Disney Organizational Behavior
Axia College of the University of Phoenix
MGT 245/Organizational Theory & Behavior
September 14, 2008
Disney Organizational Behavior 1
Walt Disney once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in
the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” He realized early that the only
way his company would be successful, and he could create the environment he was striving for,
would be by implementing strategic organizational behavior methods (Waltz, 2007).
Organizational behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals,
groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations. The purpose of this study is to
apply the knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness (Robbins, 2005). This
was so important to Walt Disney, that every employee of the company he and his brother Roy
created in 1922 hires, must complete vast amounts of training in the world renowned Disney
Institute. The training ensures each guest will receive the “magical experience” the company
has become known for, and includes training in several organizational behavior concepts such
as human resources practices, organizational culture, and motivation (Waltz, 2007).
To reach the same standard of excellence for effective practices in hiring, training,
communication and other management challenges, human resources professionals in a variety
of industries will say, “I’m going to Disney World.” Imagine the daunting task of filling one-
hundred job vacancies a day or 20,000 annually for the next five years. These are normal
challenges for the human resources team at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The scale
of its operations and human resource challenges is overwhelming. Disney World, Epcot Center
and Disney-MGM Studios has 50,000 employees and is the largest single-site employer in the
United States. There they have five-hundred human resources professionals, 1,500 current job
descriptions and ten collective bargaining agreements with thirty-two unions (Rubis, 1998).
Disney Organizational Behavior 2
Disney operates a four-day seminar open to the public called “The Walt Disney World
Approach to HR Management.” The course begins with a close examination of the unique
Disney culture including; heritage, traditions, values, quality standards, behaviors, language
and symbols that help guide employees in their work. Seminar facilitator, Richard Parks said,
“To maintain that culture, HR has a very heavy responsibility.” Developing employee awareness
of why people go to Disney World is where it all begins. Human resources management is
considered the key to repeat business (Rubis, 1998).
Disney has very stringent guidelines regarding hiring practices. They leave nothing to chance
when educating job applicants about who might be satisfied as a “cast member,” the name
used when referring to any Disney employee. Conditions of employment are outlined, and
applicants are encouraged to opt-out early in the process if they are unwilling or unable to
comply with Disney rules. Employment conditions are disclosed to applicants at least five
times during phone screens and face-to-face interviews during the hiring process. Disney
operates the ornate “Casting Center,” the largest interviewing facility in the country. It is here
that candidates fill out applications and watch a film detailing four basic conditions of
employment; compensation, scheduling, transportation and appearance. On a typical day, the
center processes between 150 and 200 entry-level applicants (Rubis, 1998).
Disney justifies a very strict appearance code called the “Disney Look” against regular legal
challenges by saying guests will be “distracted from...