WALT DISNEY: DISNEYLAND PARIS
Disney’s Approach to Managing HRM and Its Strategies
Strategic human resource management is always involved in determining an organizational best site for business and many other factors that may be needed in the expansion of the business. Such factors include social evaluation, employee selection and training, and compensation, among others. Therefore, international human resource management has a role to play in international businesses. They work to see the strategies laid by the business happen, they do this by ensuring that all the requirements of the country are analyzed and are considered during the processes of decision-making. They carefully research all the factors that may be needed for a project to be successful in a foreign country or its failure in a given country and work very hard to ensure that it goes in line with culture, traditions, and the laws of the country to minimize any problem that would arise (Chen & Huang 2009, pp. 104-114).
In the case of the Disney land Paris, when assessing it using the strategic human resource models, it failed to stand up to the task. It can only be fair to accept that the Disney’s human resource department did not achieve much as it was expected. They failed in their part and most of the aspects considering the lack of information and awareness of many key things. They had no clue concerning the culture of the people and they misunderstood the French laws and the traditions of the people. Disney land Paris was opened in 1992; it had the same attractions as the other Disney theme parks. The company was hoping to attract its visitors twice the number of what the Eiffel tower attracts in a year. Disneyland Paris was confident it would succeed since it boasted with professionalism and very high investment superiority. If what they had planned prior was not to succeed then they were to blame the weather and not the fault of the cultural traditions of the French. They thought they had the market ready by developing the park just outside Paris, but this was not to be as they planned (Smith & Eisenberg 1987, pp. 367-380).
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The biggest step that Disneyland Paris did was during its planning process. Disneyland Paris project was driven by the previous achievements of the projects that were launched in Florida, California, and Japan. In overall, the three projects were almost identical with the Japan project being almost a reflection of the one in America. What the human resource management of Disney Paris did not consider, and what was something very vital during its planning, was the open fact of cultural differences and important aspect of differentiation during this project. These problems should have been identified long before during the planning process and appreciated by the experience of cultural diversity and differences that exist. There was an aspect of ethnocentrism being exercised in marketing strategy by the human resources department. There was no much difference between the Disneyland Paris Park and the other parks that were built in the other countries. It is this aspect of individualism and lack of understanding of other people’s culture that adversely affected Disneyland Paris after it was opened. During the launch of
Disneyland Paris, the company used ethnocentrism and universalistic approach. The Disney human resource management failed in its part to assign tasks to the best employees. Many American companies tend to employ nationals from home at the top management positions to serve as key players during the implementation of the project when doing global business. The company was blinded by the belief of success it had achieved in Japan despite the fact that they had used their ethnocentric approach and argued that they had a strong relationship with the French.
The human resource management did not take so many critical factors that would affect the project into consideration. In this perspective, the Disney human resource department thought that by having close ties with France meant that they were incorporated into the French thought habits, were integrated into the cultural beliefs and practices of the native French, and most of the ideas that were to be incorporated into the project implementation were to be the French ideas. This idea made the Disney Company not emphasize much on such facts that were necessary for the project success. The absence of partnership factors and strategic thought that was apparent turned to have affected the success of the Disneyland Paris project. The company took an ethnocentric approach in assigning biggest positions to Americans without considering the traditions and the local cultures of the French. This was an act of cultural imperialism that the company engaged itself in and eventually led to the Disneyland Paris project failure (Packman & Casmir 1999, pp. 473-489).
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Another area that the Disney company management failed in the project was in the identification of employees. The management failed to take advantage of the local people to input their contribution to the project or even to seek for their contribution and advice during the early work of project planning. The ethnocentric approach that the human resource management took led to the wrong selection of the project manager to spearhead the project ultimately leading to the failure of the company’s strategy. In the Disneyland project, the human resources department bears the ultimate blame for the company’s failure because they failed in assigning the right personnel to the work from the beginning. The errors that were made because they had no strategic thinking led to complications and an ultimate failure of the project. The Disneyland Paris project is a clear example of how significant the repercussions are to the business when the human resource management does not put itself in alignment with the company’s strategies. If a human resources department of business seeks for information and becomes aware of all the requirements and specifics they need to survive in a foreign land, it will have the information on how to assign the right manager for the project. The data can also be used in educating the managers about all the significant things they have to grasp for the project to turn out successful in a foreign land. If any business of being successful in the business with the laid strategy towards achieving its mission the human resources department must be vigilant and align itself with a short-term and long-term objectives of the business.
The human resource management in any project forms an important functional role as a strategic collaborates as evidenced in the Disneyland Paris project. The need of the strategic management in the human resource department led to the mistakes that were seen in the development of the Disney project. Other factors like lack of understanding of French cultures, labor laws, lack of training, and assigning the job to the right person also contributed to the failure of the project. A company’s decisions should always be in line with its strategies if at all it wants to maintain its market superiority, success, and a competitive edge. Human resource management holds a vital place for any successful business in a foreign land. The department functions in a way that it can be able to increase the business capacity, which can be executed by a company in line with its strategies and be in a position to execute the same as well (Cecil 2007, pp. 40).
Issues Disney Still Faces Today with Disneyland Paris and Recommendations
The company invested much into the renovation and rebranding the Disneyland Paris so as to bring it back to business, this allowed some parts of the business that were originally in a mess to be fixed. All these things have a common problem today in the business, the quality of the product or experience being offered in the market. Unfortunately, recent events and developments have gone a step ahead to damage what was originally known to be one of the world best and most beautiful design park. Disneyland land Paris faces many organization structural issues that affect its business to the general population (Leavitt 2004, pp. 46-49).
