THE TRANSFER OF CORPORATE PRACTICES BETWEEN NATIONAL CULTURES The Case of Disney Theme Park Assets at Home and
______________________ A Thesis Presented to The Management Systems Department College of Business Ohio University
______________________ In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Graduation with Honors in Management and Strategic Leadership
by Matthew Dominic Seymour June 2005
This thesis has been approved by the Management Systems Department of the College of Business.
______________________________ John Schermerhorn O’Bleness Professor of Management Management Systems Department
______________________________ Robert L. Holbrook, Jr. Assistant Professor Honors Coordinator Management Systems Department
______________________________ Glenn E. Corlett Dean College of Business
Table of Contents Chapter 1 – Introduction and Purpose.......................................................................1 Hard and Soft Technologies Corporate Culture and National Culture Interpretation of Practices Focus on Disney Organization of Thesis Chapter 2 – Semiotic Theory and National Culture Saussure’s Semiotic Theory Semiotic Theory in a Transcultural Context Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Conclusion Chapter 3 – Walt Disney World Case Study Business Practices Conclusion Chapter 4 – Tokyo Disneyland Case Study Business Practices Conclusion Chapter 5 – Euro Disney Case Study Business Practices Conclusion Chapter 6 – Analysis and Conclusion Footnotes References Figures Appendixes
it will offer an analysis and implications from the data that will offer transferable recommendations to any company that must transfer soft technologies during international expansion. 2004). Cost driven expansion often relies on the international expansion of technologically driven physical processes (Brannen. through secondary sources. the latter part of the 20th century and into the 21st have been times of accelerated global business expansion. other companies pursue expansion for other reasons. and the interpretations of their corporate practices in different national cultures. Many firms have expanded internationally as a way of securing less expensive labor than that which can be found in the more industrialized countries. Tyson (1997) says that this will become the major goal of international expansion in the 21st century.1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Purpose With the destruction of global barriers that for centuries have kept the world divided by its continents. The theoretical background will be supplemented with the case of Disney’s expansion into foreign markets. One such key reason for internationalization is the opportunity for expansion into new markets. It will answer the question “How do differing
. He argues that international growth strategies will replace the current strategy of internationalization as a way of cutting costs. Companies who participate in this type of expansion use the resources of the country into which they expand and adjust their business practices accordingly. the transfer of corporate practices between national cultures as a result of market driven expansion. While increasing profit margins are one reason for international expansion. The purpose of this thesis is to examine. Finally.
a hotel builds the same. When entering a new market. using their existing business structure. they clone themselves in the new market. “soft” technologies (Hall. the transfer of cultural aspects can be subject to varied interpretations. 2004). basic room types. These technologies are used by companies which send physical processes abroad. which are generally not a concern with “hard” technologies (Brannen. An example can be seen in the hotel industry.1 illustrates the differences in hard and soft technologies. Industries such as hospitality and leisure expand internationally in order to move their market into new territories. Because of the non-concrete nature of people dependent. In contrast. but instead transfer their entire business structure to the international asset. people driven technologies are fundamental for market driven expansion. They can also face issues regarding cultural understanding and acceptance.2 interpretations of corporate practices by different national cultures affect how those practices will be accepted?” Hard and Soft Technologies Companies who are expanding internationally for market based purposes do not solely transfer physical processes from their home country to the destination country. They also generally use the same business practices and guiding principles. Soft. hard technologies are often transferred in cost driven expansion. These processes have few specific cultural implications. and the way that they transfer between national cultures is essential in the comprehension of international expansion of organizations.
. such as those in manufacturing industries. Understanding “hard” and “soft” technologies. Figure 1. 1993). In reality.
3 An example of the transfer of hard technology can be seen from a manufacturer off shoring production to China. they can be produced for $. While all companies will also be transferring some hard technologies. the success of many multinational enterprises (MNEs) is more dependent on the way that their business practices transfer between national cultures than their physical processes (Brannen. the soft technology (the business practices and style) is not transferred. The Oriental Land Company created an exact clone of the original Disneyland Park. If they have their widgets produced in China.10 apiece. They therefore build a factory or subcontract to a company in China to offshore production of their widgets. The technology that they transferred to China is hard technology (the machinery). The example of Disney’s decision to open Tokyo Disneyland contains the transfer of both hard and soft technologies. Corporate Culture and National Culture
. These policies and practices make up the company’s soft technologies. the company sent its business structure. 2004). All of the policies and practices that make Disney a market leader and give it a competitive advantage in its American market were applied in the same way in Japan that they would have been applied in America. but in addition. but the factory is run in a Chinese fashion. All of the physical processes and amenities were replicated (the hard technologies). The transfer of a company’s soft technologies is essential for a business that is using international expansion as a way of expanding into a new market. They use their technology in the new Chinese factory. The company produces widgets in the United States for $2 apiece.
2003). In cases of highly differing cultures. two sets of distinct values may come into conflict with one another.4 One of the challenges for companies engaged in international growth strategies and soft technology transfer is developing an understanding of how their corporate practices will be interpreted by the national culture into which they expand. which. then as they are transferred they come to be translated into a definition relative to the context of the new national culture. is similar to the aforementioned definition of corporate culture. These practices fall under the broader umbrella of corporate culture.” By “one group as opposed to another” one can infer that this can analyze contrasting “collective programming” between a corporations culture and the culture of the market into which it is expanding. If the corporate practices are defined as part of a company’s corporate culture. defined in its simplest form. but takes place on a much broader scale. It is from this definition that the conflict between national and corporate culture begins to take shape. National culture. is “The way we do things around here” (Blank. Geert Hofstede defined culture as “the collective programming of the human mind. In order for effective internationalization of soft technologies. Saussure (1916) explained that one word or symbol may hold different meanings in
. which is common to the members of one group as opposed to another. Interpretation of Practices The idea of conflict becomes further illustrated by the study of semantics. and are in the context of one national culture. the perception of the soft technology in the corporate culture must be in synch with the perception of the soft technology in the national culture into which the company is expanding. obtained in the course of life.
5 different cultural contexts. This theory was then expanded to symbols.2). This repatriating would be subject to the same spectrum of interpretations. lead different words to have differently interpreted meanings. Differing interpretations can furthermore lead to changes in corporate practices as they cross national borders. Cultural contexts. the international expansion of businesses which rely heavily on their corporate practices being successfully transferred become subject to continuous chains of cultural conflict resulting from Hofstede’s definition of culture. One more magnification of the concept shows that not only could corporate practices be interpreted differently by the national culture into which they are transferred. therefore. and concepts. one can infer that corporate practices could also be interpreted differently within different cultural contexts. these changes are repatriated to the culture of the parent company in the home country. symbols. but different interpretations could come from both the employee and the consumer in that national culture (Figure 1. 2004). This yields the secondary research question for those companies which are looking to expand internationally: How are corporate practices changed due to differing interpretations as they are transferred between national cultures? Further examination of this theory also presents a model in which corporate practices are changed in order to meet the needs of the new national culture of which they are part. another possibility could be the merging of international cultures through
. While conflict is one result. In this way. Then. A further extension of that theory suggests that whole concepts could be understood and interpreted differently in different cultural contexts (Brannen. If this theory holds true in words. which is the study of semiotics.
it is important to understand the dimensions of culture that lead to differing interpretations. The Walt Disney Company is a corporation which has innovated unique and powerful corporate practices which are key parts of its culture and competitive advantage. especially his article in 1980. His research is the basis for examining how interpretations affect business practices in different national contexts. Focus on Disney To exemplify the interpretations business practices take on in different contexts. masculinity-femininity. The dimensions are: power distance. one of which is “Parks and Resorts. It also guides the management of the Tokyo Disneyland resort in Tokyo.” This business unit is in charge of Disney’s two American theme park resorts. it is essential to look at a company that is well known for its deep-seated corporate practices. uncertainty avoidance. and long-term orientation. France. which is operated by the Oriental Land
. This could fit Tyson’s (1997) hypothesis that expansion of international business in the 21st will lead to weakly defined cultural differences as the many cultures of the world begin to merge. “Motivation. and organization: Do American theories apply abroad?” (Hofstede. individualism-collectivism. Japan. 2004). as well a park in Marne-la-Vallée. It has also had experience transferring both soft and hard technologies across national borders. The company is divided into five business units. empirical research into culture and was met with much resistance. leadership.6 this continuous feedback loop. To understand how business practices can be interpreted differently. Hofstede (2001) defined five cultural dimensions that are important in helping to understand cross-cultural relationships. Hofstede’s study was the first serious.
the Oriental Land Company. With the exception of this park. renamed Disneyland Paris. Spurred by its success in Japan.
.7 Company. this is not necessarily an indicator of success. This division has had both unbridled success and indebted failure when it comes to the transfer of its business practices to Japan and France respectively (Blank. 2003). and their variation from the home culture of the Disney Company. While Disney parks worldwide lead their geographical regions in attendance. 2005. By looking at Hofstede’s cultural dimensions in the contexts of these two distinctly different cultures. 2000). While the company had success in Tokyo. 1999). all of Disney’s previous theme parks have been unqualified successes (Goodman. Tokyo Disneyland had Disney’s most successful international opening and has been one of the most profitable parks in terms of net revenue for the park’s operating company. The Euro Disney project was met with marked cultural resistance from the French due both to the company’s choices and practices (Lainsbury. which is scheduled to open September 12. it is possible to analyze the cultural communication issues that have created overwhelming dominance at home. While Euro Disney has had success in drawing attendance. and continued problems in France. This business unit’s responsibilities also include the development of future Disney theme park resorts. The prevailing wisdom concerning the problem at Euro Disney was a breakdown in cross-cultural communication (Goodman. Disney decided to open a European park. 1999). it has consistently been operating at losses. Euro Disney. success in Japan. including the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. it failed to take into account many of the cultural aspects that made Tokyo Disneyland successful.
