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Appendix A Continuing Case: Walt Disney Company Once Upon a Time at Disney 1. How have the necessary skills for a successful manager changed at Disney over the decades? Disney has evolved from a small company in an emerging field to one that requires multiple managers overseeing thousands of employees. Today, managers must possess conceptual skills, human skills, and technical skills in order to make sure their segment of the organization runs efficiently and performs to expectations. 2. Why is it critical for Disney to become a learning organization? Disney needed to get rid of its bureaucratic structure and become more flexible, more synergistic to retain its special place in the entertainment industry. The company must compete in a fast-changing market, with various levels of competition and ever-changing consumers’ tastes. One way to do this is to promote the concepts behind the learning organization. 3. What important management skills did Michael Eisner bring to Disney? Do you think his skills are still effective in today’s environment? Answers will vary, but most students will point out that he was effective in bringing the organization forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In particular, he understood the “Disney magic” as it relates to customers, the importance of company communication, and uniting the company’s divisions into one synergistic marketing force.

Disney America: No Happily Ever After 1. Do you think Disney made the correct decision in its plans to design, and then cancel, the Disney America project? Why? Did Disney lack understanding of the general and task environments? Opinions will vary, but students should support their views with facts and solid reasoning. 2. How does Disney’s value of its corporate image differ from that of other companies? Do you view Disney differently? Why? Again, answers will vary. Students’ answers should correlate social responsibility and corporate image with the general environment. 3. Walt Disney Co. was founded by an entrepreneur and was once a small business. Name three ways in which you think Disney has contributed to the American economy and culture over

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the past 80 years. Would those contributions have also applied to the Haymarket, Virginia region? Answers will vary, but might include the following: Disney and its products helped shape the childhoods of millions worldwide; created new forms of entertainment and marketing; and built a mythology for itself through its adept marketing and family-friendly businesses.

Plugging in the Disney Magic 1. How would a SWOT analysis have helped Disney when it entered the digital world? Would it have affected the company’s failures and successes? Answers might include the fact that despite its global name recognition, and service reputation, Disney’s external opportunities—such as expected customer attitudes and buying behaviors—were less predictable in newer, customer-controlled technologies. 2. Were tactical plans integral to, or even more effective than, Disney’s major strategic plans in the DVD and on-demand markets? In a complex environment where downloading and file-sharing are a threat, the short-term profits of tactical planning make sense because of the unknowable effect of long-term technological and environmental changes. 3. In your opinion, did Eisner make the correct long-term strategic decision for Disney when he rejected a new deal with Pixar? Create a hierarchy of goals for Disney’s CGI division. Answers may vary as students explore different approaches to the marketplace.

Disney: The Global Kingdom 1. What were the major reasons for resistance to the pan-European reorganization? Did Dennis Hightower address it effectively? What would you have done differently? Answers will vary, but students should explore nationalism, loss of autonomy, self-interest, economic uncertainties, global turbulence and resistance to change, as well as cultural clashes. 2. Dennis Hightower faced a huge multicultural management challenge. How effectively did he manage it? How would force-field analysis have helped? What implementation tactics would you suggest? Answers will vary, but tactics could include communication and education, participation, negotiation, coercion, and top management support. 3. In your opinion, what are the long-term financial and organizational implications of shifting to “mega-deals?” Are they, as one European said, more an American phenomenon and less applicable to diverse cultural arenas?

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Answers will be based on students’ opinions.

Disney Leadership Grows a Tin Ear 1. Review Eisner’s communication skills, as presented in the case. How would you evaluate his leadership style? Answers will vary, but students should cite and explain the elements of leader- member relations, task structure, and position power at Disney. 2. How did Eisner’s use of power and command of management affect his skills as a transformational leader? Students’ answers will vary, but they should consider whether Eisner’s power is legitimate, reward, coercive, expert or referent. In the areas of management, answers should mention vision, change, and creativity as well as stability, order, and problem solving. 3. Exhibit 11.2 lists the personal characteristics of leaders. What characteristics does Michael Eisner possess? What traits might he need for the next decade of Disney? Answers should cite traits from Chapter 11’s Exhibit 11.2, which lists the personal characteristics of leaders. Students can pick any of the characteristics, but they should support their conclusions with facts from the case. For example, they might cite “desire to lead” from the exhibit and support it with Eisner’s four roles of a leader listed in the case.

Controlling Disney’s Global Magic Kingdom 1. Do you think that Disney’s operational structure adheres to TQM techniques? Students’ answers will vary, but emphasis should be placed on TQM’s decentralized organizationwide philosophy as best-suited for Disney’s corporate level, due to the company’s emphasis on synergy (manager-employee collaboration), feedforward controls (to anticipate issues), feedback, and continuous improvement. 2. How could Disney benefit from open-book management? Would Euro Disney especially benefit? Answers should include references to cross-functional communication, to empowering employees to better define and value their role in the company, and to ways they affect and can be tied to its financial success. 3. What stage of operations strategy would you say is illustrated by Walt Disney Co. in this case? Why? Answers will vary but could touch on Disney’s synergy groups, goal setting, aligning operational and company strategies, and pursuit of new technologies.

62 â–  Appendix A

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