Learning from the Disneyland Paris Experience.
A Case study in International/Intercultural Communication
This is the most wonderful project we have ever done.
Michael Eisner, CEO, Walt Disney Company
A horror made of cardboard, plastic, and appalling colors; a construction of hardened chewing gum and idiotic folklore taken straight out of comic books written for obese Americans.
Jean Cau, French Critic
American businesses make assumption about the transferability of culturally loaded business models which fail to take in to consideration cultural differences. For Disneyland Paris, this fundamental assumption was the basis for an array of resulting cultural insensitivities. Many of the consequences experienced by Disney could have been prevented if cultural assumptions would have been closely considered at the onset. Simply put, that organizations are not distinct entities capable of working outside their physical, social and cultural environments.
Many writers claim that modern communications and rising income levels promote common culture worldwide.
If there were a common culture, the international marketing task would be much easier. When people write about a convergence of cultures the evidence cited is usually taken from people's behavior and practices with regard to the products they wear and the food they eat. However, these rather superficial manifestations of culture are sometimes mistaken for all there is; the deeper, underlying level of values, which moreover determine the meaning for people of their practices, is over-looked. Some managerial implications are more sensitive to culture than others. The firm's capability in dealing with managerial issues across markets is based on three different but related abilities: the ability to
- Cope with cultural heterogeneity across different international markets.
- Harmonize its products and services and their marketing with the symbolic meaning that target markets in different cultures assign them and
- Identify and exploit new opportunities in foreign cultural...