Disney Theme Parks - Disney Essay Example
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The Walt Disney Company (“Disney” or “the company”), founded in 1923, together with its affiliated companies maintain a “commitment to produce unparalleled entertainment experiences based on the rich legacy of quality creative content and exceptional storytelling” (http://corporate.disney.go.com/). The company’s longevity, “exceptional entertainment experiences, widely diverse content and unique skill in managing [its] businesses in an integrated way allowed [it] to achieve strong results” that make it a model of organizational behavior that other companies replicate (Company Profile, 2011, May 13, p.29). Disney is in the business of making dreams come true, and theme parks and resorts are where the company makes the closest emotional connection with consumers as millions of them experience first-hand the magic of Disney every year. How does a company of 149,000 employees work together to make the dreams of millions of guests come true every year?
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Communication is the evoking of a shared or common meaning in another person (Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C., 2011, p. 258). Disney—like many corporations—has its own language with key terms that employees understand and use to interact with each other aiding them in their roles of making Guests’ dreams come true. Key terms include: Attractions—theme park rides and shows; Backstage—areas behind the scenes not seen by Guests; Cast Members—all employees of Walt Disney World Co.; Guests—visitors to any part of the Walt Disney World Resorts; Host or Hostess—a frontline Cast Member who supports Guests’ experiences through contact in The Show; On Stage—all areas visited by Guests; The Property—the entire Walt Disney World Resort; and The Show—everything and everyone that interfaces with Guests, including entertainment, the Property, and Cast Members (Taylor, C. R., Wheatley Lovoy, C. 1998 p.22). Whether Guests are visiting for the first time or hundredth time Cast Members are ready to start The Show and make each moment magical. Disney has had success in reducing communication barriers between Guests and Cast Members. EPCOT theme park features the World Showcase in which Guests can travel to several countries all in a day. Cast Members originate from the country in which they are stationed thus setting the Stage for Guests and adding authenticity to the magic. People relate with people, and Guests know they are in EPCOT, but are able to suspend their disbelief and believe for a moment that they are visiting other countries especially when they can interact with authentic people of the country. Motivation at work
Motivation is the process of arousing and sustain goal—directed behavior (Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C., 2011, p. 152). Do Cast Members smile all of the time? Of course not. Disney executives know that it is important for Cast Members to have pride in their work. Disney uses motivation factors of responsibility, achievement, recognition, advancement, and the work itself to lead to excellent performance from Cast Members. Training focuses on behaviors, but facilitating a sense of ownership also breeds motivation and excellent performance. Councils called Circles of Excellence are made up of management and frontline Cast Members from the various operating areas. They collectively identify, assess, and resolve operational issues as they arise. Success stories are shared with all Cast Members via the company newsletter, Eyes & Ears, and through electronic mail bulletin boards. Everyone has an opportunity to see what creative solutions their co-workers have come up with, which inspires others to also contribute. To keep the ideas flowing, all Cast Members must feel valued and motivated. Leaders must foster a creative culture by aligning performance with what they value in their organizations (Taylor, C. R., Wheatley Lovoy, C. 1998 p.22). Power and political behavior
Empowerment is creating conditions for heightened motivation through the development of a strong sense of personal self-efficacy. (Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C., 2011, p. 386). When a Cast Member–no matter what job type or level- attends the orientation program, Disney Traditions, they learn the company’s history and quality standards. Most importantly, they learn that their job is to “create happiness.” That begins building pride and an emotional connection to the company, and it involves them in shaping their own roles in what Disney calls, The Show. What a difference it makes to tell someone that his or her job is to create happiness rather than just sweep the streets in the Magic Kingdom or push the buttons at the Tower of Terror. (Taylor, C. R., Wheatley Lovoy, C. 1998 p.22). Disney believes that empowering its cast members to go above and beyond the visitors’ expectations is the key to ensuring the visitors will return again and again. Every employee has the ability to give the visitor something extra special to make their stay exceptional. This includes allowing the employees to issue monetary compensation without management intervention when necessary (Trahan, 2009 p.15 ). Organizational design and structure
Organizational design is the process of constructing and adjusting an organization’s structure to achieve its business strategy and goals (Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C. 2011 p.518). . Typically, corporate organizational charts are hierarchical, with each operating division isolated into “silos” showing job titles according to reporting chain of command and ultimate authority. The CEO and SVPs get the higher positions and bigger boxes; the little boxes represent the expendable worker “bees.” The Disney organizational chart, on the other hand, is based on process, from the story idea through direction to the final release of the film. All of the staff positions are in the service of supporting this work flow (http://www.atissuejournal.com/).
Consistency in organizational structure is demonstrated in all business segments as they work together to produce the Disney experience, or The Show. While Disney has 36 executives responsible for different components of the company, all of the staff positions are integrated in the service of supporting workflow and being part of The Show (Taylor, C. R., Wheatley Lovoy, C. 1998 p.22). For example, in Disney theme parks leaders are encouraged to spend much of their time “walking the front” operating areas interacting with Guests and Cast Members. Walking the front involves observing, gathering firsthand information, gauging guest reactions, and evaluating operational efficiencies. The leader’s role is to relay that information back to the frontline Cast Members, who can make on-the-spot adjustments and contribute to the continuous improvement of both product and service to benefit the end users, the Guests. This enables Cast Members to apply the organizational design and structure of an idea to The Show and improve the Guest experience. Improvements
Disney operations span across the world with most of the company’s revenue coming from North American markets, and little presence in emerging markets like Asia, Pacific and Latin America. Concentrating on maturing markets like the US and Canada, and not expanding in emerging markets limits the company’s overall revenue growth and also weakens its market position in international markets (Company Profile. 2011, May 13 p. 25). During an interview with a repeat Guest to The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Amy Nance said, “she vacations at The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to escape reality and participate in The Show.” During her Disney vacation in February/March 2011, she observed Cast Members who had lost The Magic of Disney and were not fully embodying The Show (Feb/Mar 2011 trip). Because Ms. Nance is a repeat Guest, she knows how to experience The Show, but what about first time visitors? Disney would benefit from continually coaching, mentoring, and encouraging Cast Members to embody The Show, and maintain their commitment to produce unparalleled entertainment ensuring all Guests experience The Magic of Disney, the cornerstone of the company’s success since its founding in 1923.
Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C. (2011 pg. 152, 258, 386, 518). Organizational behavior science, the real world, and you. Mason, OH:
South-Western Cengage Learning. Taylor, C. R., & Wheatley-Lovoy, C. (1998). Leadership: Lessons from the magic kingdom. (cover story). Training & Development, 52(7), 22.
The Walt Disney Company: Company Profile. (2011, May 13 pg. 25, 29). The Walt Disney Company and Affiliated Companies—Corporate Information. Retrieved from http://corporate.disney.go.com/
Trahan, K. (2009). Make Your Company a Magic Kingdom. Sales & Service Excellence , 9 (2), 15.
Hirasuna, D (2009, August 7). The On-line Journal of Business and Design. Walt Disney’s creative organization chart. Retrieved from http://www.atissuejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/disneyorgchart1.jpg. Nance February/March 2011, Disney vacation.