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When Disneyland Paris, which was originally known as Euro Disneyland, was opened back in 1992, it was one of the greatest achievements ever recorded by Disney in Europe. It was one of the most technological and artistic marvels of that time. It had some high quality shows and rides that proved to be successful with the audience who was mainly European. The guests had the opportunity to feel a great experience that was slightly superior to what they would have felt in both Disneyland and Walt Disney experience. However, constant financial problems affected the business and over some years the park started experiencing tremendous decline in the quality of experience. With the continuous business problem experienced by the Disneyland Paris, there was a need to do some budget cutting in all the departments including maintenance, entertainment, and food and beverage. This budget cuts resulted in leaving the Disneyland resort in a neglected and unacceptable ways (Wasko 2001, pp. 237-257).
Currently, due to the condition of the park, the quality being offered by the park has considerably undergone a decline even further since the situation has reached a very bad state. The year 2013 presented the worst for Disneyland Paris, it marked the first summer since its launch that there has been no single stage show presentation done in the park. This situation has never been experienced in any of the Disney parks worldwide and marks the first time in the history of Disneyland Paris. Maintenance of many attraction sites and hotels in the parks has been neglected for many years making the facility be substandard. Many elements used as themes are now decaying while others are falling apart.
The management that in place in Disneyland is taking notice of the problems affecting the park, though it only concentrates is in solving the minors. The most beautiful magic kingdom ever to be designed has been affected by the many years of neglect. The management faces a financial crisis since the cost of restoring it to its high times seems to be much higher now. The Disneyland Paris is going through many issues; lack of maintenance coupled with budget cuts has developed a cycle of ride breakdown. This breakdown of rides makes the capacity to be lowered ultimately leading to overcrowding. Recently, there has been a decline noted in the quality of food that used to be served at the most expensive table. Fast food offerings cannot compete with other alternatives that are better because they are steep in their prices (Rukstad & Collis 2006, pp. 2-27).
Disneyland Paris needs several place-making projects that need to be serious and a complete reevaluation of the park themes to bring it up to the company’s standards. There are many works to be done. The low and poor standard merchandise and the outdated hotels need to be refurnished. The human resources need to be alert to help in rebranding the park back to its glory days. The department has to offer its full support in order to see this happening. It has to assess first how the people want the park to look like and what activities and meals should be offered. The department has to compare its functions to the strategies that the Disneyland Paris will lay for them in order to achieve the changes that are being intended. The department has to put extra effort in its move to improve the relationship between the management and the staffs to enable a smooth flow of activities.
Importance of HR Planning for Disney’s Organizational Strategy (Disneyland Paris)
Today, in most businesses, the company’s overall performance can affect greatly by the strategy and management of the employees. In most growing companies, the most essential thing is a strategic approach that is always instilled in the human resource management. This starts from the correct efforts and moves made in best staffing in order to maintain the performance of the employees, the human resource management not only focuses on the prospect of developing the organizational employees but also play a role in developing the business. The operational strategies should always be aligned with both the human resource strategies and the organizational strategies. For any business to achieve its objectives efficiently, it has to have an effective human resources strategy. Planning forms the most essential phase of developing a strategy. The plans developed should always be in a strategic manner considering other factors that can affect the business in mind. A sound and efficient human resource plans ensure that the objectives and strategies of the company are achieved in an efficient way (Lengnick-Hall et al. 2009, pp. 64-84).
The culture and the human resources policies employed at Disney play a very significant role. The management of cross culture is an important factor when human resource management deals with a global context. For any business, its human resources policies stand out to be paramount as the company can use it to support or to build the desired culture. Disney has been in a position to manage all their intellectual property rights throughout the entire business ranging from its employees, as well as the other external parties. At the Disneyland Paris, the human resource management is fully committed to promoting a safe, inclusive, and very respectful workplace for all its employees in all their places of business throughout the world. The human resources department values so much about the reputation on the business, they hold the organizational values to the highest standards of quality and responsibility (Allerton 1997, pp. 50-56). At Disney, the human resource management provides planning mechanisms through which it ensures that the company has the right personnel who are able to work towards the company set objectives. They handle issues involving recruitment of staffs, retention, development, as well as relocation and downsizing. The human resource strategizes on how the business can manage its human resources with the current expansion experience around the globe (Taylor 2010).
Disneyland Paris’ human resource management employs its staff on an open systems approach. The individuals interested apply for the vacancies through their website. The human resources department job at Disneyland Paris is to make an appointment with the new applicants for an interview on a given date. The interview session starts with a brief presentation of the general working conditions and all the available job opportunities in the park. Then an interview follows that is moderated by the recruiter. Feedback is given immediately or after sometimes as told. With the collaboration with other stakeholders, the company has managed to set aside about 4% of its workforce to be specifically for the physically challenged people. The company has trained staff with disability equally with the rest of the staff in conjunction with their recruitment scheme and for the purposes of retaining the existing employees. This recruitment process creates a feeling of fairness among the working staff. It has also been able to change the lives of many disabled employees through raising their standards of life. The selection procedure and the entire recruitment process of Disneyland Paris have proved to be a successful initiative that has worked for the organization in terms of business and the image of the business (Boje 2000, pp. 558-566).