Following the theory section will be three sections. and showing them in the context of the United States. it can be shown how two similar international expansions. First an analysis of theoretical background will provide the basis for the case study. could yield such different results. The theory section of the thesis will focus on Saussure’s semantic model and its application to corporate business practices. the home country.8 By applying a variation on Saussure’s semantic model to the expansion of Disney into both Japan and France. It will also look at the cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede as a way of creating the context which will be applied into Saussure’s model. The thesis will conclude with an analysis of the cases and transferable implications for businesses seeking to transfer soft technologies abroad. it will be possible to understand the issues that a company must face when expanding its own cultural practices into various international markets. By selecting specific business practices. For the purpose of analysis. and France. family orientation. The practices are as follows: the training program. and their customer service orientation. organized chronologically. as well as in the context of Japan and France. fanatical attention to detail. These practices. Japan. Organization of Thesis This thesis is organized as follows. These
. detailing the business practices at Disney theme parks in America. which are well ingrained in their culture. done in similar ways by the same company. and applying these practices to the aforementioned model. this thesis will focus on four of Disney’s most well known and unique corporate practices. will provide a basis for understanding the changes and effects on the business as they cross cultural borders.
and French business. and then analyze any changes that may also occur in the home country because of the internationalization. It will analyze these four corporate practices and interpret them in the context of the American. Japanese.9 practices are part of the Disney corporate culture and have helped it to become a legendary company in America (Collins and Porras. It will evaluate the changes that they underwent in order to allow them to be accepted by the country into which they were immigrating. 1994). ADD A CONCLUSION TO THE INTRODUCTION
Speech is what we do with language. was the rules in which speech finds its context. 1996). langue and parole.
. In a technical sense. and then examine several expansions of the theory.10 CHAPTER 2 Semiotic Theory and National Culture Various explanations have been made to account for the lack of fit as multinational enterprises transfer soft technologies across national borders. language and speech respectively. I will then provide examples and expound upon the theory. we see a red light which indicates that we should stop. In examining the theory behind this model. by utilizing the cultural dimensions of Hofstede as the context (language) into which a series of business practices (speech) fit. it represents to us the concept “stop. when driving. Language. the word sign means that one thing stands for something else. 1996). For example. The red light is not there to make us think of the color red. One such model is the semiotic model. a line on a graph is not meant to make us think of jagged lines. but instead represents the series of changes in a dependant variable relative to an independent variable (Gordon.” In the same vein. most importantly Brannen’s (2004) application to business practices. which is based on the linguistic theories developed in the early 20th century by Ferdinand de Saussure. I will first look explain the theory as it was written for linguistics. It is through this simple fact that one can derive the semiotic model of recontextualization. defined by Saussure. Saussure’s Semiotic Theory Saussure saw the world as being made up of signs. putting it into a tangible form (Gordon. Saussure developed the concept that linguistics was made up of two distinct parts.
1996). saying that in some cases they are arbitrary. but they both represent the same signified. This is called the signifier. Saussure’s true breakthrough was in applying it to language. The concept can then be either the denotative or connotative definition. which could either be written or spoken. the English language decided to signify this animal with one word. Saussure explained that the original choice of the signifier that represents a certain signified is completely arbitrary. This is the concept which the signifier represents. Written letters. The first part is the physical image itself. In the above examples. 1966). Saussure said that the sounds were the signifiers for the concept. the signifiers would be the red light and the graph. the set of letters which make up a word are the signifier for the concept which the word represents. While this is an easy concept to illustrate with tangible objects. In French. according to Saussure. are signs that represent certain sounds that are part of a given language. (Saussure. The two words are different signifiers. Barthes (1967) expanded on the arbitrary nature of signs. depending on the context. Arbitrarily. Together the image and concept (signifier and signified respectively) make up the sign (Gordon.11 Saussure’s concept was that a sign was made up of two distinct parts. He said that language was made up of a series of signs. In the case of written words. One item of particular importance is the arbitrary nature of signs. In spoken language. The second part is the signified. but more often
. He indicates this by using the example of two different languages. The signified in the above examples are the idea “stop” and the changes in variables. the word “mouton” means the same thing that “sheep” means in English. Saussure’s native language. while the French language chose to signify it with another (Saussure. as when they are selected by unilateral decision. 1966).
the signifier and signified respectively (Saussure. or silver. Therefore the sign. usually copper. can have a different meaning. This metal is the signifier. meaning that the sign comes in some way from the world in which it finds its context. and the new sign is then created. The impression by the mint is the signified. he points out.
. The concept which it represents in the new context becomes the new signified. the comparable motivated sign in French would be “aïe. when transferred to a different context (an expansion of Saussure’s idea of language). Coins are made of metal. but motivated by the old sign (Barthes. and it hurts is arbitrary. other than the one deemed legal by the government. the completed coin. A framework for transnational transfer can be developed using Saussure’s coin example.) He suggests that “ouch” is onomatopoeic for “it hurts. But. it would not be considered legal tender either.12 signs are motivated. Brannen (2004) suggests that a sign. Thus the sign from the previous context becomes the signifier in the new context. An un-pressed coin has no value as legal tender. Whereas “ouch” is motivated in English. The new sign is not arbitrary. nickel. sometimes even motivated signs can be partly arbitrary. is the metal and the impression. If the mint were to stamp another substance.” where as ouch is motivated. The example given by Barthes is those words which are onomatopoeic (a word representing or mimicking a sound. It is not until the coin has been minted that it has legal value.” Semiotic Theory in a Transcultural Context Saussure’s semiotic theory puts all signs into the context of their own language. but the theory does not elaborate as to what would happen when one sign is put into the context of another language. 1967). 1916).
this is because the Japanese language system overlaps with the English language much less than the English and French languages overlap.” These words can be understood across the two cultures. is significant. the coin and its use will become the new sign. their words (signs) can be similar to one another and more likely understood. this explains the existence of cognates. Perhaps the sign’s value in one country would allow them to buy a candy bar. In another country’s context. Brannen (2004) took this concept and applied it to the Walt Disney case by interpreting three major aspects of the Disney Company’s culture as Saussure’s parole. not even enough to purchase one candy bar. This example illustrates the concept pointed out Brannen (2004) that the more that communicators’ cultural worlds overlap. meaning elephant.
. one can see a more toned down example when they take a currency from one country to another. The Japanese version neither sounds nor looks nor sounds like the English word with which we are familiar. To them the coin would become the new signifier. or in contrast. If one were to take the coin into an area deep in the jungle.13 An expansion of Saussure’s coin example shows the aforementioned concept of transfer between contexts. In reality. and to them. they would have different view of the coin. As languages are similar. the people will know that it is currency. While that example is extreme. but the value could be worth two candy bars. the more effective their communication will be. but the difference between the English word “elephant” and the Japanese word “象” (pronounced zō). In linguistics. The meaning which they attach to it would become the new signified. that had never seen a coin before. English and French share many cognates such as “elephant” and “elephant. words that are very similar across different languages.
shows the following idea. or langue. even though that word originally meant a pickling agent for raw fish and the meal is now cooked crabmeat.14 and took the national contexts and used them as the context. That is. when a sign’s signified is changed as it crosses cultures. Brannen (2004) also gave an example of the reflexive concept of transnational transfer. with the underlying concept being the raw fish. according to Brannen. which is a type of American sushi with cooked crabmeat and avocado. practices. Further examination. which could take on a new signified in the home culture. Brannen identified specific signifiers and matched them with the signified that they represented in different cultural contexts. It is a process that fits into the mechanism described above. the word sushi means raw fish. the sign is the sushi and sashimi together. the California Roll is created. and because different cultures apply different signified to the same signifier. Because signs are made up of signifiers and their signified. In Japan the word for raw fish is sashimi. The California Roll is then repatriated into the Japanese context and known as a sushi. a new sign is created. What I have up to now presented is “how” changes in corporate practices take place according to semiotic theory. She provides the example of sushi to support this concept. In the United States. but has come to be known by the term sushi. corporate practices can be
. Broken down into products. and ideologies. This exemplifies a sign changing across cultures to better fit into its new culture. Her comparisons showed very different signified meanings for the same signifier across cultures. When transferred to the west. and the pickled rice in which it is stored is called sushi. Therefore in the United States.
and explain his results as they relate to the three countries in which Disney theme parks reside. In Hofstede’s research. individualism-collectivism. and Euro Disney in France. On the scale of 1-100. for
. I will then. he asked the core question “How frequently. 2002). this is how society defines the fact that people are unequal. These four spectrums were power distance. and their customer service orientation. and masculinity-femininity (Hofstede. To do this I will use Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Using this information. specifically the training program. Tokyo Disneyland in Japan. uncertainty avoidance. 1984). in the following chapters. does the following problem occur: employees being afraid to disagree with their managers?” Hofstede’s (1984) test for power distance found Japan to be very close to middle-of-the-road. grooming policy. I will then take the corporate practices that are core competencies to Disney’s service based business model. I will expand upon Brannen’s (2004) research by defining the three different national cultures in which Disney resides by way of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture When Geert Hofstede did his original research on international differences in work related values. What now must be explained is “why” these changes take place. First is power distance.15 interpreted differently in different cultures. Japan was given a score of 54. whereas. apply the theory to the cases of Walt Disney World in America. This section will define Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. High power distance cultures accept the power distribution among leaders and subordinates as being unequal and therefore develop towering vertical hierarchies (Ohtsu. his results indicated four spectrums across which different national cultures lie. in your experience. fanatical attention to detail.
