Disneyland is one of the best known and most highly visited recreation locations in the world. With this visibility and audience reach, the action of the Disney Company extends well beyond the boundaries of their theme parks. However, once a foreign expansion experience, named Euro Disneyland did not prove to be the successful venture that had been anticipated by its creators. Just a short time after the opening of the park in April 1992 reality proved to be not so magic. Euro Disney was much criticized, slipped into heavy losses and nearly went bankrupt.
The case of Euro Disneyland is widely analyzed and discussed, not only by scholars, but also by some management consulting companies. The factors that resulted in its failure include lots of aspects, including financial strategy, human resource, long-term strategy, promotion strategy, segment market… However, of the essence, the most important factor that brings about all this is the culture difference. So I will analyze this case from the perspective of cross-cultural management.
Dimensions of culture, by Fons Trompenaars
According to this theory and its research results, the cultural difference in business between the United States and France lies in three aspect: Universalism vs. Particularism, Individualism vs. Communitarianism and Achievement vs. Ascription.
Universalism vs. Particularism
Universalism is the belief that ideas and practices can be applied everywhere without modification. Particularism is the belief that circumstances dictate how ideas and practices should be applied. When individuals from universalist cultures do business in a particularist environment, they should be prepared for personal meandering or irrelevancies that seem to go nowhere and should not regard personal, get-to know-you attitudes as mere small talk.
Individualism vs. Communitarianism
Individualism refers to people regarding themselves as individuals, while Communitarianism refers themselves as part of a group. When people from cultures with high individualism deal with those from communitarianism cultures, they should have patience for the time taken to consent and consult, and they should aim to build lasting relationships.
Achievement vs. Ascription
An achievement culture is one in which people are accorded status based on how well they perform their functions. An ascription culture is one in which status is attributed based on who or what a person is. When individuals from achievement cultures do business in ascription cultures, they should make sure that their group has older, senior and formal position-holders who can impress the other side, and they should aspect the status and influence of their counterparts in the other group.
In the international marketing task, mentioned by Phillip Cateora, we can identify marketing conditions as controllable and uncontrollable.
Of all the problems, the most important is that the Euro Disneyland should be built in complete American style or in the French and European style. The same is true in the management, promotion strategy and so on. For Disney actually sells the service and concept of culture, the American dream, it’s no doubt that the company should adapt to the local culture while maintain its core. Euro Disneyland is different from those in America and Japan, for the culture here is more complicated and Frenchman has an anti-American emotion. The success in Tokyo makes the management group too confident, so that they made the biggest mistake—make the wrong decision of what to change and what to maintain, and in which field should the company use the American mode and in which should use French mode, for the haven’t done enough work on French culture. The Euro Disneyland hasn’t show enough respect for the French culture and convention
What should not be localized but be localized by the company? (The mistake of change)
The style of the...
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