Euro Disney Case | France | The United States

Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057

UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE

GSBS6484 Cross Cultural Negotiation and Management Dr. David Collins
Case study Report Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057

1

Comparing French and American Cultures using Hofstedes 5D Model: Obtained from Hofstede. 2011 The dimensions can be explained using the figure above. This report compares the cultures of France and America using Hofstedes five dimension model and Trompenaars model. Euro Disney case is an example of this scenario where it failed to understand the culture of France. From the diagram. France has high power distance than United States. 1994). The acceptance of the strict dress code by thousands of employees even when it is criticised by labour organisations without protest is an example for this high power distance. Power Distance: This is a measure of the extent to which power is believed to be distributed equally in a culture or an organisation (Luthans &Doh.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 Introduction: Understanding cultures is important for successful implementation of global HR and business strategies (Higgs. 2 . 2008). The report then continues to analyse and discuss the mistakes of Disney followed by the lessons that could be learnt from this case.

masculine if the values are success. money and things. French guests were also very uncomfortable when pushed against each other without private space.e. The uncertainty index of the French is very high compared to the Americans. The people took the waning of France-Soir and didn’t risk facing busy and congested roads which imply that they are risk avoiding. dominance and coherence culture are essential qualities of successful companies (Trigg & Trigg. 2008). Americans are more individualistic than French. ambiguity and create beliefs to avoid such scenarios. From the figure. Long term orientation cultures are quick and determined whereas short term oriented cultures are based on tradition and fulfilling social obligations. Long-term Orientation: This is a measure of the orientation of the culture towards future and its visionary goals. The ambition to grow. succeed and maximise profits motivated Walt Disney Company to venture into Europe in search of new opportunities to expand. 1995). The investment of $2. feminine if the values are caring for others and quality of life. It was found that masculine i. According to the five dimension model. Uncertainty Avoidance: This dimension measures how much people are willing to face uncertainty. The strict dress code implemented is viewed as a breach of privacy and individualism by the French.5 billion by Disney demonstrates its long term orientation whereas adhering to the traditions suggests a short term orientation is favourable for France Comparing French and American Cultures using Trompenaars dimensions: Universalism vs Particularism: 3 . US are more masculine.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 Individualism: This measures the extent to which individuals are associated with the surrounding society and also look after themselves and their immediate family (Luthans &Doh. Masculinity: This is a measure of the dominant values in society i.e.

Nuetral vs Emotional: Neutral is where people do not exhibit emotions while Emotional is where emotions are clearly expressed.S. Both the countries in this case are emotional. They perceived that guests enjoy as a result of the employees actions (Forman. Specific vs Diffuse: Specific culture is where people guard their private space strongly and accept anyone into their public spaces. U. U. The French couldn’t let anyone close within their arm’s length when standing in the queue for the rides at Euro Disney. is the country where a maximum people are inner directed.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 Universalistic culture is the one which believes that the rules. 1998). Achievement culture is one in which status is obtained by achievement and in ascription cultures. Particularistic. is certainly an achievement culture where a person is regarded based on his achievement. Achievement vs Ascription This dimension measures the method through which social status is accorded to a person. 2008). guests enjoy”. regulations and policies are universal and can be applied anywhere without modification. Disney did not realise that French were a part of a distinct culture and its methods may not work there. on the other hand perceives that rules and regulations are distinct for the culture (Luthans &Doh. Motivated by the success of its three theme parks. The THREE mistakes made by the Walt Disney Company: 4 . The environment: Inner directed vs Outer directed This measures if the people believe that the outcomes are a result of their own actions or if they flow with the course of actions. Example: Walt Disney. it is achieved based on whom you know (Luthans &Doh. The motto of Euro Disney’s employs was “we do the work. In a diffuse culture both public space and private space are guarded. This is demonstrated by the egg throwing at the CEO of Disney at the inauguration to express the dissatisfaction by the French. 2008).S.

1999). Hence. 1995. 1998). The French place much emphasis on how and what of food (Packman & Casmir. 1995). social and physical environments. Negative infiltration strategy and lack of cultural sensitivity used by Euro Disney has resulted in a loss of reputation. 3. people look for holiday for a day or two and a show to spend the evening unlike Americans who spend 3-4 weeks holidays. Many French believed that Disney is happy and they want everyone else to be happy about it (Trigg et al. 1999). Curwen. The land that has been used for cultivating sugar beets and Brie cheese which was profitable to the local farmers and been a part of the culture has been expropriated from them and been sold to Disney without profit which upset the farmers. 5 . This separation from the French prevented it from reaching out to them. For example. It is argued that the main reason for Disney’s failure is that it failed to realise that organisations are not separate. money and time. Tokyo Disneyland paid royalty payments every year even at the time of recession. 1995). Disney has failed to capitalise on the internal opportunities inherent in the project and to maximise their returns. the attendance was low at Euro Disney. 1993). In France. The use of English for advertisements is a major drawback to communicate with local businesses. The European habits of vacations are quite different from USA. distinct entities capable of functioning outside their cultural. Being an Individualistic country by itself. USA failed to respect the individualism and privacy of the French by providing strict guidelines for appearance and dress code. Management relied too heavily on Disney’s prior success and image (Spencer. $2 billion from Tokyo which was all lost in this mistake at Paris.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 1. 1995). Occupying most of the managerial level jobs with people who strive to achieve “the squeaky clean image” with strict rules are another major constraint that gave critics and media to protest the corporate image of Disney (Forman. 2. For 11 years Disney earned. The geographical and cultural differences were not paid attention to. Disney perceived that the surrounding environment is competitive and operated separately from it (Packman and Casmir. French farmers respect themselves as contributing to the quality ingredients of French food. French are also not keen spenders when it comes to finances (King. Poor management and high prices when compared to the other parks to recoup the investments have affected the attendance (Trigg et al.

