicated They’re emergent They are not unitary And they are often ambiguous
  12. 12. Organizational Cultures are Complicated This approach looks at a culture’s complexity like an onion Onions in themselves are one thing, but they’re made up of many layers The core, center layer of the onion model is the values of the company, which are the basis upon which the outside layers are built on. For Disney, the internal layers would be the four core values already discussed: Innovation, organizational support, education, and entertainment. From there, you could have Disney University training the cast members to work with these values, resulting with the friendliness and magic of the Disney experience as the outer layer.
  13. 13. Organizational Cultures are Emergent While integrated values are important, they don’t mean much if they are not acted upon as an organization and by the employees. Organizational cultures are emergent because it is something that is developed not only by a company’s communicative means but also by the everyday interactions between employees and customers. Disney shows this by mandating certain behaviors of their employees that demonstrate both their values and their dedication to creating the magical atmosphere in a Disney experience, like what’s taught in Disney University.
  14. 14. Organizational Cultures are not Unitary With most organizations, it is pretty unreasonable to expect culture to be completely uniform across the board. “Rather, most scholars agree that organizations are characterized by a multitude of organizational subcultures that ‘may coexist in harmony, conflict, or indifference to each other.’” (Miller 75) This is especially true with Disney because it is one of the largest companies in the world. Disney Parks alone have Disney World (Orlando)- with 4 different theme parks and 2 water parks Disneyland (Anaheim)- with 2 different theme parks
  15. 15. Organizational Cultures are not Unitary (cont.) That is only the theme parks. There is also the movie production part of Disney, Disney University, etc. With so many locations and so many employees performing different tasks for Disney, how could one singular culture possibly incompass it all? The subcultures derive from the overall established culture of Disney, but vary based on circumstances such as location, employment position, and personal contacts.
  16. 16. Organizational Cultures are Often Ambiguous No matter how hard organizations may try, nothing is perfect. And with a concept as large and as abstract as culture, it is understandably difficult (if not impossible) to pin it down. The text describes ambiguous cultures as “a normal, salient, and inescapable part of organizational functioning in the contemporary world.” (Miller 78) I see this as just another way that every organization, even one as well established as Disney, always has room to improve.
  17. 17. Questions I would be interested in knowing more about the different subcultures of Disney, particularly between the different parks. How are they different? How are they similar? How does geography affect them? I’d also be interested in knowing more specifics about Disney University and the activities that they do to train their employees Where is it located? Are there multiple locations?
  18. 18. Works Cited Lipp, D. (2015, December 29). The Four Circumstances Driving Disney's Organizational Culture. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.commpro.biz/corporate-communications/internal-employee- communications/the-four-circumstances-driving-disneys-organizational- culture/ Miller, Katherine. Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1999. Print.

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