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Euro Disney’s Market Entry & Problem-Solving Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Sep 1st, 2022

Introduction

Disneyland, a global entertainment company running parks, restaurants, and resorts, earned a lot of revenue from most of its branches until it launched Euro Disneyland. Formerly, the new brand faced a lot of challenges that significantly hampered its income and growth. This study applies a problem-solving technique known as decision matrix analysis, to identify the events which occurred since the entry of Euro Disney into the market. Furthermore, the paper will employ Hofstede’s famous cultural dimensions: individualism, cultural avoidance, masculinity, and power or distance to analyze the differences between France’s and the United States’ cultures.

Cultural Challenges Posed by Euro Disneyland

Table 1: Causes of the Cultural Challenges faced by Euro Disneyland.

Cultural challenges Factors which brought these problems
Individualism
  1. Self-centeredness: Individuals concerned about their welfare.
  2. Nepotism: Favoring close friends and relatives by the leaders.
Cultural avoidance
  1. New techniques of operation
  2. Introduction of new products
  3. Ineffective planning strategy
Masculinity
  1. Prosperity
  2. Availability of money
  3. Material possession
Power/distance
  1. Political interference
  2. Influence from management
  3. Workforce

The decision matrix analysis involves scoring each of the challenges on a scale of 1 to 5 (see Table 2). Each score is then multiplied by 2 to attain the weighted scores for each option/factor combination.

Table 2: Decision Matrix Analysis.

Factor Score Weighted Scores
Individualism 1 2
Uncertainty avoidance 4 8
Masculinity 2 4
Power/distance 5 10

Cultural Differences between the United States and France Based on Hofstede’s Perspective

Hofstede’s approach reveals little cultural difference between the United States (US) and France. According to Bissessar (2018), Hofstede’s applicable dimensions in this study are power/distance, masculinity versus femininity, individualism versus collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance. The masculinity trait promotes rivalry, achievement, and success (Huang & Crotts, 2019). The US is inspired to prosper based on competitions, contests, or accomplishments in which the successful ones are considered winners or the best in the field. From a young age in school, children learn this trend and live to have the same mentality in their careers.

In most cases, masculinity is demonstrated as an individual character and not a collective one. In comparison to the US, France’s level of masculinity level is lower. Research by Hofstede Insights (n.d) indicates that the US has a higher masculinity score of 62 than that of France, which is 43. Therefore, it means that the US has a high masculinity drive relative to that of France.

The individualism dimension signifies that individuals with this trait are concerned about their welfare and close friends and relatives. This is an aspect worth considering when comparing the US and France. The main issue to be addressed here is the interdependence level of a society’s members (Huang & Crotts, 2019). People with this mentality often use terms such as “I” or “We,” indicating a degree of self-centeredness. When Disney introduced the Strict Appearance Code, labor unions and the French opposed it but with no success (Luthans and Doh, 2018). Luthans and Doh narrate:

Stephane Baudet, a 28-year-old trumpet player from Paris, refused to audition for a job in a Disney brass band when he learned he would have to cut his ponytail. “Some people will turn themselves into a pumpkin to work at Euro Disneyland,” he said. “But not me.” (p. 270)

In the above scenario, both countries seem to be independent because no party cannot compromise their customs for another.

The concept of uncertainty avoidance is based on how a society handles the fact that the future is unforeseeable. People have to choose whether to prepare for the future or let it occur (Huang & Scott, 2019). This dilemma results in anxiety which can be handled in various ways from one society to another. Hofstede Insights (n.d) reports that France has a high score of 86 compared to the US with 46 in uncertainty avoidance. This implies that the former is more proactive in dealing with anxiety about the future’s unpredictability. When comparing the number of people who visited the Euro Disneyland, it can be noted that few French, less than the projected 50 percent, while the more Americans visited the place. It can be deduced that the French are much uncertain of the future, which is why they withhold themselves from visiting Euro Disneyland, unlike Americans who are receptive to new ideas and developments.

The power distance dimension posits that inequality makes influential individuals influence other people’s thoughts and conduct. It is the degree to which less powerful individuals in an organization agree that there is uneven power distribution. The research by Hofstede Insights (n.d) shows that France has a higher power score of 68 than the US, 40. These values imply that there is an unequal distribution of power between influential individuals and their subjects. The French citizens felt sidelined in the Euro Disneyland job advertisements, which were entirely made in English and distributed countrywide. Furthermore, most of the company’s leaders had an American origin and could not fluently speak the French language (Luthans and Doh, 2018). It is clear from the scenarios that there was unequal exercising of control in the administration of the company.

Euro Disneyland Mistakes

In its management, Euro Disneyland made two significant mistakes: poor management strategy that impacted marketing and social errors with regard to French culture. In terms of the social slips, their policy of not selling liquor disappointed the citizens as it contravened their customs (Luthans and Doh, 2018). In France, alcohol, especially wine, is common in most meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner (Karadjova-Stoev & Mujtaba, 2016). Euro Disneyland also erred when it continued selling American foods, which the citizens did not prefer since it was offensive to their culture (Karadjova-Stoev & Mujtaba, 2016). For these shortcomings, the locals lost motivation in visiting this company’s premises for recreation. They felt as if the company had no absolute regard for their lifestyle, and hence they did not have to go there.

Poor management strategy was exhibited in various scenarios in the company. For instance, the company hired Americans who were not culturally diverse enough to understand the French culture. The move made the French feel unwanted and unsuitable for the job. The executives were also uncompetitive in their duties and hence delivered shoddy quality work at the expense of the company’s growth (Luthans and Doh, 2018).

Some of the leaders could not speak in French, which made it difficult to communicate with the country’s citizens who could fluently use the language. The Strict Appearance Code did more harm than good in promoting the organization’s growth. Much of its terms were unbearable to the French citizens and other concerned parties, so this policy faced a lot of resentment from labor unions and locals. For instance, the law employees to shave their facial hair and have their hair cut and the dressing code to depict the ‘Disney look’ similar to what is explained by (Marie, 2017). These actions exacerbated the alienation of the company’s affairs by the French.

Conclusion

Establishing a new product line is bound to face unforeseen problems. It is essential to do extensive research, which spans the customer’s culture, among other factors (Kotler et al., 2019). The organization contributed to the negative publicity that it experienced from the onset through some of its policies. For example, the employees were expected to dress in a predefined ‘Disney look,’ and hiring non-French workers created resentment among the locals, which impacted the company’s revenues. When Euro Disneyland entered France, they did not show a comprehensive understanding of the country’s way of life.

Human life is more fulfilling when there is an element of enjoyment and entertainment. Having learned this, Walt Disney proceeded to launch theme parks, resorts, and restaurants in California and Europe, among other locations. Achieving success was a difficult journey for any of the Disney brands. They faced several obstacles, both internally and externally, which endangered their development but eventually succeeded.

References

Bissessar, C. (2018). . Education Sciences, 8(2), 77. Web.

Hofestede Insights (n.d). . Web.

Huang, S. S., & Crotts, J. (2019). . Tourism Management, 72, 232-241. Web.

Karadjova-Stoev, G., & Mujtaba, G., B. (2016). Strategic human resource management and global expansion lessons from the Euro Disney challenges in France. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 15(3), 79. Web.

Kotler, P., Manrai, L. A., Lascu, D. N., & Manrai, A. K. (2019). Influence of country and company characteristics on international business decisions: A review, conceptual model, and propositions. International Business Review, 28(3), 482-498. Web.

Luthans, F., & Doh, J. P. (2018). International Management: Culture, strategy, and behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Marie, H. (2017). [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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