Euro Disney Resort expected to have about half a million of visitors on the day of inauguration, but the influx of tourists was lower than anticipated. During the first three months, there was a big flop in the number of visitors (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The failure was due to changes in global business and cultural tension mainly between the American and French Disney hosts. The Euro Disney planner failed to demonstrate cultural sensitivity affecting the relationship with the host and the success of the project.
Cultural Differences between the United States and France
The Hofstedes model helps to explain further the main differences between the French and Americans. The power distance theory discloses why less powerful members of an institution accept unequal power distribution. Low scores of power indicate that a culture treats power as democratic, and members are seen as equal (Luthans & Doh, 2012). High scores of power symbolize that society or culture accepts a formal hierarchical position (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The French have a strong hierarchical system meaning high scores of power. For instance, in a company, orders from the top management are to be followed without any debate. On the other hand, the USA has low scores of power since everyone is believed to have equal rights. The authority distance is very low, power is distributed equally, and there is no leadership center.
Place New Order
Individualism is a nonpolitical dimension that characterizes a group but not an individual (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Although both cultures promote individualism, the French have a more primary feature of taking care of themselves as opposed to the USA with a high level of geographical mobility of doing business with other countries. Masculinity or femininity is a dimension that considers masculine values to include assertiveness, power and materialism, and human relationships as feminine ones. The French are a very feminine community, who value life and work to live rather than the other way around. On the other hand, the Americans live to work and are oriented to achievement, success, and competition as motivating elements. The U.S. Company employed a powerful character of masculinity not considering the impact on the French feministic culture.
The uncertainty avoidance dimension measures how a company handles the unknown and the stress of change (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The USA accepts risks and is very open to change. Americans are very tolerant and firmly believe in the freedom of expression. Assumptions are tested and challenged; therefore, the best practices evolve in response to environmental changes such as competition (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The French are rather rigid to change. They do not take risks and rarely try something stressful.
Finally, the long-term orientation dimension explains the time horizon of culture. The French are a very traditional society and follow norms and guidelines in the business environment (Luthans & Doh, 2012). They are oriented to short-term goals. The Americans are flexible in the workplace and do not need necessarily follow rules in doing business. However, they are focused on short-term plans and are dedicated to fulfilling social obligations.
Trompenaarss Cultural Research
The Trompenaarss theory explains cultural differences among organizations and countries. It places hierarchical and egalitarian cultures on the vertical axis, and the horizontal axis is a difference between people-oriented and task-oriented cultures. The hierarchical culture is family-oriented, and leadership is embodied by a prominent figure that holds the organization together. People exercise power and follow rules, norms, and standards strictly. The egalitarian culture is less strict and flexible promoting creativity and innovation (Luthans & Doh, 2012).
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The guided missile culture summarizes the Trompenaarss theory. It focuses less on attachment to the company, but more on strong commitment to professionalism. People emphasize the importance of achieving results. The USA follows the guided missile culture focused on individuals and characterized by the work culture promoting task orientation and supporting people (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Employees are evaluated individually, even though the success of the organization is mainly teamwork. The French are rather hierarchical, where power is structured like a pyramid and the top management makes all decisions (Luthans & Doh, 2012). French values pay more attention to people rather than the guided missile culture; hence, interpersonal relationships are more important than a task.
Euro Disneyland Mistakes
Euro Disneyland made several mistakes. The first one was a failure to understand differences between French and American traditions. Following the American culture in France was seen as an invasion into privacy. The company did not consider French traditions when setting up the park, namely, things like breakfast were not served, contrary to the French culture where it is important. According to the French culture, it is traditional to have a glass of wine after a meal, and the park did not allow alcoholic drinks. Cuisines were also absent (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Top management positions were allocated to Americans, which irritated the French greatly. The company should have hired French people for top positions to deal with cultural differences accurately.
Second, the company assumed that the French entertainment culture coincided with the American one, which led to poor resources and staff allocation. It resulted in staff surplus on empty days and its lack in crowded hours, which affected the profit and efficiency negatively. Parking lots were built suitable for personal cars rather than buses, the main transportation system in France (Luthans & Doh, 2012). Finally, the company had high expectations of the profitability of Euro Disney, but did not consider the recession effect.
Euro Disneyland Lessons
The Euro Disney case analysis brings about several lessons. First, the success of business in one culture or society does not mean it will also succeed in another. Companies need to consider cultural norms, values and beliefs since they affect consumer behavior. Second, firms need to do thorough market research before establishing their business in a foreign country to understand its work environment and culture. Finally, organizations human resource management practices must be culturally sensitive. The French are conservative and value courtesy rather than follow a direct and upfront style. Euro Disney failed to understand differences between the American and French cultures and the way they affect employees attitude and behavior and lead to a demotivated workforce.
The greatest mistake made by Euro Disneyland was a failure to understand the French culture. Incorporating the American culture in France was a great mistake. Euro Disney Resort did not reflect the culture, values, beliefs and systems of the hosts. Insensitivity led to cold reception and subsequent losses. Second, e ticket pricing was inconsiderate of harsh economic times; people had less to spend on entertainment. Overall, cultural insensitivity led to a failure of Euro Disney.