Case Study: Euro Disneyland
1. Using Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions as a point of reference, what are some of the main cultural differences between the United States and France? Some of the perceptions on how Americans see French people include: flamboyance, arrogance, being emotional and hierarchal. In the other hand, perceptions of how French people view Americans include: being aggressive, workaholic, unprincipled and naive. Power distance is the extent to which employees, or less powerful members of companies, institutions and organizations accept that there should be an equal distribution of power. In American and French cultures, power distance is not distributed equally. In these cultures, it is derived from the level of management and the position one has in terms of power distance relationship. Second, uncertainty avoidance – it is the extent to which people create beliefs when they feel threatened by ambiguous situations in order to avoid them. This cultural dimension is relative in both French and American cultures. In both cultures, threatening situations exist and personnel are advised to avoid risky and ambiguous situations as much as possible. Third, individualism. Individualism is the inclination of people to look after, foremost, themselves and their immediate family only. American culture is highly characterized and depicted by individualism. In organizations, employees look after oneself along with his immediate family. In the other hand, the French always highlight group and team dynamics. They always emphasize what is best for the group. And lastly, masculinity; masculinity is very apparent in American culture where money, success and material things are valued dominantly. In the French culture, on the other hand, there exists a tradeoff to femininity because they do not emphasize materialism. 2. In what way has Trompenaars’ research help explain cultural differences between the United States and France? According to Trompenaars’ research, there are several cultural differences between the French and American culture. The four organizational cultures that he highlighted are: Eiffel Tower Culture - which is characterized by strong importance on orientation and hierarchy to the task; followed by Family Culture which focuses on orientation and hierarchy to the person; Guided Missile Culture which stresses the importance of orientation to the task and equality in the workplace; and lastly, Incubator culture which characterizes strong emphasis on orientation to the person and equality. In the USA, there exists an egalitarianism philosophy that is mainly characterized by a guided missile type of culture. This type is further exemplified by the presence of a formal organization that promotes task orientation and support for people in the workplace. In this type of work environment, a manager is the one making decision for the greatest good of the group, for the greatest number. In the northwestern European culture, the Eiffel Tower organizational culture is then exemplified. The French is more laid back, subdued, and includes traditional approaches to their management style. In the French culture, a bureaucratic organization is common.
3. In managing its Euro Disneyland operations, what are three mistakes that the company made? Explain. A mistake that Euro Disneyland made is their lack of fully understanding the French culture. Their decision to serve wine in Euro Disneyland restaurants was an essential factor to meeting the needs of the French culture. Another fault of Euro Disneyland’s management was their lack of communication to and between French farmers, politicians, villagers, and even bankers. And last was their excessive admission pricing into the theme park and hotels as well as food purchases. This investment then became a so-called cultural Chernobyl. It was further characterized as...
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