‘The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland’ Case Study Solution
Case Study – The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland
Relating from the topic, the case study presents the “all smiles” that has made Disneyland one of the best ranked organizations in terms of performance and customer satisfaction. It all zeros down to the culture established at the organization and the sense of identity that employees within the organization have adopted to. Despite the organization being made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds, it has surpassed the cultural barrier that may interfere proper interaction among the employees and between the employees and the consumers by establishing its own culture, by which all the employees are expected to abide (Van Maanen, 1991, p. 59). Considering different interpretations of rude words, false moves, insincerity, and boredom that may exist across cultures and the detrimental impact that such interpretations could have on the general performance of the employees, the organization has established a language that could be considered as neutral and admirable across all the cultures. This has in turn promoted consumer friendly behavior within the organization, with individual employees overlooking their cultures in view of improving the experience of the consumers. The established culture ranges for the general outlook of the employees in terms of their dressing to the simple words they choose as opposed to others (Van Maanen, 1991, p. 61).
The authors of the case emphasize that there are words that are considered a taboo to use at the organization, which would have otherwise created contrasting feelings among both the employees and the consumers and in turn affected their relationships and the general sales (Van Maanen, 1991, p. 62). This culture has been incorporated in all the departments of the organization and is instilled in the employees right from their recruitment. The authors point out that when individuals apply for a job at the organization, they apply for “a job” without specifying the kind of job they want as the organization expects all persons to efficiently fit in any area of the organization (Van Maanen, 1991, p. 66). Homogeneity has been promoted through establishing costumes that are worn by different departments or areas of the park. Such uniforms are meant to create a sense of belonging and communicate a given message among the employees, getting rid of the other status based factors such as the level of education, looks, and areas of expertise. It is important to note that adoption of the corporate culture is based on the individual cultures, whereby the organization is more interested in empowering the employees to bring out the best of themselves as opposed to sticking to a strict regime. Nevertheless, the official corporate culture comes into play when the employees are under pressure due to a high number of visitors at the park (Van Maanen, 1991, p. 70).
Case Study – Strategy and Culture in Practice
The case study presents the importance of developing a business strategy for ZTC as an organization. It is important to note that business strategies provide direction for the business and allow managers to establish a framework based on which they can rate the performance of their employees and the general performance of the organization. The case identifies the importance of strategy to the survival of the organization considering the fact that it is through strategic management that the organization can be able to identify the trends within the market and align its operations with the expectations of the consumers and society at large (Watson, 2001, p. 109). Culture stands out as one of the most important influences of strategy. Different individuals within the organization come from different cultural backgrounds and hence have varying expectations, all of which they expect the organization to meet. As such, without proper negotiation and establishment of compromise among such expectations, the coordination of individual efforts in the organization is unlikely to occur and the organization is likely to fall into chaos (Watson, 2001, p. 110). Organizations tend to develop a common ground in terms of corporate culture, with which all individuals within the organization are expected to comply in order to facilitate cohesion and shared values. Such a culture is established based on the values that are shared among the individuals, requiring each party to compromise and accommodate the other within the organization (Watson, 2001, p. 115). Nevertheless, the authors express the unlikelihood of such a culture prevailing within the organization, noting the common nature of individuals adhering to their unofficial cultures.
Managers are faced with the task of ensuring that a
cohesion is established between the official and unofficial cultures as it is
only through this that the organizational stakeholders can be swayed towards a
common organizational goal. Language is an important determinant of culture
within the organization (Watson, 2001, p. 118). As such, according
to the case, as much as individuals may vary in terms of their language, if the
variations are allowed to extend further, effective communication within the
organization may be hampered. As such, it is important for the organization to
create an organizational identity that leaves room for the diversities of
individuals. This can be achieved through establishing a shared corporate
language that would encourage individuals to work together without cultural
impediments, while also allowing them to effectively embrace their diversities
and not to forego their self-interests. Such a language should not be such that
it is too formal that it limits interactions among individuals in attempts to avoid
communication (Watson, 2001, p. 123).
Van Maanen, J., 1991. The smile factory: Work at Disneyland. In: P. Frost, et al. eds. Reframing organizational culture. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, pp. 58-76.
Watson, T. J., 2001. Strategy and Culture in Practice. In: T. J. Watson, ed. In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos and Control in Managerial Work. London: Thomson, pp. 109-134.