Using Etzioni’s terminology. In a collectivist society. They are. For a point of reference the United States was the most individualistic country with a score of 91. including Hong Kong.16 comparison. Hofstede (1984) compares the individualist society to the solitary nature of the tiger. and employees lose respect for a consultative manager. France lies about half way between the United States and Japan. Collectivism is especially prevalent in cultures where “losing face” is an important facet of culture. though. with a score of 71 (Hofstede. and Thailand. and the collectivist society to the gregarious nature of packs of wolves. Hofstede suggests that in a collectivist
. 2002). it can affect the person’s reasons for complying with an organization’s requirements. and the mean was 51. with a Power Distance Index score of 68. Particularly. France was the highest of the three. The next value is a scale which Hofstede titled individualism-collectivism. The individualist society lacks those connections (Ohtsu. Hofstede also found that countries that had high Power Distance Index scores often agreed with the following statements: The average human has a dislike of work (McGregor’s Theory X). 1984). Singapore. Japan scored a 46. less collectivist than most other Asian nations that Hofstede studied. there are high bonds between individuals. This is true of Japan. the mean was 51 and the United States had a score of 40. in which the individuality index is relatively collectivist. These statements may help us to analyze the differences in acceptance of the same corporate practice across different national cultures. Hofstede says that the amount of individualism in a society will affect the nature of the relationship between the person and the organization in which they belong. This score is still representative of an individualistic society.
” Societies with low uncertainty avoidance scores are more apt to take risks and less likely to feel the effects of anxiety associated with those risks (Ohtsu. 1966). Hofstede uses the terms logical and non-logical as originally used by Pareto. only the fourth highest of those nations surveyed. Hofstede pointed out that what is logical behavior in one context might be considered non-logical behavior in a different context. or even custom. Cultures that have high uncertainty avoidance often use ways of making the uncertain tolerable. Japan and France were very similar. 1961). Logical behavior is behavior that relies on data and facts. and in an individualist society the involvement is more “calculative”. Japan had a very high uncertainty avoidance score of 94. He called this “uncertainty avoidance. The United States has an uncertainty avoidance score of 46. an 86. To look at the idea of uncertainty in organizations. 2002). Application of strict rules and regulations is one such way of doing
. France followed the Japanese closely as the sixth highest uncertainty avoidance score. non-logical behavior would be anything that does not fit into the aforementioned category (Pareto. but also to those people who have more extensive knowledge” (Pareto. while the United States differed significantly. They are “logically linked to an end.17 society there is a more “moral” involvement. In contrast. On this scale. Calculative involvement can be of either positive or negative orientation but is always of low intensity (Etzioni. These scores show a tendency against risk taking. not only in respect to the person performing them. A third cultural value identified by Hofstede is the tendency to avoid ambiguous situations. Moral involvement designates high intensity with a positive orientation. and the mean score for this value was 64 (Hofstede. 1984). 1966).
While a ritual serves a purpose to believers. and the next closest was Austria. helps to deal with the uncertainty of the selecting possible options by putting themselves in the shoes of the founder (Blank. with a score 16 points less! The United States scored a 62 and the mean was 51. Rules. In the context of Disney. Hofstede’s research showed that high masculinity countries have orientation
. this may seem non-logical because Walt has been deceased for over 30 years and the business world has dramatically changed. Japan was by far the most masculine of the 39 countries. At issue are sex roles (Ohtsu. but to a Disney Cast member. In the study done by Hofstede (1984). The fourth cultural value originally identified by Hofstede was a scale he called masculinity versus femininity. Masculine societies have distinct value differences between the roles of males and females in the society. which stresses many of both the stereotypically feminine and masculine values. 2002). France was well below the United States. with a score of 43. This could be particularly true for the Disney Corporation. Rituals are another way or reducing uncertainty. unbelievers may find ritualistic actions non-logical. but that point is moot because in the context of the organization they are logical (Hofstede. 1984). we often find executives asking the question “What Would Walt Do?” The ritualistic question. in order to help eliminate uncertainty must account for both logical and nonlogical actions of the group. Its score was 95. referring to company founder Walt Disney. To an outsider. 2003). The stereotypical masculine and feminine values play an important part in the division of labor within societies. this ritual helps to guide the organization on its highly principled path.18 this.
The four aforementioned cultural dimensions will be the context into which the following case studies will be examined. the perception on the business practice will be the result of a combination of these dimensions. In most cases. For the sake of clarity. Each Disney theme park has had distinctly different results.19 towards money and things. In low masculinity countries (highly feminine) there is an orientation toward people. are decisive. he stresses the importance of global alliances through joint ventures. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions will affect all of these as companies seek to become more global. when examining the practices. intelligence. We will examine how the business practices are perceived by that culture using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. and believe that big and fast are beautiful. Tyson (1997) predicts that in the 21st century. Conclusion These four cultural dimensions will become more and more important in assessing the transfer of corporate practices and appeal to international markets as the world continues to globalize in the 21st century. I will examine them each in the context of no more
. people work to live. 1984). and small and slow are considered beautiful (Hofstede. the most important assets of a successful company will be information. live to work. These distinct societal differences will help us to analyze the success of Disney’s corporate practices as they relate to both the employees of the amusement park. decisions are more intuitive. In addition. as well as the consumers. A major part of the differing results can be seen as a function of how well key Disney business practices transferred into the culture of the nation in which the Disney park came to reside. and the concept of perpetual strategy.
among other concepts. We will then use the context of Hofstede to derive the signified meaning in the culture.
. This will be the signifier. The following three case studies will examine each of the four previously mentioned corporate practices.20 than two interplaying dimensions. the perception of each practice involves all of the cultural dimensions. This will provide the differences based on cultural dimensions which provide explanation for the differing successes of the three Disney parks. In reality.
and much more. a shopping area. With a property in central Florida that is as expansive as the city of San Francisco. include: • • • • • fanatical attention to detail. The property runs much like any city. and largest amusement park in the world (Amusement Business. continuous progress via creativity. not a social or religious movement. the WDW resort holds four theme parks. Collins and Porras (1994) write that “when examining Disney. Guests enter the Disney theme parks with high expectations. no cynicism allowed. nurture. and promulgate “wholesome American Values (Collins et al. dreams.” They argue that this cult-like culture is a result of Walt
. and “To bring happiness to millions” and to celebrate. but without the residential areas. WDW is well known for its many unique business practices which make it the leader in its industry. but it is the most profitable. In that the company focuses on strong guest service before anything else. the corporate culture has often been called cult-like. 1994) These core ideologies are the guiding principles of Disney’s tightly-knit corporate culture. fanatical control and preservation of Disney’s “magic” image. it can be hard to keep in mind that it is a corporation. This could be a result of The Disney Company’s core ideologies. and imagination. nineteen resort hotels. These ideologies. which are the basis on which the practices to be evaluated have been formed.21 CHAPTER 3 Walt Disney World Case Study Walt Disney World (WDW) may not have been the first amusement park developed by the Disney Company. most visited. and those expectations are often met. Dec 2004).
fantasy is real and reality is fantastic (Disney. experience the impossible and bring our dreams to life. This overzealous dedication to service and the company lead to what could be considered a hyper-normal culture to the American consumer (Brannen.” and “In this magical world. bulletin boards sharing information are developed in ways that are uniquely Disney. and brand essence (appendix 1) truly reflect this hyper-normal guest experience with statements such as “Here. vision. and giveaways occur regularly. and cast member celebrations. mission and brand essence.22 Disney’s relationship with his employees. While the employees are not necessarily always as happy as they may seem. A vacation at WDW is intended to be a magical experience that takes guests away from reality. discounts. in which he demanded total dedication and commitment to the company and its values. Walt Disney World’s mission. they are generally content because the company puts the same magical elements that it presents “onstage” (where the guests are) as it does “backstage” (where only cast members go). 2004). which are written with the same unique character that WDW writes its park guide maps. 2004). This can be seen even through the WDW guiding principles.
