The word ‘management’ originated in America and ever since assumptions have been made about the universal acceptability and success of their business practices. There are a number of international ventures which have failed miserably due to Americans not considering the cultural aspects when entering into business in a new country.
Euro Disney is a perfect example of the failure of American business processes in another country. The primary aim of this article is to explain how Euro Disney suffered the costs of cultural miscalculations. Geert Hofstede’s work on culture has served as the theoretical basis of this article. His dimensions of culture have been used to explain differences in American and French cultures & the problems that occurred at Euro Disney.
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American businesses make assumptions about the transferability of their business, management, marketing, economic and structural models of organizing which frequently fail to take into consideration cultural differences. An example of the consequences of such an approach to intercultural business practice can be found in the Disney Corporation’s recent European venture, now called Disneyland, Paris. Lack of cultural sensitivity and the negative infiltration strategy used by the Disney Corporation resulted in a great loss of time, money and reputation for which the corporation has only recently begun to compensate.
It is the primary thesis of this article that the initial losses experienced by the Disney Corporation may have been prevented if only its representatives had known then what they know now: simply put, that organizations are not distinct, separate entities capable of functioning outside their physical, social and cultural environments. That insight, of course, calls for a different approach to international business, one which begins with the most basic aspect of human organizations, namely effective, meaningful, communicative interactions between people.
As international business is becoming critically important in this world of globalization, so is the need to understand cultures, cross cultural psychology and people across nations. There is a lot of focus on cultural studies and plenty of research is done in this area. Yet, there is a lot of scope for further studies due to the gaps in the research. Today there are several models which help understand how people from different nations are expected to act; the one by Geert Hofstede has become the most influential (Hong, Zhang & Stump 2007, p. 60) The cultural dimensions by Geert Hofstede have served as the specific theoretical framework for this study.
Although there are many criticisms to the Hofsted’s model and his dimensions yet there is no other study that compares so many other national cultures in so much detail. Simply this is the best there is. (Mead chapter 2: pg 51) With the advancements in communication and technology, the physical distance between countries is diminishing (Angur et al.
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