A simple strategic alliance with established firms would have been profitable without affecting the parks performance. Disney invested with a projection of 11 million guests every year. 6 . 1995). 1995).S Dollar had no control over the Franc. 1995). The media constantly argued that Disney made minor adjustments according to the French culture. behaviour on the operations of Euro Disney. Products must be adapted and integrated according to the needs and customs of the overseas clients.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 The lessons the company should have learned about to how to deal with diversity are: Accepted international marketing practices should be embraced by organisations to strategically enter into overseas markets (Spencer. The case clearly suggests Disney tried to administer all the aspects of Euro Disney and failed to form strategic alliances with the local businesses. Proper research into the customs and practices of the host culture must be done to avoid such disasters. Americans pursued French as drunkards for drinking wine with the meal whereas French pursued that drinking coke with meal if thought to be exotic (Spencer. 1995). it is necessary to pay attention to all these conditions related to finances is required. 1995). Euro Disney was claimed to be a victim of cultural snobbery. To combat these strategic alliances must be encouraged. More thought into the climatic conditions was required that effect consumers were required (Spencer. It is found that a combination of managers involving both expatriates and host managers where knowledge transfer occurs is found successful (Harvey and Novicevic. but failed to anticipate the effect on cash flow if the attendance is less (Curwen. As globalisation is growing. Care must be taken when employing staff overseas so that incidents like the “Howdy” does not happen. It is also important to note that the U. 1995). The failed alliance with the construction company to finish work on time is an example. If research was done into the holiday habits of the Europeans and averted the building of hotels. Disney should modify their rules and policies. would have saved time and money (Spencer. which moved against sterling (Curwen. 1994). Disney believing in their unrivalled success failed to realise that it is the customer who is ultimately paying the bills. 2000). The HR strategy must be aligned with the global strategy (Higgs.

The mistakes committed by Disney are analysed and the lessons learnt from this case are discussed briefly. Conclusion: The above discussion illustrates the importance of understanding cultural differences between the expatriate country and the host country. strategic HR management. It is important to research well in to the culture. 7 . norms and practices must be calculated perfectly for a company to be successful overseas. geographical data and opportunities before entering a foreign market. the rules and regulations. understanding culture from all aspects is highlighted.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 The analysis of Euro Disney suggests that the operation costs. consumer behaviour. employee costs. the customer attitudes and behaviours. No matter how successful a company is. cultural differences.

and Behaviour. 229-238 Packman. 23-28 Hofstede. (1995) Disney's European theme park adventure: a clash of cultures. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal.P. 2.J. Strategy..L. 95. & Doh. (1994) Global HR management and cross cultural issues. 9th July . 35. Journal of World Business. D. P. (1998) Corporate Image and the Establishment of Euro Disney: Mickey Mouse and the French Press.com/ King.S. (1995) Euro Disney: What Happened? What Next?. European Business Review. Retrieved from.Ali Mogbel Alharbi 3084057 References: Curwen. E. M.61. 2. 1. 103-114 Trigg.R.Concern. (1993) Euro Disney third quarter loss to spur study of woes by U.geert-hofstede. M. 5. Learning from the Euro Disney Experience : A Casestudy in international/intercultural communication. 13-22 8 . 2011. http://www. Technical Communication Quarterly. International Communication Gazette. F. F. 7th Ed. 3. Wall street Journal Luthans. M. 15-21 Forman. Staffing Global Marketing Positions: What We Don’t Know Can Make A Difference. Novicevic. J. 7. 6. 3. 1. 3. 247-258 Harvey. Journal of International Marketing. 473-489 61: 473 Spencer. M.C & Trigg. 3. Geert-Hofstede Cultural Dimensions. 80-95 Higgs.M.H & Casmir. (2000). M. New York: McGraw Hill. (1995) EuroDisney: The mouse that roared (not!). T. (1999). Cross cultural management: an international journal. (2009) International Management: Culture.

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