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Disney, a Global Culture

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  1. A global business and a cultural model?
  2. Issues
  3. Tokyo and Paris, up and down: the learning experience
  4. The chinese challenge ahead

In this case study, we will look at the way Walt Disney has developed its business worldwide, the subsequent local reactions, its success and failures and ultimately the relevant modifications essential for the company.
We will analyze the Walt Disney business model, and its three international establishments and experiences in Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong. Evaluating the reasons for the successes and failures of the cultural contextualization is important in international business, we will assess the specific issues of each case and the learning experience of the Disney Company, highlighting the cultural challenges supported by academic researches in this area.
In this analysis, we will provide recommendations for the Disney Company in order to improve its performance in Hong Kong.

This report is designed in three main parts:
An overall personal reflexion about the globalization of culture and business models along with the Americanization/ Westernization trend.
Then an analysis of the CS issues and cultural/business explanations of the successes and failures when looking at Disney's international learning experiences in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.
And last, suggestions of specific recommendations for Disney to deal with Hong Kong project's aftermaths, based on relevant scholar frameworks.

I decided not to include a distinct literature review, but rather included various academic findings throughout the report .

A global business and a cultural model?

Walt Disney is the decisive model of the American culture, and to a broader extent, of the Western culture. In addition to the purely cultural emphasis of the Occidental world's symbols, it is the perfect business illustration of the capitalism model put forward in developed countries. Moreover, the fact that it was born in the US, then extended worldwide, makes it a model of the globalization trends respected by the western values, i.e. the imperialism behavior (American continent exploration, Catholicism crusade/ holy wars, European colonies, MNC's increasing supranational power). However, by moving out of America, these cultural and business models face both successes and failures. The reasons underlying such outcomes could have been initiated from the cultural gap between the conquistadors and the colonized, which refers to the acculturation process.
When analyzing this case, I could not segregate the business and cultural models, and also the conflicts over the different models worldwide. Hence, the question of a global culture versus cultural diversity seems obvious. Furthermore, the intention of expanding a model (business and/or cultural) and the reactions to it (appeal or resistance) are of great relevance when studying this case. Therefore, the observations of the more or less successful attempts of developing a global culture (and a global business model), here to ?Americanize? the world through establishments of Disney leisure parks, highlights the cultural differences across the world, suggesting that a single model can not be easily standardized worldwide. And then, the local response is required to successfully internationalize a model (business and/or cultural), for the benefit of all stakeholders.

[...] (1991) Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, London; Newbury Park, Calif., Sage publications. Goleman, D (1998), Working with Emotional Intelligence; New York: Bantam Hill, Charles W.L (2007), International Business, McGraw Hill, 6th Edition Hofstede, G. (1991), Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind, Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival. Beverly Hills. Hofstede's home page: http://www.geert-hofstede.com/ and http://www.geert- hofstede.com/hofstede_dimensions.php; Accessed November Hong Kong Tourism Board www.discoverhongkong.com; accessed November Levitt, T. (1983), The Globalization of Markets, Harvard Business Review, Vol No.3, pp.92-102. Lewis, R. [...]


[...] However, cultural dispositions, acculturation processes, business models and environments are fast changing, then, there are the challenging issues when attempting to develop a model worldwide, such as: To what extent culture is important for international business? To what extent cultural emphasis needs to be adopted to address the cultural contextualisation of a business model? What is the best business model/organisation/approach when aiming to expand worldwide? I believe that culture, in its broadest sense, is the framework of all individuals, embedded within all interactions and accepted in the environment in which we interact. [...]


[...] Hence, the question of a global culture versus cultural diversity seems obvious. Furthermore, the intention of expanding a model (business and/or cultural) and the reactions to it (appeal or resistance) are of great relevance when studying this case. Therefore, the observations of the more or less successful attempts of developing a global culture (and a global business model), here to ?Americanize? the world through establishments of Disney leisure parks, highlights the cultural differences across the world, suggesting that a single model can not be easily standardized worldwide. [...]

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