After the massive success that the Walt Disney Company has achieved in Tokyo, the company suffered a big failure in the next overseas expansion venture which was named Euro Disneyland. The failure’s main reason was the lack of the emotional intelligence that should be present in effective leaders. In particular, the emotional intelligence components are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. The most important element that was missing in this case is empathy which represents the capability to comprehend the emotional temperament of other people and treat them accordingly.
The empathy characteristics include the cross-cultural understanding, customer service, and capability in building and holding aptitude. In reality, the Euro Disneyland case emphasizes the significance of cross-culture understanding for effective leadership. As cultural features of a specific nation play a key role in shaping the management and leadership style, a study shows that effective leadership in one cultural background may be ineffective in another . The international managers should identify cultural differences and then integrate the appropriate cultural and leadership style to lead effectively in a different environment.
In addition, it is important that the international managers who are aware of a country’s culture should integrate some of the emotional intelligence’ components to meet the needs of a specific culture which will lead to the organizational success. In order to understand the country’s culture, the business executives must understand the traditions, culture, laws, and people of a country to reduce the potential problems and effectively manage the organization. However, for the Walt Disney business this is not so.
Indeed, as cross-cultural understanding is a key characteristic of empathy component, the Walt Disney company executives did not carefully explore all sides of the European setting and culture. The Walt Disney Company executives thought they have the adequate skills to operate a theme park in another country after the immediate success in Tokyo. Therefore, they started looking for a new country to operate a new park with omitting the cultural differences between the two countries.
And because Paris is located in the same latitude as Tokyo and they have the same weather climate, the Walt Disney Company executives assumed that it is applicable to operate in Paris. Not only that, the company continued in the organizational mistakes due to the lack of cross-culture understanding. For example, the Walt Disney Company wrongly allocated staff according to the assumption that says Friday would be the heavy day for visitors and Monday a light-footed one. However, the case was the reverse. Also, in contrast of the Orlando Cast Members, French Cast Members are not adaptable to the inflexible schedule.
However, the Walt Disney Company was inattentive of the variance in employee acceptance of the inflexible scheduling. Another instance, The Walt Disney Company had mistakenly assumed that visitors of Euro Disneyland would spend a lot of money as in the United States and Japan. However, this did not happen because of Europeans’ per-capita low income. Moreover of these substantial mistakes, there is a contributing factor to the problem of Euro Disneyland which is poor customer’s service. As is stated in class’s slides, 70% of the reasons for losing customers are emotional intelligence related such as poor services and no follow up.
For the Walt Disney Company was the case. To illustrate that, the Walt Disney Company failed to well comprehend the eating lifestyles of the Europeans. For instance, the Walt Disney Company assumed that French do not eat sit-down breakfasts. Thus, the company reduced the parks’ restaurants number before the park opening. However after the opening the restaurants were crowded with enormous visitors to eat breakfast. Also they assumed that French prefer coffee and croissants on the breakfast, however, visitors like to have bacon and eggs instead.
Another instance, the Walt Disney’ policy that prohibit serving alcohol in all Walt Disney parks was rejected by French due to their cultural habit of necessity of serving the wine on lunch. So the customers complained about the lack of restaurant space, the disorderly and lengthy queues, and lack of the friendly services. Another factor of the failure of the Walt Disney Company was the leader behavior perspective that was task oriented rather than employee oriented. In fact, the company did not consider employee needs and welfare as it tried to push them to reach peak performance.
In this case, the Company demands conduct and dress code and force its employee to follow the rules which lead to angry employee reaction. Also, the Company ran into some clashes with 16 of its French constructers which threaten to delay the scheduled opening day and were sent to arbitration without try to understand their needs. Another example is the Walt Disney Company was careless of the employee acceptance of the inflexible scheduling and tried to pressure and convince them to accept the inflexible scheduling instead of find another solution.
Another instance, the Walt Disney Company built too small bus parking spaces. Thus, bus drivers were annoyed as they had a very tough time to fit their busses into the parking. . In addition, the Walt Disney Company built just 50 restroom facilities for bus drivers, but in fact they would be 2,000 drivers on peak days. In conclusion, the emotional intelligence is important feature that should be existing in an effective leaders. Indeed, empathy is a missing element in this case is which consists of the cross-cultural understanding, customer’s service, and capability in building and holding aptitude.
Therefore, a move to any overseas market should not be done without a comprehensive, intensive reading based on in-depth understanding of all cultural aspects. To do so, businesses should recognize cultural differences and then adopt the proper cultural and leadership style to lead effectively in a different setting. Also, it is significant characteristic of empathy is having a good service for customers and clients that leads to the organization success. In addition, leaders should wisely adopt the proper leader behavior perspective either people-oriented or task-oriented according to the business situation and needs.