Cross-Cultural Issues in International Management

November 16, 2016 Management

Running Head: A Case study analysis on Cross-Cultural Issues in International Management- Euro Disneyland.

A case study on Cross Cultural Issues in International Management

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Euro Disneyland

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Ever since the concept of globalization has come into existence, the studies of cultural differences, dimensions and attitudes have began to take place and different scientists and observers started coming out with their own set of discoveries and observations (McGregor, 2004). The main reason behind cultural difference and dimensions started when workers of different countries started working together on unified projects and conflicts started arising between the people of different races and culture (Kotler, 2008). Keeping in view of such situations, Dutch Sociologist Gerard Hofstede came up with a study named as Geert Hofstede??™s Cultural Dimensions in which he laid stress upon five aspects naming Power Distance Index, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty avoidance index and Long term Orientation. The case study in this paper focuses more towards the cultural difference between employees of Disneyland that are located in different countries.

Using Hofstede??™s 4 culture dimension, highlighting main cultural differences between United States and France:

Disneyland is an American Idea of a theme park which serves as a recreational place for children and families. This theme park originally started from Anaheim, California (United States) and later on after receiving massive response from visitors all around the globe, the directors of the company started off with opening similar type of theme parks with the same name of Disneyland in Orlando (US), Tokyo (Japan) and at Marne-la-Vallee (France).

Although Disneyland did not find much difficulties in starting off their operations in Orlando and Tokyo and attracting large number of visitors in both locations but the response at Euro Disneyland had been alarming for the company. The Euro Disneyland had 12000 employees and most of them were from France. With the American idea being implemented in France, it was pretty tough for the French workers to mould themselves according to the US customs and traditions. The Euro Disneyland was located 20 miles east of Paris but the main flaw in opening a theme park as big as Disneyland in location like Paris was that the park was totally following American culture which did not attract many French visitors.

It was expected by French people that the Park might be having spots that would relate to their traditions but finding American traditions made them highly ambiguous and this turned out to be disaster for Disneyland as only 29% visitors from France visited Disneyland. As Americans have much tolerance and acceptance for other cultures and they thought they would receive the same response from French people too but it didn??™t turn out to be that successful marking a culture difference.

Workers working in Euro Disneyland were mostly French workers who were asked to dress up just like the employees of Disneyland in California and Tokyo. American top management of the Disneyland strictly imposed dress code for Euro Disney due to which French employees felt humiliated and insulted, complaining it was insult on their family traditions and customs. Due to this fact, many French workers quit their jobs. This too was a cultural difference between US & France.

The other cultural difference between US & France management of Disneyland broke out when French management of Euro Disney complained that most of the top management of Euro Disneyland was American born which never used to communicate in French which was further an insult for French people leaving them confused. As a matter of fact, French management at Euro Disneyland would have been a better option as French employees could easily communicate with French officials. Last but not the least, the American top executives of Disneyland should have adopted French culture which promotes cooperation, group decision making, friendly atmosphere and more employee freedoms plus environmental conservation. If cultural needs were taken care of, then Disneyland wouldn??™t have lost U2$34 million in its first six months of operations in Euro Disneyland.

Trompenaar??™s Research on cultural difference between US & France:

Fons Trompenaars like Hofstede is a Dutch author who has been involved in cross cultural communication and has also researched on the cultural differences between United States and France. Trompenaars research is also fairly useful to demonstrate what cultural differences exist stuck between United States and France which can later be referenced to the case study of Euro Disneyland.

Trompenaars??™s research has revealed that that there is higher percentage of Americans that respect truth and prefers telling truth to others. Americans have inherited this trait from their ancestors where as people from France are totally opposite of this which shows that they don??™t honor trust and honesty in their behavior due to which it is pretty tough for them to adjust in with Americans or a set up that has been set up by Americans. To conclude with this statement and relate it with the case study it can be analyzed and well understood why French employees were not keen to work under American management at Euro Disneyland and wanted to have higher officials who were either French or could speak in French so that communication gap between them could be easily overcome.

This clearly suggests that Americans are stricter towards following what is right and rejecting what is wrong but the French culture remains easier going and they can easily go off the track by not following any procedure that they are told to do so. The other thing that is mentioned in Trompenaars research is that Americans are more into codifying their knowledge and writing them up in their diaries, handbooks and procedure records where as French people are totally opposite of this. French people totally don??™t like to write anything and their knowledge was mainly involved and stored in networks of their relationships as they paid more importance towards keeping and maintaining stronger relationship with their pals. This created another rift between two cultures as Americans wanted everything to be organized which was no not present in French people. Americans have always been involved in detailed tasks and like to work on areas that have details available so that all concepts remain clear but French culture has been more towards following concise procedures.

In Managing Euro Disneyland operations, 3 mistakes that the company made:

There have been many mistakes that the Euro Disneyland had made but the major ones remain the most serious ones. First and the foremost mistake that has been made by the management is that they launched the theme park with American traditions and customs without knowing that French people and the visitors would expect the different culture not as the same as it is available in US and Japan. Considering French culture to be there in the theme park would certainly have changed the entire situation in favor of Euro Disneyland.

The second big mistake which the company did was investing a huge sum of money/investment to a foreign country without researching much. Euro Disney investment has been a major and massive investment made by any US company in any foreign country and without having a thorough research and projecting expected revenue, making heavy investment had been a massive mistake.

Lastly, it would have been better if Euro Disney had hired French high official on the top management for Euro Disney so that the employees would have felt better and the communication gap wouldn??™t have occurred as it occurred while US decision makers were made in charge of making decisions for Euro Disneyland. That created resentment among the French employees and resulted in further troubles for the company. It is also to be kept in mind that US company i.e. Disneyland must have respected French customs from the beginning to avoid any such arguments and problems.

Lessons learned by the company:

Certain lessons are to be learned with mistakes that are made. First and the foremost lesson that has to be learned is that whenever foreign investment has to be done then it has to be very well planned so that no problems arise when the investment has been made. Or even in case if any problem arises then the solution must be reachable and must be implemented easily with no hurdle. In case of foreign investment, the culture and traditions of the host country must be met with great care so that the host country is able to pay respect to the country that has made the investment. Last but not the least, the lesson for Euro Disneyland is that it should always invest where it can implement its plans and must plan its budget so well that the company doesn??™t make losses on its investments.


1 Kotler, P, Marketing Management, Asian Perspective, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, New York.

2. McGregor, R, Cultural Practices at work and corporations, 4th edition, OUP, Cambridge.

3. Trompenaars, F., Did the Pedestrian Die (Capstone Publishing, 2003)

4. Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C., 21 Leaders for the 21st Century (Capstone Publishing, 2001)


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