Smile Factory

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Van Maanen, J., “The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland”, In P. Frost, et al (eds.) Reframing Organizational Culture, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1991, pp. 58-76.

A) HOW DOES THIS PAPER RELATE TO OTHER MATERIAL YOU HAVE REFLECTED ON IN THIS MODULE?

The ‘Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland’ case study emphasizes a strong correlation with the in-class topics presented throughout the Organisational Behaviour module. The paper is a description of the organisation’s code of conduct, business focus and core values and is primarily concerned with evaluating relevant socio-behavioural patterns embedded with the specific business culture.

Disneyland can be described as a mechanistic organisation, where potential employees undergo a complex selection process and are expected to perform within a pre-defined and an artificial environment, governed by an extensive degree of rational planning and ground rule rigidity. The company-employee interface is therefore greatly dependent upon full-commitment to the basic rules of the organisation and underlines a ‘remote-control’ type of behaviour among its operators: employees are expected to display cheerfulness when handling guests at play, and are not encouraged to interact with customers beyond the call of duty.

Cultural key-aspects within the organisation are widely assimilated by Disneyland’s traditional business model and ‘Tayloristic’ practices. Hourly employees at Disneyland form into tribal groups based on their assigned roles. Work ethics are tradition-informed, outlining striking contrasts between the image of the organisation and its internal code of practice.

Disneyland’s environment is, however, dominated by a political system which aims to maintain tight control over employees’ activities. This theme is broadly portrayed while addressing the topic of career prospects at Disneyland: the job assignment process is significantly influenced by personal contacts.

B) DOES THE ARTICLE...
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