.” The company presents the same image of magic. awards programs are developed with the same magic that Disney uses in its stage shows. and fun to its employees as it does to its guests. fantasy. we can wish upon a star. Backstage areas are vibrantly painted with Disney characters. advertisements. Appendix one includes the DisneyMGM Studios vision. and all other literature which has the guest as its end user. He saw his relationship with employees as a father-child relationship and he viewed the company as his family.
and examine how they are complimented by the national culture of the United States. Hofstede (2001) says that the two are entirely distinct from one another. Everyone has heard the saying “the customer is always right. This section will look at aspects of the Walt Disney World corporate culture. but they can and should be complementary. Guest Service Orientation The culture at Walt Disney World revolves solely around the guest. but just to go about their normal business.” and at Disney.23 To understand this hyper-normal guest service culture. Anything else
. In the cases of shoplifting or counterfeiting. we will examine the business practices of WDW which help to create the magical guest experience. An example of this cultural phenomenon of “keeping the magic” can be seen through Disney’s merchandise training course. which is distinctly different from the national culture in which it resides. Business Practices Business practices are part of a company’s corporate culture. 1995) it is important that nothing interrupts the magical experience. Breaking the magic can be grounds for immediate termination as a Disney employee. After the guest/suspect has left the cast member is directed to go back stage to report the illegal activity to Disney security. We will also look at how they fit or do not fit into the American cultural values as defined by Hofstede. In defining the two. When you are in “the business of fantasy” (Bryman. cast members are instructed not to say anything to the suspect. that statement is a way of life.
this employee knew that he should do something to make the Horvath family’s vacation a little bit more special. when his family arrived for breakfast. She nodded her head and said “Yes. If a cast member ever needs suggestions on what can be done to create a guest service recovery. a cast member will offer the guest not only new ice cream. he tells the story that he fondly refers to as “The Yogurt Story. Turning a negative experience into a positive experience is what guest service recovery is about. The guest service aspect that I will focus on for this research is Disney’s policy of guest service recovery. His little brother had only eaten strawberry yogurt for breakfast all of his life. everyday. Finding that the resort did not have strawberry yogurt. we’ll be doing this all over again. but a new shirt as well. A classic story of guest service came from Disney recruiter David Horvath (2004).” The next morning.24 would ruin the magic for those around. there was a fresh container of strawberry yogurt for the boy. Without even receiving a complaint. when his family stayed at a Disney resort. As he recruits across the country. the boy cried all morning through breakfast. all week. or just a way to brighten the guest’s day. It can be in response to a problem a guest is having. and that would not be Disney’s style of customer service. If a guest knocks their ice cream off of its cone and down their shirt. It involves going beyond the guest’s expectations. The cast member working at the restaurant that morning asked the mother if they would be back there for breakfast the following morning. they can just read the
. This is the Disney policy which empowers all cast members to do whatever is in there power to make a guest’s experience more enjoyable. These types of activities happen all day.” His story tells of his childhood.
but in order to have such a strong guest service culture. Therefore. theoretically no power distance. The guest service recovery policy can be seen by Disney as an attempt to eliminate uncertainty in its parks. or even executives. The United States is seen through Hofstede’s research as having a moderately weak uncertainty avoidance score. The power to meet these needs is dispersed through the organization. the company’s policy eliminates the
. the United States scored moderately. Therefore. what is seen from this aspect of Disney’s culture is a representation of power distance that could be termed significantly lower than the American norm. in addressing the needs of the guests. you buy it” policy exists. Lee Cockerel. From the viewpoint of power distance. The guest service culture can be linked to Hofstede’s values of power distance and uncertainty avoidance. and cast members rely more on their personal experience than on formal rules or chains of command to meet these needs. Brannen (2004) suggests that this service orientation is beyond the normal for most American businesses. and indeed this shows true through the research of Hofstede. Walt Disney World’s weekly newsletter written by Disney World’s Chief Operating Officer. Whereas in many American businesses a “you break it. Walt Disney World’s guest service recovery policy also defies the cultural norm on the uncertainty avoidance dimension. The guest service culture at WDW gives front line cast members the same power as managers. They can be certain that they will not have to buy anything that they did not want. Disney guests never have to worry about such things. nor will they have to be disappointed by something that they break or lose. it would be important to have.25 Main Street Diary.
” and is designed to introduce cast members to Disney’s “traditions. Training Program Walt Disney World is also very well known for its training program that all cast members must attend. and Disney products. the company presents a feeling of safety and certainty that are also hard to find in a country that thrives on uncertainty. on stage you could assume that they are all brothers and sisters. the Disney Company is creating a highly collective group of employees which work for the common good of the organization. The course is taught by the faculty at “Disney University. The rooms in which Traditions takes place are often decorated with pictures of the Walt Disney. Outwardly. called Traditions. organization. Where Americans have a desire to be treated as and act as individuals. While Disney cast members are still very individualistic when they are off stage. creating a more pleasurable guest experience. This training program deviates from the American norm of being a highly individualistic society. Through the interplay of abnormally seen cultural dimensions.26 uncertainty that is often found in the American society. Hofstede’s research showed that the United States was the most individualistic society in his research. Disney characters. not for themselves. The interactions of these two dimensions create a positive experience in Disney’s American theme parks. WDW has created a guest service policy that is highly regarded by the theme park’s guests. philosophies.
. This training. Internally. the policy breaks down power barriers to a greater level than which are usually seen in American companies. and the way we do business” (Collins et al. is very much an indoctrination into Disney’s unique corporate culture.).
By going through the Traditions course. This group. The park is full of attractions that are family oriented. Disney theme parks continually have a focus on education. on a level that is seen only in the few American companies with comparable training programs. as Hofstede defines it. and beliefs. This culture created by Disney’s training program creates a strong bond between employees. it hires from an in-group of people with the same personality traits and family centered beliefs. It is said that Walt Disney developed Disneyland as a place that he and his daughter could go to escape reality and just spend some quality time together. which is vital to its success. The WDW parks are less about thrills and excitement than they are about fantasy. symbols. there has always been a focus on the family. magic. This collectivist aspect is part of what allows Disney to have such a powerful and unmatchable corporate culture. the Disney Cast Members. and family fun. From the rides originally developed by Walt Disney such as the Carousel of Progress and the Hall of Presidents (formerly Great Moments with Mr. It creates a dedication and commitment to Walt Disney World and the ideals that are represented by it. While Disney does not hire from an ingroup of relatives.27 Disney’s policy is to hire for personality and train for skill. to the conservation theme of
. see appendix 2). That dedication to the family can be seen in everything that the Disney Company continues to do. Family Orientation Throughout the history of the Disney Company. Lincoln). employees become part of another in. which presents an outward appearance of being cult-like. This is an aspect that Hofstede defines as part of a collectivist culture. This in-group is very much a group of individuals who share the same value system that Disney exemplifies. has its own language (Disneyese.group.
But having this niche does not explain the overwhelming success of the park. This helps them to carve out their niche. These rides. cultures with high individualism index scores more often have nuclear families. The nuclear family is the market segment to which Disney is oriented. while feminine cultures generally have more unmarried cohabitation1 and flexible family concepts. If Disney theme parks were to abandon their roots as family based theme parks. and it the sales of its product are aimed at making children happy.”
. The high individuality of the United States also compliments the family oriented culture of WDW. 2001). while those with lower masculinity ratings are more apt to place importance on friends and acquaintances.28 Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the ever-changing Innoventions pavilion at Epcot (see appendix 3 for explanations of attractions). culture. we can see how this family orientation reflects the United States’ position as a highly masculine country. they would be just like any other amusement park. in an atmosphere that stimulates creativity and innovation. and themes are always indicative of the traditional family. parks. and attractions are all designed so the family can learn together. In relation to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. The ways that these aspects are reflected in society help to make Disney successful. When examining family values. the child tends to think more in terms of “I” (Hofstede. Hofstede found that countries with higher masculinity ratings place more importance on the family. Also. This is in response to the children’s understanding of “I. Disney’s advertisements. Also. As with masculinity. Hofstede found that masculine cultures are more dependent on these traditional family concepts. with the aspect of family.
Walt Disney’s theme parks have been known for their attention to detail. cleanliness. is the policy consisting of strict guidelines which establish the standards of appearance for all Disney employees. Disney pays fanatical attention to detail concerning their employees. He argues that the guests who went in and watched Alien Encounter would still be thinking about the green hair of their
. in The Hall of Presidents. It regulates things such as hair color and style. Horvath (2004) tells the fictional story of the girl with green hair who worked outside Disney’s Alien Encounter attraction. each animatronics president’s clothing is made using the common stitches of the time period. For example. earring sizes. The attention to detail is done on levels that guests can both recognize. and that they cannot. When walking through the park. Fanatical Attention to Detail Since the beginning. Cinderella’s Golden Carousel is not covered with gold paint. and more (Poisant. In addition to their attention to detail on the physical structures of the park. crews touch up paint that has been chipped or scuffed during the day. 2002). The Disney Look. Nightly. The success of Disney’s culture in being family oriented is a reflection of the importance the culture places on the family. a guest rarely finds a piece of trash on the ground. but adorned with 24 karat gold leaf (Connellan. When I examine this concept further in chapter six.29 The relationship that can be seen is a link between the values of the culture and the values of the organization. as it is called. smell. 1997). all cast members are trained to pick up anything that they see. jewelry. makeup. I will show one aspect of how the internationalization of Disney theme parks has detracted from that family oriented culture through the Disney alcohol policy. length of fingernails. sunglasses.
. which until the 1990’s was against the policy). himself. One Disney employee with whom I spoke said that half way through a shift his manager directed him to return to the cast locker rooms to shave. From the perspective of the consumer. The attention to detail which permeates the company’s culture shows how a sign (the policy) can be viewed differently by the consumer than by the employee. 2000). The positive experience caused by the Disney grooming policy can be correlated to Hofstede’s power distance index. employees. while there was much opposition to his strict dress code (which Walt. His research found that in low power distance countries like the United States. Disney’s strict rules are often secretly broken. Even cast members who do not work in the view of guests must conform to the policy. Often guests comment that Disney employees have a certain look about them (Poisant. and it is a major part of Disney’s current corporate culture. This policy also goes against the highly individualistic personalities that are typical of American employees at WDW. To the employees. subordinates and superiors have the understanding that they are alike one another. the policy is highly controlling and often unpleasant. did not follow: He had a mustache. with cast members hiding tongue piercing and wearing dirty uniforms. like that in the United States. Poisant (2002) explains that. 2002). although this conflict is often secretive. This can create a highly noticeable conflict between cast members and management. if necessary will try to break the rules (Hofstede. He had already shaved once that morning. In low uncertainty avoidance cultures.30 host instead of their visit to the attraction. but a long shift left him at work with a 5 o’clock shadow. the grooming policy is perceived as an attempt at perfection and adds to the overall experience at WDW. Walt fought for it.
