HR operations

The cultural differences between USA, France and Japan are evident throughout both Hofstede’s and Trompenaars’ dimensions. With regard to Hofstede, USA has a high IDV ranking, an average MAS ranking, a low PDI, and a low UAI ranking with relation to France and Japan. USA’s IDV ranking is the highest among the others involved in Disney’s multinational project and this results in US being the most individualistic nation where people hold very loose bonds among themselves; whereas Japan holds the lowest IDV ranking and is a collectivist society where people are integrated into groups.
When examining these countries with regards to MAS ranking, Japan outruns both US and France by far. Judging by that ranking Japan places a greater importance on gender differentiation than U.S, while women in France may hold similar values to those in US and Japan the level of difference between their assertiveness and competitiveness and that of men is less than in masculine countries.
France has the highest PDI ranking making it very unequal in terms of societal classes and organizations; whereas Japan is relatively average and U.S ranks the lowest making it a nation with a stable cultural environment in which interaction between power levels is not only permitted but encouraged. In terms of UAI ranking, Japan rates the highest and is a society that appreciates a structured environment with strict rules and guidelines whereas US has the lowest UAI among the three countries and as a nation it has a greater lever of tolerance for a variety of ideas and beliefs than France and Japan, respectively.

With regard to Trompenaars’ dimensions France and Japan are both particularistic and communitarian countries, whereas USA is more universalistic and individualistic. However USA and France have other attributes such as being emotional, specific and achievement-oriented when Japan is neutral and focuses on diffusion and ascription. Some of the problems faced by Disney related to the above cultural differences occurred upon the openings of parks in the above countries. When Disney opened a park in Japan it turned out that the lines for the rides had to be redesigned due to the proximity of people waiting in line to those who cross the line while walking the park premises. In Japan it is considered discourteous when people cross in front of others.
This aspect could be attributed to Japan being a neutral country with a low IDV in which close contact is reserved for close family and friends and therefore this type of non-verbal communication is not welcomed. U.S having a low ranking in the Uncertainty Avoidance Dimension allowed Disney entrepreneurs to incorporate an authentic Chinese dish into a park that was intended to be an All-American experience. However, perhaps the lack of attention to strict rules and procedures which is also an attribute to the UAI dimension was responsible for the above dish triggering an angered reaction from environmentalists.
Another incident that can be attributed to cultural differences would be France’s protest to cultural imperialism that the citizens believed was Disney’s primary intention when building Euro Disneyland. According to Trompenaar, France is believed to be an emotional country and citizens rebelled against Disney by posting protest signs and vocally expressing their disapproval. The approach that Disney chose when creating Euro Disneyland which in part ignored the territory for the park’s location, French farmers’ heritage and other cultural differences can be attributed to US’s low LTO dimension. However since US is an emotional nation as well Disney resolved the above dispute by launching an aggressive campaign addressing the concerns.
One of the major mistakes the company made in its Euro Disney operations was discouraging potential employees to apply for jobs by enforcing a strict appearance code that was contradicting with French customs. Among other cultural distinctions, France is known for its fashion and most of the time fashion involves differentiating oneself from the rest. While the applicant may be fitting for a job, he or she may have a two-tone hair color and according to Disney that is not acceptable. While it is important to maintain a brand image, the applicants’ qualifications should outweigh his or her appearance. If I were the HR manager at Disney USA I would adapt the code to the standards of French culture and fashion, aim for neatness as opposed to strict guidelines and place a greater impact on applicants’ ability to achieve the company’s set objectives.
While negotiating in Europe one would have to be sensitive to certain verbal and non-verbal communication criteria that could impact the negotiation in a positive or a negative way. Some verbal communication would include using direct and explicit messages to keep the negotiation focused and goal-oriented, being precise and to reduce barriers between parties. While conducting negotiations in Japan, one would have to adjust the verbal communication to the following guidelines: using indirect and implicit messages, use fewer words, allow pauses and understatements, focus on relationship of the parties and the speaker, and note the context of the speaker’s message.
In general some of the crucial communicating and negotiating skills that are required for a successful International HR manager include familiarity with customs and heritage of particular country of interest, ability to adjust to diversity, adapt to varying cultural aspects, and keeping an open mind. The above skills are important because they set the International HR manager apart from other HR managers who lack the required knowledge in order to carry out international negotiations properly and successfully.
Overall it seems that Disney carries a regiocentric orientation in its worldwide parks. It aims both for profitability and public acceptance by adapting each park to the unique standards and expectations of each country, negotiates between region and subsidiaries, allows regional integration and national responsiveness in terms of choosing a location that is served by public transportation and is also accessible for other European countries. It also allows flexible manufacturing by adjusting heights of tables in the Japanese park and redistribution within region. Disney has a Guided Missile Organizational Culture because it carries a strong emphasis on equality and task orientation. This can be seen through Disney hiring individuals from different European countries not just France where the park is located and by focusing on customer service.
The above orientation and organizational structure are reflected in Disney’s HR operations. Disney aims to be an organization where emphasis is placed on teamwork, balancing work and play, and energy. This encourages employees to express their ideas and opinions and feel that they are an important asset to the organization. Disney also encourages diversity among its employees and places a great emphasis on quality; individual contributions to maintaining company’s quality standard may be rewarded by different recognition programs.i This displays the company’s focus on goal achievement and encourages team members to be enthusiastic about achieving that goal.

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