Assessing Corporate Culture (Walt Disney)

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Assessing Corporate Culture
Whether you are an employee (Cast Member) or a visitor (Guest), it is easy to see that the Corporate Culture of Walt Disney is one of magic, empowerment, and diversity. It is an organization with a strong set of values and beliefs that motivates it's Cast Members toward one specific goal, creating a magical experience for all guests who enter. When entering the career home page for the Walt Disney Corporation it reads: Welcome to DisneyCareers, We are the dreamers and doers; a cast of thousands committed to making magic and making dreams a reality. Our people represent a broad spectrum of experience and cultural heritage, and we want to add to this diverse wealth of talent (

By definition, an organization is a group of people who work interdependently toward some purpose (McShane, 2002). The Walt Disney organization revolves around the concept of magic. In an interview with CEO and chairman, Michael Eisner (2000), he states, "Make sure people throughout the organization routinely perform "practical magic" – a potent mix of exciting ideas and hardheaded questioning" (p. 115). The organization stresses the importance of working together to come up with innovative ideas to make the environment an exciting and magical experience, not only for guests, but also for employees. Disney believes that employees having fun facilitates teamwork.

The scenery overwhelms anyone who has been to Disney. The environment is filled with opportunities to visit different countries at Epcot Center, experiencing spine-tingling thrill rides, and meeting famous characters like Mickey Mouse or Cinderella. These artifacts suggest an organization that emphasizes teamwork, balancing work and play, and energy. This creates an atmosphere of empowerment for Disney's employees. Employees can feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions and feel that they are contributing to the success of the organization. It is a shared assumption by all that to provide a magical experience for guests, management and employees must create a fun and magical environment for themselves. Walt Disney has been quoted saying "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse" ( This quote emphasizes the importance of knowing how it all started and to not over look the purpose or the people. The Disney Company thinks so highly of this quote that they put it on their corporate web site. "If you can dream it, you can do it" has been a phrase that comes across everyone's television and inspires us to visit the fantasy world of Disney. "Its fun to do the impossible" is another quote that sums up that Disney is always on the cutting edge and inventing new and wonderful ideas. Jayne Parker, director of Disney University stated, "We have some pretty strong beliefs about things like who is responsible for service, and it's every member of this organization" (Paton, 1997). This saying lets everyone in the organization know that they are responsible for the service they render. Disney has a very strong sense of nationalism and has achieved such a good management and quality reputation that they hold classes for people to attend. As stated earlier employees of Disney are "cast members" and they stay in their role. Disney keeps the cast members well-trained, enthusiastic, and motivated through good leadership. According to Paton(1997), as part of their orientation, cast members go through one on one, half-day training sessions called Traditions. Disney has developed the Disney Institute, which has management and service classes for any person to take. "More than 60,000 people a year attend classes offering a behind-the-scenes look at the Disney management philosophy, which boils down to "making every moment magical" for the customer. From that point on, business owners and managers were eager to find out how Disney managed 40,000...
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