This outward appearance becomes the signifier for the guest. improving the overall guest experience. in this case. it further breaks down the distance between employee and guest.
. but is defined the same as the first sign. This is the second sign. The example of Disney’s grooming policy provides an opportunity to look at the corporate practices in the context of Saussure’s semantic theory. The understanding of attention to detail and the breaking down of power distance are what is signified by the outward appearance of the cast member. while the signified is the cast member’s internal stress. Conclusion In the context of the American national culture. Figure 3. While not all is perfect as may seem from the external appearance. but outward appearance. The sign. If this were not the case. As viewed from the customer’s perspective. By creating this policy. the negative effects of the interplay between national and corporate culture are much less than the positive effects. is the Disney grooming policy and its effect on the employee.31 Disney’s policy reflects this. The typical cast member looks like what Walt Disney felt the “typical American” should look like. Disney’s corporate culture is unique in that it is strongly exemplified in the parks. Disney’s corporate culture is complimented by the cultural dimensions of the national culture in which is lays. treating each the same. this creates a constructed similarity between the guest and the cast member that plays on the low power distance of the American culture.1 illustrates this concept. The signifier is the physical grooming policy. This helps to create a product that is appreciated by both customers and employees. it is likely that the consumers would not be as likely to be effected by it.
I will examine the same business practices in the contexts of the Japanese and French national cultures. I will identify the clash in cultures that lead to the success in Tokyo Disneyland and the “cultural Chernobyl” of Euro Disneyland. and by adding the dynamics of Saussure’s semiotic theory.
.32 In the following chapters. By continuing to examine these practices in the context of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
teacher at Disney University. Disney would receive 10% of admissions profits and 5% of food and souvenir sales (Koren. 1990). it was decided that the land must be used for a major recreational facility. Over the next eight years (1966 – 1974). According to Pete Blank (2003). but they could not use the land for housing. 1990). Oriental Land was not too happy that this was the case. Oriental Land approached the Walt Disney Company with their proposal. They decided the most profitable recreational facility that they could produce would be a theme park (Koren. In exchange. The company granted them the right to use the land (in the case that they could persuade fishermen to give up the fishing rights). They decided upon the idea of modeling a Disneyland park for their property. was one of the company’s biggest blunders in its history. The eventual agreement by Oriental Land and Disney gave licensing rights to the Disneyland name to Oriental Land. 1990). Mitsubishi proposed a Disney Park near Mount Fuji. the Oriental Land Company traveled the world in search of the best theme park experience. but they chose to go ahead with the filling. In 1974. Mitsubishi soon dropped out of negotiations. There was early speculation that the Japanese would not be able to hold the park to
. but at the same time. speculation was that they were pressured by the government in a “you’ll get your turn” fashion (Koren.33 CHAPTER 4 Tokyo Disneyland Case Study The Oriental Land Company was developed as a partnership between Mitsui Real Estate Development and the Keisei Electric Railway. Instead. this small cut of the profits for Disney. which served as a management fee. In the 1960’s the company asked the government for the rights to fill in part of Tokyo Bay for developing the land for housing use.
and the top amusement park in Asia. in September 2001. A glass covering was added to the area in an attempt to deal with the climate driven issues of opening a park in Tokyo harbor. There were. has been replaced by a covered area called the World Bazaar. therefore. The goal of the Tokyo Disneyland Resort is to present the image of a vacation to America. The park was. This park has been just a successful as Tokyo Disneyland. This was proven false. 1992). but see how they fit into the cultural context of Japan. The entrance to the park. 1992). The Japanese attention to detail was superb at keeping the squeaky-clean Disney image (Koren. The success spurned the opening of a second gate. however a few changes made in the hard technologies of Disney in creating Tokyo Disneyland. Frontierland was renamed Westernland as a way of further appealing to the Japanese people (Tobin. developed to be a nearly exact replica of Walt Disney’s original Disneyland Park. Amusement Business Magazine (2004) consistently ranks Tokyo Disneyland as one of the most attended amusement parks in the world. By
. therefore. which in the American parks is called Main Street USA. while still actually being in Japan. much of Tokyo Disneyland was run the same as Walt Disney World. In other words. While the Walt Disney Company would have liked to include more traditional Japanese lands. Tokyo DisneySea. they thought that there may be problems transferring the company’s soft technologies. In addition it operates under the same licensing agreement as the Tokyo Disneyland Park. 1990).34 Disney’s high standards. We will. Outside of these changes. this was not the goal of the Oriental Land Company (Tobin. look at the same business practices that were analyzed in the previous case study.
The is a result of the fact that Disney’s business practices fit better into Japan’s national culture than in America’s. They hear the same stories that are heard at Disney parks around the world. Business Practices Brannen (2004) suggests that the more two countries national cultures overlap. and a cast member refilling it for them. In fact.35 using semiotic theory. Brannen (2004) suggests that while the strong orientation toward guest service may be considered hypernormal in the United States. This can be seen in the stories of Tokyo Disneyland employees as well. through service and magic. employees. one could hypothesize that the cultural differences between the United States and Japan would cause misinterpretation of the business practices.
. and consumers in Japan. it is more of a cultural norm in Japan. In fact. The example that follows shows an occasion when keeping the magic was more important than meeting the needs of the guest. Guest Service Orientation The Tokyo Disneyland culture focuses on guest satisfaction in the same way that Walt Disney World does. the differing interpretations of the business practices will be analyzed in their different contexts. evidence is presented by Raz (1999) that guest service is generally more important in Japanese culture than it is at Disney. Thus. of children dropping their box of popcorn. But there are differences in the ways that the strong guest service culture is perceived by the different national cultures. the less likely it becomes that there will be changing interpretations as business practices cross cultures. this section will present evidence that Disney’s business practices are easily understood by the Oriental Land Company.
The cast member indicated that he was told not to tell guests that the park has a parkwide public address system. but they are both relatively close. Both Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland have the same guest service policies in place. Rarely is the story told of a cast member refilling the popcorn box of an adult who has dropped it. a mentioned earlier. Disney. because it was only to be used in the case of an emergency. 1999). 1999) Other Tokyo Disneyland cast members point out that Disney’s stories of guest service always revolve around children. it is not appropriate to use the system.36 The example cited by a Tokyo Disneyland cast member dealt with park safety. they are merely adequate. we will again use Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. so even when a mother is missing her child. In Japan Hofstede’s dimension of power distance is higher than it was in the United States. To analyze this change in interpretation between the two cultures. where power
. then to write down any admissions of self-carelessness by the guest (Raz. but in the former they are considered as going above and beyond what is necessary. This suggests that the Disney idea of guest service is motivated by creating magic rather than a genuine interest in serving the guest. Cast members are instructed first to call their supervisor. creates a culture where everyone is on the same level. while in the latter. Excessive use would destroy the magic. then to call first aid. Another example in which Disney’s policies in guest service are questioned by the Japanese deals with their policy following personal accidents. The cast member suggested that bottom line is “the atmosphere is more important than actually helping people” (Raz. The aforementioned examples show the differences in the way the policies of Disney are interpreted differently in the two different cultures.
Also. Formal rules are important in this culture and subordinates are expected to be told what to do. The combined effects of this create a successful business. the higher power distance
culture says that cast members follow the rules of the organization. they organizations rules send them just far enough. This is also reflective of the country’s relatively collective culture. the business model of Disney is slightly below par with guest service ideals of the Japanese culture. In summary. and to do what they are told. The difference that
. which keeps the guests happy. we can suggest that Disney’s guest service policy is more in line with the Japanese cultural dimensions than the American cultural values. From a guest service perspective. and therefore it is their duty to serve the guest in the best way that they can. but are empowered to do more. Therefore. 2001). but is interpreted at a level which keeps guests satisfied none-theless (Brannen. From an internal organization perspective. Japan ranks very high on the uncertainty avoidance index (Hofstede. we suggested that Disney’s guest service orientation is a function of the uncertainty avoidance index. there is a contradiction. between the somewhat higher power distance of Japan and the low power distance of Disney (Hofstede. By looking at this. In the United States we inferred that the customer was appreciative of the low level of uncertainty associated with Walt Disney World’s policy of guest service recovery. 2001). they see higher power distances between themselves and the guest. They follow the rules of the organization. in so much as it helps the guests. While the United States is associated with weak uncertainty avoidance. While they feel that they could go further with service. 2004).37 distance is minimized. even though they may feel that they are not in the best interest of the guest. Cast members do as they are told.
