The paper “ Euro Disneyland - Cross-Cultural Issues in International Management ” is a thoughtful example of a case study on management. For a business organization operating at a global scale, like Disneyland, the need to understand cultural differences within its workforce and between its workforce and the external stakeholders is of utmost importance. As Disneyland pursued stronger strategic expansions, it was surprising to find major losses in its first year of operation (Luthans & Doh, 2009). There are a lot of factors that can explain why such loss occurred for a company as strong and as stable as Disneyland – strategic plans that fail, unrealistic expectations, etc.
One of the most important realizations of Disneyland as to why such loss occurred is the inability of the company to understand the big difference between the European culture (particularly the French culture) and the American culture. This paper will attempt to explain the differences between French and American cultures using Hofstede’ s cultural dimensions and Trompenaars’ National Levels of Culture. Hofstede’ s Cultural DimensionsThe five categories are small vs. large power distance index, individualism vs.
collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long vs. short term orientation. These cultural dimensions serve as a demonstration that cultural groupings affect the behavior of societies and organizations across time and space (Hofstede, 1997). Power distance is the degree of inequality among the people in a certain racial community that they perceive normal; Individualism vs. collectivism is the degree by which people feel they have to take care for or be taken care of, by their immediate relatives; masculinity vs. femininity is the degree by which gender dominates in a particular culture; uncertainty avoidance is the degree by which the people in a country prefer structured or unstructured situations, and long vs.
short term orientation is the degree by which the people of a certain country promotes values that have long term or short term effects on their lives. Trompenaar’ s National Levels of CultureLike Hofstede, Trompenaars labeled national cultures into four main strata which include the family, the Eiffel Tower, the guided missile and the incubator (Martin & Karen, 2002). The family describes the degree of personal relationships found in cultures. Americans are less personal when dealing with other people whereas French prefer a personal level of relationship in the workplace.
The Eiffel Tower is a symbolism for the bureaucracies found in certain cultures. French culture is more bureaucratic and puts a strong emphasis on the different levels of the social structure. American culture, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on the flatness of organizations, preferring a more direct interaction between people in the organization than going through different channels. Guided-missile is a relationship in the corporate setting where everyone is independent of each other and where social divisibility simply does not exist.
The incubator is the corporate culture where managers are expected to fulfill their needs and at the same time express themselves. The incubator is where the relationship is both egalitarian and personal (Martin & Karen, 2002)Main Cultural Differences between the US and FranceFor simplicity, this paper will evaluate the cultural differences between the US and France on three social aspects – patriotism, relationships, and values. Americans boast of their country as the melting pot of cultures and knowledge.
They are proud of their ability to hold together their country despite heavy influences from various cultures and practices. The French, on the other hand, are highly conservative and overly protective when it comes to their socio-cultural identity with a very strong inclination to collectivism compared to Americans who scored high in the individualism index. French people, in general, expect outsiders to conform to French values, unlike Americans that easily accepts diversity (Hofstede, 1997).