For more than nine decades, the name Walt Disney has been preeminent in the field of family entertainment. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to today's global corporation, Disney continues to proudly provide quality entertainment for every member of the family, across America and around the world. The company is diversified, focusing on its mass media headquartered in Burbank, California (Iger, 2012). In terms of revenue, it is the largest media conglomerate in the world (Silkos, 2009). Founded on October 16, 1923, by the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and travel (Disney History, 2012). Disney has expanded its existing operations and also has started divisions that are focused on theater, publishing, radio, music, and even online media. It has also created new divisions to market more mature content than it typically associates with its flagship family-oriented brands (Iger, 2012). The Walt Disney Motion Picture Group is one of the best known studios in Hollywood. It owns and operates the ABC television network, ABC Family, the Disney Channel, A&E and ESPN. It also supports a music division, a theatre division, all of the publishing and merchandising, and owns and licenses 14 theme parks worldwide (Silkos, 2009).
The purpose is to analyze Disney according to major organizing principles of society: gender, race, age, religion, disabilities and sexual orientation. Children learn about these societal constructs from many sources, but the media are powerful sources of learning. Given Disney’s dominant position in children’s media, it is important to examine the messages related to diversity.
Disney views the development of a diverse workforce as a business imperative and a catalyst to achieve better performance. They embrace diversity, to better serve their consumers by better reflecting the communities they serve. Disney believes that a diversity of opinions, ideas and perspectives enhances their internal creativity and the company's vitality. They've been building a workforce representative of the global marketplace in which they operate, while fostering an inclusive environment for employees and their families. Although they believe they have plenty of progress to make, they are proud that Disney now employs the most diverse workforce in its history (Farino, 2012). In 2010, Disney was named to Diversity Inc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity, which recognizes companies that demonstrate consistent strength in CEO commitment, human capital, corporate and organizational communications and supplier diversity. This year, they were included in the Top 25 most noteworthy companies (DiversityInc, 2012). Additionally, Disney has scored 100 percent for three consecutive years on the 3
Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, which gauges workplace inclusivity and was recently named by Business Week in the top 50 companies for MBA students to begin their careers (Human Rights Campaign, 2011).
Disney prides themselves on approaching diversity in the broadest terms and seeks to build a workforce that blends people from all ages, experiences, backgrounds, ethnic groups, and lifestyles. As the war for top talent heats up, employers all across the world are acquiring new and revised managerial processes for developing a working environment that maximizes the potential of all employees by valuing diversity. As the workforce demographics shift, the competition to attract diverse candidates substantially increases for those companies wishing to remain competitive in the marketplace. Each year in the US, Universum conducts an IDEAL Employer Survey amongst undergraduate and MBA students with diverse backgrounds to determine what minority...