In short.” which is a direct translation of the original Disneyland manual. the first being an orientation similar to the aforementioned “Traditions” which indoctrinates the new cast member into the ways of the Disney Company. in Japan employees already have an understanding of and are used to strict cultures. such as that of Disney (Raz. Training Program Tokyo Disneyland’s training and orientation programs are not unlike those at Walt Disney World. food and beverage. What is considered an excellent policy at WDW fits perfectly into the Japanese culture as an acceptable policy. (Raz.” Whereas in the American culture it could be considered hypernormal (Brannen. Raz (1999) suggests that this indoctrination into such a strong culture is “not that out-of-the-ordinary in Japanese terms. The interplay of the higher power distance and stronger uncertainty avoidance allow for a different interpretation of Disney’s guest service policies at Tokyo Disneyland than at Walt Disney World. 1999). 2004) for employees to go through a preliminary interview in which they are explained the culture of the organization and judged for fit. 1999). such a guest service policy fits perfectly into the high uncertainty avoidance culture in which Tokyo Disneyland resides.38 causes the hypernormal perception by WDW guests is virtually eliminated. such as merchandise. The cast members are also instructed to read the Tokyo Disneyland manual entitled “Tips on Magic. The second day part is training in the new hire’s line of business. The training program promotes and understanding and dedication to the Disney company and its brand. or attractions.
. The training consists of two parts.
both signified meanings still promote the success of the company instead of countering it. Whereas in the United States the collectivist culture of Disney is an anomaly. In Japan. In regards to Tokyo Disneyland’s alcohol policy. In this case. Disney is more than just a children’s world. Japan is a much more collectivist than the United States (although it is the most individualistic of the Asian nations (Hofstede.39 This can be seen in terms of Hofstede’s individualism/collectivism dimension. In that case. 2001)). the park had no alcohol. Therefore. it is the standard. which were hosted by Walt himself. When the park opened in 1983. the programs are perceived differently (signified) in the two contextually different cultures. Family Orientation While Tokyo Disneyland is not technically owned or run by the Walt Disney Company. But. This is a perfect example of the Saussure’s semiotic model of signs at work. but is instead perceived as normal. an aspect of its family friendly culture. The Disney Company has the same policy as the Oriental Land Company. The Japanese Mickey Kids television station shows many of Disney’s original television shows. the only Disney theme park which allowed alcohol was EPCOT Center. it makes magic for parents and children alike. it is guided by the Company’s core beliefs and values (by both tradition and a strict contract). which had opened a year earlier. One of those beliefs is that Disney should be a family friendly place. alcohol was allowed because it was an important part of the World Showcase
. and the policy is exemplified through the same training programs (signifier). the Disney training is not perceived as hypernormal. in Japanese culture.
As early as elementary school. the second park on the property (Mishma. Fanatical Attention to Detail Disney’s attention to detail. being a collectivist society. An
. The Japanese term “midashinami” refers to appearance management. there is more of an emphasis on giving and sharing (Raz. a marriage is not complete without children. and responsibility of children to their parents is important. Japanese children are taught to follow appearance management regulations. While the Japanese may be known for their saké. 2005). The cultural dimension of lower individualism also plays well toward the Japanese audience. but is allowed at Tokyo DisneySea. exemplified by its Disney Look policy. Currently. proves as an adequate match to Disney’s family oriented culture. the focus on “we” in a collectivist culture can be seen as a positive or a negative. 1999). is not something new to the Japanese. Families are larger because they are generally more extended. The masculine traits of the culture lead it to be a very successful place for Disney’s focus on the family. Being only slightly collectivist. a concept that the Japanese are very familiar with. In collectivist cultures. In such cultures happiness is discouraged. Japan. they understand that alcohol does not belong at a place with such a family orientation.40 theme. Also. the country’s culture has some aspects the clash and some that match with the Disney ideal of being a location for the whole family to enjoy. alcohol is not allowed at Tokyo Disneyland. But there are also negative effects of the collectivist culture. While children may be less demanding of the souvenirs purchased for them. Having a family orientation in a collectivist culture such as Japan fits well with many of the key points Hofstede (2001) found with collectivist family values.
Disney play to the idea that guests come to Disney theme parks expecting a certain experience. or back collar. deals with the trait of uncertainty avoidance. If a student’s hair is naturally curly. a Tokyo Disneyland employee responded that it is “not that strict” (Raz. Identity is based on the social system as opposed to the individual. if not expected. straight. this is an example of how Disney’s policies are interpreted by the more collectivist Japanese culture. Once again. 2001). Disney’s first attempt expanding to an international market proved to be a success for cultural reasons. in Japan it is part of typical Japanese business practices (Hofstede. and the attention to detail that Disney exudes makes sure that the guests’ expectations are met. When asked about the strictness of Disney’s grooming policy. in Japan it is seen as highly accepted. which in this context would be the company. 1999). they must inform the school and carry around a certificate showing such. Disney’s business practices transferred well into the Japanese national culture because the Disney culture and the Japanese culture
. eyebrows. In the context of the worker. whereas in the United States the grooming policy could be seen as an affront to one’s individual identity. Japan’s high uncertainty avoidance makes Disney fit well into that nation’s culture. 2001).41 example of this policy follows: All hair should be uniformly cut. when examined from the guest perspective. and for boys. the uncertainty eliminated by Disney’s attention to detail was an added benefit. Also. Conclusion Tokyo Disneyland. By implementing this policy. in the United States individualism is important. should not touch the ears. In the United States. in Japan individualistic is not an important personality trait (Hofstede. The grooming policy.
While this may be partly true. the less reinterpretation the business practices will have as they cross cultures. the Disney practices transferred well because the business cultures of Japan and the United States are similar. In the context of Tokyo Disneyland the idea is often expressed that there was a “Japanization” of Disneyland. such as the renaming of certain areas. As Brannen (2004) mentioned. In reality.
. it seems to only have had a prevalent effect on Disney’s hard technologies. went through very minor changes in their transfer across the Pacific Ocean. the closer two countries’ cultures are.42 had natural fit with one another. Based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. such as the aforementioned business practices. the practices transferred well because they were more representative of the Japanese business culture than American business culture. the practices of the Disney Company were actually more suited for business in Japan than for business in the United States. In this case. and changing of the main shopping area as earlier mentioned. Disney’s soft technologies. But more importantly.
which is themed as a space transport system at the Walt Disney World result. Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. Disney took a much greater stake in the development of its European park. As with the Tokyo Disneyland resort. The Walt Disney Company. and developed it into a more fantasy based attraction than those which are found in the other parks. returned Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to its French name. 2000). 1992 and reviews were scathing. real castles. Along the same vein. was reinterpreted and merged with the storyline of Jules Verne’s classic From the Earth to the Moon. This was in attempt to appeal to the Europeans. Throughout the 1980’s. trying to decide between a site in Marne-la-Vallée. the Space Mountain rollercoaster. The Spanish site had the advantage of a more amiable climate. The park opened on April 12. Euro Disney had attendance rates lower than expected and a considerable debt due to Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s disregard for the soaring costs of the project. and a site on the Mediterranean coast just outside of Barcelona. just outside of Paris. but the relatively central location and government incentives offered by the French eventually led to the selection of the 5.000 acre site in the French countryside (Lovelock. 1996). Also. who are used to seeing magnificent. Determined not to make the mistake that it did with Tokyo Disneyland.43 CHAPTER 5 Disneyland Paris Case Study On the coattails of the success of Tokyo Disneyland. Tomorrowland was re-themed Discoveryland in an attempt to appeal to the European tradition of looking discovery and innovation (Lainsbury. The Walt Disney Company turned its focus to Europe. the company negotiated with both the French and Spanish governments. many of the hard technologies were changed slightly. One journalist called the park a
2000). 2000). associating it more with Disney’s original vision.44 “cultural Chernobyl” and an Economist writer said that “Investors in Euro Disney might as well have climbed aboard Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. This changed the marketing plan of the park. and in the Japanese context the result was a business that fit well within the cultural norms. the American executive in charge of Euro Disney who spoke French
. Business Practices Upon the opening of Euro Disney. the word was associated with business. the word “Euro” may have sounded glamorous to Americans. Jitters about the theme park’s popularity are giving them a ride every bit as stomach-churning as Euro Disney’s famous roller-coaster. In September of 1994 the park was renamed Disneyland Paris. and differentiated the park from its first two years of bad press (Lainsbury. it was apparent that the French were not going to warm to the American management style being offered by the parent company and by Robert Fitzpatrick. As explained by Michael Eisner. and commerce. Whereas in the American cultural context these practices led to a hypernormal success. To examine Disneyland Paris is to examine the failures that can occur in cross cultural communications. By examination of Disney business practices in the context of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and in the context of Saussure’s semiotic theory. I will show the different outcomes that can occur from the different signified meanings of these business practices in the French cultures. the French example will show significant cultural discrepancies that lead the Disney business culture to not fit well within the French national culture.” This unsuccessful start led to a change of strategy (Lainsbury. but to the European market. currency.
the policy was considered intrusive and annoying. Because of this cultural difference. In the American culture the strong guest service orientation
. to the employee it was uncomfortable and uncalled-for. Philippe Bourguignon took the reigns of the park with the specific goal of trying to make the park more European. Disney’s management philosophy was to present an outward appearance of friendliness. In April 1993. this section will address changes made by Bourguignon which helped to eliminate the dissonance between American and French perceptions of these business practices. The idea of greeting each guest with a smile is something that is abnormal and unfamiliar to French culture. While at Disney’s American parks. hard on the outside but sweet on the inside. both the Euro Disney cast member and guest clashed with the guest service policy. 1996). Guest Service Orientation Brannen (2004) suggests that the service orientation of Disney is contrary to French cultural norms. What is changed is the signified. Brown (2004) suggests that their personalities can be compared to a coconut.45 and was married to a French woman. In addition. something unfamiliar to the French. the policy is enacted in the same way both at Walt Disney World as at Euro Disney. the sign is the guest service orientation and what it means to the employee or guest. In describing the French. and the way that these policies were interpreted by their French recipients. To the French guest. at Euro Disney it was considered a weakness. This section will analyze the business practices that Disney brought to France in its creation of Euro Disney. but still holding onto its American roots (Lovelock. The signifier is constant. this dissonance was considered a competitive advantage of the park. In the context of Saussure’s semantic theory.
the difference between the American and French culture is greater than the
. In contrast. the more easily their policies will mesh. the difference in power distances between Disney and France are significant and therefore create a dissonance that makes Disney’s service culture seem abnormal. This indicates a stronger tendency towards a work culture that focuses on higher authority and a more tiered hierarchy. This is an example of Brannen’s (2004) suggestion that the closer cultures are. As earlier mentioned. because the power distance was only moderate. it was able to reinforce the Disney corporate culture. we will use these same cultural dimensions. we examined the acceptance of the guest service culture in the context of power distance and uncertainty avoidance.46 represents a hypernormal service policy that is in the best interest of the guests. France’s power distance score is significantly higher than either Japan or the United States. The same policy is being interpreted differently as a result of differences in culture. To keep the analysis constant. the French see the policy as intrusive and uncomfortable. 2000). In our previous two examples. At Euro Disney. the policy of guest service recovery (in which the cast member is empowered to fix the problem) is really an example of low power distance. we will once again refer to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. At Tokyo Disneyland. The reality is that the Disney guest service policies do not fit this cultural dimension at all. Figure 5.1 shows this concept in Saussure’s semantic model. To examine the reason for this dissonance between the American and French signified meanings for this sign. In this case. The French power distance dimension would also focus on a centralized decision making structure with expressed formal rules (Hofstede.
47 difference between the American and Japanese. It is due to that that we see greater dissonance. In regards to the dimension of uncertainty avoidance, French culture lies between Japan and the United States, but is closer to the Japanese score than the American. It would appear, therefore, that the guest service polices, which eliminate uncertainty, would fit well into the French culture as the do in the Japanese culture. In fact, the interplay of both of these two cultural dimensions is very similar to the scores given to the Japanese. Yet, the results and interpretation are very different. The deeper analysis of the uncertainty avoidance dimension provides a reason for this intuitive dissonance. Hofstede found that the French agreed with the uncertainty avoidance statement “I only follow the instructions of superiors when my reason is convinced.” This indicates that the French must be convinced to follow the procedures of the company, and it is clear that the French are not convinced that high levels of service are what the guests or cast members want. Lovelock (1996) cites one Euro Disney executive as saying that “the French are not known for their hospitality. But Disney is.” This creates a dissonance that is an important manifestation of the aforementioned uncertainty avoidance statement. Therefore, there is an animosity toward the policies, even though they eliminate uncertainty avoidance. Figure 5.2 shows this concept in the context of Saussure’s semantic theory. While Hofstede’s values of power distance and uncertainty avoidance are similar in Japan and France, the transfer of corporate policies between the national cultures yields significantly different results. Deeper analysis shows that the nuances of these
48 cultural dimensions seem to project the reasoning for such distinct differences in interpretation of the signified meanings of the guest service polices in Japan and France. Training Program According to Brannen (2004), the training policies of The Disney Company, which include such courses as “traditions,” are viewed as totalitarian in the context of French national culture. The Disney Company did little to soften that image during the development of Euro Disney, and in fact, seemed to cultivate the feeling with its American attitude. In the 1990 Annual Report the company made it “a leading priority to indoctrinate all employees into the Disney service philosophy, in addition to training them in operational policies and procedures” (Lovelock, 1996). Those who were suggesting a Disney cultural imperialism seem to be vindicated by Disney’s policy statements and goals. Looking at this policy of indoctrination from the perspective of Hofstede’s individualism and collectivism spectrum, we can see differences that lead to the signified meaning (totalitarian) of Disney’s training policies. On this scale, France falls about half way between the highly individual American culture and slightly collective Japanese culture. In the context of the American culture, we suggested that the training program was hypernormal because it lay outside the norm in a positive way. In France, it is apparent that the policy is not considered positive. Hofstede (2001) explains this as an example of the interplay between France’s high individuality and large power distance. He calls this dependent individualism. He suggests that the French (as well as other cultures that fit into this group) have a need for authority, but they reject the collectivity of the company.
49 To exemplify this concept we look can look at the idea of Disney’s “traditions” course. The French have a moderately large power distance rating. This allows them to understand and ultimately thrive on the importance of such programs as the training program offered by Disney. While they understand the importance, they are in conflict because Disney’s training indoctrinates them into a highly collective organization. The signifier in this model is the training course itself. The signified is the feeling of totalitarian leadership, which is a result of the dependent individualism. This, as Hofstede (2001) explains is an intrinsically contradictory attitude. This creates the negative attitude toward the policies. Family Orientation To look at family orientation at Euro Disney, we see that some concepts of family orientation are different than in the United States, creating one of the most prevalent and detailed examples of Saussure’s concept of recontextualization. First we will examine the effects of Hofstede’s cultural values in the acceptance of the family oriented business practices, then we will look at Disney’s alcohol policy and the reason that it did not transfer into the French culture. First, we analyzed the family orientation of Walt Disney World in the context of masculinity. The French culture values femininity more than masculinity, according to Hofstede (2001), though not by much. Therefore, we still see an acceptance and cohesiveness of the family orientation aspect of Disney with the masculinity-femininity index. Where Euro Disney did not mesh was with the sales of souvenirs. I look at this in terms of family orientation because souvenirs, according to the American paradigm,
1997). allowing the sale of wine and beer at four of its restaurants (Lovelock. The reason that Walt Disney banned alcohol from Disneyland was “to create a safe.50 represent the memory of the vacation and are often mementos for children (Brannen. Euro Disney changed its alcohol policy. 1996). children are less subject to the idea of “I” (Hofstede. we see a distinct change in the policy as it crosses national borders. 2001). At Euro Disney. In the terms of American culture. Some analysts say that this decision showed deference to French and European culture over the typical American attitude of Euro Disney (Lainsbury. The sign at Walt Disney World was the concept of being family oriented. The signifier was the prohibition on alcohol. represented by the prohibition on alcohol. Euro Disney’s sales of souvenirs were significantly lower than anticipated in its early financial projections (Hartley. The signifier to the
. that analysis does not hold true. The French consume alcoholic beverages such as wine on a daily basis. family haven. boisterous behavior” (Lainsbury. 2000). 2000). and the signified was the family atmosphere. Applying Saussure’s semantic theory. a more detailed analysis is needed. and to remove it from their daily regimen can be seen as stepping on their personal liberties (Lainsbury. we analyzed the Disney policy banning alcohol from its park as a reflection of its family orientation. This caused reduced sales to the customers. In the example of Disney’s alcohol policy. Because the French are less individualistic than Americans. while still showing an acceptance of the family oriented culture. In June 1993. When transferred to France the sign needed to be changed because it clashed with French culture. free of drunken. 2000). 2004).
This statement exemplifies the concept that Disney
. Therefore at Euro Disney. Understanding this difference has caused Disney to change its policy not only at Euro Disney. The concept of being family oriented is a function of numerous policies. The “Euro Disney Look” manual says that “Euro Disney is a show… an immense. Euro Disney is no exception to this concept. Further. Figure 5. Disney’s family orientation shows that in some cases the cultural transfer of business practices is hard to predict because it can rely on both cultural practices and cultural dimensions. its standard cultural practices show that a family oriented philosophy is represented by different signifying practices.51 French was the prohibition on alcohol. not this one alone.4 shows the reciprocal model as it relates to Disney’s alcohol policy. While Euro Disney supports a family oriented philosophy (which is in step with its cultural dimensions). It is an important part in the guest experience. therefore the company can change this and still be seen as family oriented. not family orientation. since the opening of Euro Disney. but at its new parks around the world. threedimensional show in which our guests are the audience… and in which our cast members are the actors” (Lainsbury. a policy shift reconciled this difference. Note that while The Disney Company has changed their alcohol policy to allow alcohol at their new parks. The Disney Company is known for its attention to detail. 2000). they have not lost their family orientation. This signified an out-of-touch company. This represents the reciprocal model provided by Brannen (2004). all new Disney parks have been built with policies that allow the sale of alcohol. Fanatical Attention to Detail As earlier identified.
The French saw the personnel management detail issues as invasive into the private nature of the individual (Brannen. places a high level of emphasis on the individual over the collective.
. This dissatisfaction with the grooming policy can be seen as a reflection of Hofstede’s (2001) individualism dynamic. 2004). 2001) that causes the union leaders and society in general to feel for the plight of the Euro Disney cast member. but it was seen that Disney took those guidelines too far. 2000). As with other Disney policies. we see that Euro Disney cast members feel that the policy can be thoroughly annoying. the more collective nature of the French in relation to America gives them the “we” consciousness (Hofstede. it met stiff resistance at Euro Disneyland. and makeup such as eyeliner and lipstick were banned (Lainsbury. Regulations were imposed on such things as fingernail length and skirt length. In fact. A representative from one of France’s largest unions attacked the policy saying that it impeded upon the employee’s personal liberties. Whereas the American customer seems to appreciate the attention to detail shown by the Disney Look (refer to Figure 3. and turns it into an event through its attention to detail.1). It is comparable to the policies mentioned earlier at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. it is rated in Hofstede’s top ten individualistic countries. what was strong at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland was considered problematic at Euro Disney. As with the Walt Disney World case study. France. Whereas in the United States and Japan the “Disney Look” is accepted. It was understood the companies may need to impose guidelines to strengthen the image of their firm. “The Euro Disney Look” is the policy guidebook that sets the guidelines for personal grooming at Euro Disney. as mentioned earlier.52 takes an ordinary activity such as shopping.
Included in these policy changes were the allowance of red lipstick and pink and red hued nail polishes. the same result can be seen in the case of the “Disney Look.” Because of the way the policy was signified in France. Therefore. were already at odds with Disney) led the changing of this policy to make it more in tune with the French national culture. and how they were interpreted by the culture. Further. and it signified an attack on individualism. Conclusion
. the grooming policy has been changed to indicate an acceptance of lipsticks and colored fingernail polishes. The original concept would have been for the signified to be “attention to detail to present the best guest experience. The urgings of these external forces (who due to all of the previous problems. external forces such as the union leader earlier mentioned attempted to defend the rights of the individual. 2005). 1996). The signifier therefore was the grooming policy itself.53 The sign for this policy was that the Disney grooming guidelines. in a similar way as the change in alcohol policy ultimately resulted in a company-wide policy change.” Currently at the Walt Disney World resort. The “Euro Disney Look” was changed because “what is considered classic beauty in Europe was not considered classic beauty in America” and vice-versa (Lovelock. More recent changes have allowed corn-row hairstyles and hoop-earrings (Disney. which were a function of attention to detail. we see that there is an overall change in policy as a result of the dissonance between the intended signified and the actual signified related to the grooming policy in France.
we showed that the modifications in a policy for the improvement of that policy’s acceptance in one culture can lead to a change in the parent company’s policy. While the park had problems in its first few years. in the long term. they may. the company
. Whereas Disney’s practices transferred well into Japan. this chapter also showed the reflexive concept of reinterpretation of signs. and the way that they interact with one another. While intuitively. that caused the relative failure of Euro Disney in its early years. be setting strategic policy decisions. This is because of the interplay of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. cultural decisions. Deeper analysis shows that there are key differences in the individual cultural dimensions. many of the aspects of French culture appear to be similar to American culture leading on to assume that the practices would be transferred similarly. accenting them to a greater extent. the negative sentiment toward the Disney Company caused a spotlight to be put on those differences. Euro Disney had its problems due to a clash between the Disney culture and the French culture. in the case of France. they had much less success transferring to France. I would be remiss if I did not also point out that anti-American sentiment played a role in its early failures. This is something of which companies with a centralized decision making process should be aware. With the alcohol and grooming guideline examples.54 The differences between the cultures of France and Japan lead to the differences in the way that the Disney corporate practices were interpreted in each case. In addition to the idea that we must fully analyze the data to get past the intuitive. Overall. While this chapter suggests that Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are essential in determining the success of the transfer of business practices. In making regional.
along with the renaming of the park Disneyland Paris. has helped the park remain the top amusement park in Europe. and the actual signified meanings of their policies.
. This.55 took the steps necessary to reconcile many of the differences between the intended signified meanings of their policies.
The most accepted and widespread research on cultural differences is the work done by Hofstede (1984) in which he identified four spectrums2 of cultural dimensions. it is essential to have a way of distinguishing differences in cultural norms. Greater degrees of foreignness create greater likelihood that the practices will not be accepted by the new culture (Brannen. the business practices which are imbedded in this culture produce variably different results. and the further expansions on it by Barthes (1967) and Brannen (2004). This culture is highly effective in creating a sustainable business in the United States. Just as words have meanings in different contexts. In order to understand how different cultures will interpret the business practices. Using Saussure’s (1966) semiotic theory. The Disney Company has a strong corporate culture that it has developed over the past fifty years of theme park operation. This can be done by establishing various degrees of foreignness from the culture in which the business practices were formed. we are able to view business practices as a system of signs. This is the system that I used in identifying the differences between the American. in the same way that words and objects can be seen a signs. the business practices can have different meanings in different cultural contexts. 2004). but can have numerous different signified meanings. By using these four
. and French cultures. When transferred to the foreign cultures of Japan and France. the nation in which it was founded.56 CHAPTER 6 Analysis and Conclusion The example of The Walt Disney Company provides model from which we can see how business practices are transferred across cultures. Japanese. in which Disney theme parks reside. These signs maintain the same signifier across cultures.
For this research. it is possible to see the reasons that Disney had problems transferring their business practices from Walt Disney World to Euro Disney. In regards to Tokyo Disneyland. in which I took into consideration some established cultural norms. This would provide for a more detailed insight into the reasons for the changes in signified as signifiers cross international cultural boundaries. Therefore. as well as cultural norms and other aspects of the country’s national cultures. they would have found that. Companies which are considering international expansion can use this model to analyze the culture of the company into which they would like to expand. except in the case of Euro Disney. In reality. while externally it appears that Walt Disney World and Japanese culture have little in common. Had Disney examined the culture into which it moved. the company’s business practices are very similar to standard cultural practices in Japan. they would have found several items of great interest. they can analyze the future acceptance of their business practices and use this as one of the criterion on which they base their decision to internationalize. and success transferring those same practices to Tokyo Disneyland. future research into the examination of business practice transfer by way of semiotics should examine each practice in terms of all five of Hofstede’s dimensions. The case of Disney shows the need for such a detailed analysis. more than one gauge is needed to fully examine the degree of foreignness. By applying a detailed analysis to the semiotic model.
. internally. This concept could be used further to predict the acceptance of soft technologies as they cross national borders.57 original dimensions. I used no more than two of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to analyze the foreignness.
there is little foreignness between the Walt Disney World corporate culture and the culture of Japan. and therefore reaped the financial rewards of having the most successful park in the Pacific Rim (Amusement Business. 2004). particularly in the context of Hofstede’s cultural dynamics and other
. better results can be provided. Knowing this may have convinced Disney to increase their investment in the original development of Tokyo Disneyland. France and Japan had some cultural dimensions that were very similar to one another. To alleviate this problem. they created a serious dissonance with the French culture. but further examination showed cultural differences which. Further. Disney edited its personnel grooming policy to create one that was more acceptable to the French. This signified showed that the signifier had a negative connotation within the French culture. we see that when a signified clashes with a country’s culture. Whereas the business practices fit well into Japan’s national culture. using this examination would have shown that there were significant differences between implementing the company’s soft technologies in Japan and in France. The Disney Look policy in France was seen as overbearing and an attack on individuality. when taken into consideration showed that there was a likelihood that the two cultures would have different signified meanings of the business practices. This can be seen by the case of the Disney Look.58 In fact. This caused the French not to accept policies such as the Disney look. By analyzing the acceptance of a certain signifier. In the case of Euro Disney. it is important to note that by using more measures of foreignness. an improvement in employee or customer acceptance can be made by changing the signifier to one that has a more desirable signified. Additionally.
. as companies expand internationally. One interesting phenomenon that was identified was the ability for one of the aforementioned changes to penetrate the whole organization. If the trend indicated in this thesis is true on a large scale. For example. it appears that as Tyson (1997) indicates. an organization can best tailor their policies to be accepted by the culture of the country into which they are entering. the company’s policy on allowing alcohol at Euro Disney seems to be common policy at Disney parks. they will take their soft technologies with them. Also. international expansion may lead to loosely defined cultural differences in the 21st century. the company seems to be imitating their expansion into France by directly replicating the company’s soft technologies. these technologies will adapt first locally. and as needed. Disney is currently issuing on-the-job training for 500 Hong Kong Disneyland employees at the Walt Disney World Resort. This opportunity to learn about the culture of Disney is important. All parks opened since then now have locations to purchase alcohol. Thus far. the change in the Disney Look policy that was made for the Euro Disney is now standard Disney Look policy at Walt Disney World.59 measures of foreignness. but some of the Chinese feel that cultural differences will be lost on the people in their home country. It will take an ownership stake similar to Euro Disney than to Tokyo Disneyland. Hong Kong Disneyland In September 2005. then disseminate into the organization at large. Therefore. the Walt Disney Company will open Hong Kong Disneyland as its flagship park in China.
In Japan. Using Saussure’s semiotic theory as the mechanism for analyzing this. the compromise creates a uniquely American experience. but instead to look at the culture of the country into which you are moving. and measures of foreignness such as Hofstede’s cultural dimensions as the context. the success of the transfer of a company’s business practices as the company expands internationally is best understood by how that practice will be interpreted by the employees and customers who will be affected by the practice. That is what has made Disney a success in the United States and Japan. who is continuing to pursue international expansion. the failure to compromise early created an impression of arrogance and the lower-than-anticipated attendance that punctuated the first two years of the park’s existence.60 My recommendation to a company such as Disney. a company can better predict the acceptance that their soft technologies will have in the new national culture. In France. In the United States. and develop a compromise between corporate culture and national culture. is not to take a one-size-fits-all view of the corporate business practices. while still meeting the needs of employees and customers. cultural differences between the business and nation create a better than average company. In conclusion.
. a value that was not used in this research due to the complexity and restraints of adding this fifth value. with the ultimate goal of being married. Hofstede’s research shows that cohabitation in low masculinity cultures is often a long term commitment which involves the decision not to marry. 2 Hofstede and Bond later collaborated to develop the “Confucian Dynamic” later called long-term orientation. where couples are more often moving in together as a sign of commitment or for convenience. This is different than the cohabitation that is taking place in the United States.1
In regards to cohabitation.