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It has been observed that one of the main reasons that cause disasters is the cross cultural differences; this is because culture can be said to be the "engine of the mind" and it determines the attitude, policies and the character of the person (Hosfstede,1989) In addition to that feng has stated that understanding the cross cultural differences is vital for the success of organizations in different countries (Feng, 2009). The purpose of this research paper is to discuss two major theories that touch on culture, the paper will focus on the Hofstede's cultural magnitude and the Trompenaars' culture on organizational ethnics to illustrate the key cultural disparities between USA and France will be discussed. The 5D Model of Professor Geert Hofstede will be used as an aid in the paper. Apart from that a critical review about the mistakes done by the Euro Disneyland administration in France will be discussed in the paper.
The Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions
In the Hofstede's cultural dimensions the following key issues have been addressed; authority, distance, uncertainty avoidance, selfishness, manliness and finally short term-orientation (Hofstede, 1989). If the above dimensions are applied on Euro Disneyland in France, it can be said that the French people have high uncertainty avoidance. It is vital to note that uncertainty avoidance means that people believe they are unsafe because of they are afraid of the future (Feng). From the model above, it can be observed that the Americans have lower uncertainty avoidance level than the French; this means that Americans are more courageous when it comes to facing and taking risks while French people avoid taking risks because of the fear of the unknown future (Stove, Mujtaba, 2009). In addition to that Stove and Mujtaba have observed from all the guests that they had, only 29% of spectators were of French origin while the rest were foreigners. According to Feng clear and precise rules and regulations should be spelt out when dealing with people who have high avoidance uncertainty cultural syndrome. In addition to that, he has stated that people with low uncertainty avoidance culture trait, have organization settings with less structuring activities, traditional rules and more risk taking (Feng, 2009).
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In nations like Japan, India and France, the high positions are for extraordinary people and orders of the bosses should be obeyed blindly without question (Alder); as a result people are grouped either as high and low power distance depending on their status in the society or organization. The case is however different in countries like Norway, Ireland and United State that don't believe in having one center of leadership and that power should be distributed equally (Feng, 2009). Hence this case shows that the French people have large authority distance and American people have low authority distance (Stove, Mujtaba, 2009).
There are also some nations whose residents believes in individualistic culture, these are nations like Italy and Australia. The persons in these nations like to take care and achieve their individual goals and they care less about their neigbours. The case is however different in nations that believe and practice collective culture where they take care of each other. Examples of such nations are Pakistan, Japan and Indonesia (Feng, 2009). One of the main differences between these two cultures is that persons in societies with collectivism work collectively to achieve their goals and objectives while those in individualism people work independently to achieve their goals and objectives. Hofstede has recommended that there should be a balance between individualism and collectivism cultures. According to Alder Americans and French people have adapted to the personal or individualistic culture and therefore when the American executives in Euro Disneyland enforce strong rules they go against their traditions of and customs of individualism and in the end they were unable to deliver on their mission in Euro Disneyland (Alder, 2008).
The issue of gender dominance in the modern day world cannot be underestimated; Soares et al have observed that the Germany masculine culture is based on principles of accomplishment, monetary gains and other "earthly things" while the feminine cultures tend to be based on the ethics of caring and quality of life (Soares, et al. 2007). When it comes to the gender culture between the Americans and the French, it can be said that the French people have a lower level of masculinity than Americans. (Feng, 2009).
The Trompenaars Theory
There are very few scholars who have conducted successful research on cross cultural management; Fons Trompenaars from Netherlands is one of them. He has observed that there are five relationship aspects that people deal with and that the differences in the national cultures are reflected in the organizational culture (Feng, 2009). In addition to that he introduced four main types of cultures namely, "Family, the Eiffel Tower, the Guided Missile and the Incubator" (Mendonsa, 1999; Francesco and Gold, 2005). The Eiffel Tower organization culture shows a realistic way of describing organizations' duties in advance. This culture has pyramid type structure which means that the company policy and plans are set by executive management and these orders are carried out by the numerous employees working for them, this however varies from one department to the other. The job of a specific responsibility to be undertaken by each department in and organization is the main difference between hierarchy in family type of culture and Eiffel Tower organizational culture.
According to Francesco and Gold there are some differences between the guided missile organizational cultures from the Eiffel Tower organizational culture and the family type of organizational culture. It has been observed that the guided missile organizational culture has more domestic nature and employees are assessed on their own individual performance. In this type of organizational culture also, employees are required to be more result focused and more emphasize is on the end result (Francesco and Gold, 2005). This culture requires that all the organizations functions and operations in line with the strategies and the mission of the organization and finally the outcome is based purely on the teamwork. This is the exact opposite to the Eiffel Tower culture where employees are exclusively empowered to take decisions at the point of time rather than follow the written instructions (Mendonsa, 1999).
The establishment of the Euro Disneyland in France was not without its share of challenges and mistakes; according to Mendonsa, the first challenge was in the Human Resource Department, the human resource department of Euro Disneyland was unsuccessful in all fields of HRM including the lack of cultural awareness and misinterpretation of the French laws and the lifestyle of French people (Mendonsa, 1999). It is the responsibility of any human resource department to first consider the reasons that may lead to success or failure of a project in a foreign nation and make sure that the organizations accounts and abide by the rules, lifestyle, cultures and people of the hosting country (Stove and Mujtaba, 2009). For example, Euro Disneyland has policy not to serve alcohol in the parks of France; it is against the people habit as they love to take a wine while having lunch. This is one area that the HRM department failed to address.
Secondly, the Euro Disneyland management and board of directors made a number of operational errors. For instance, they assumed that the American entertainment culture is the same as that of the French where Mondays would be light days and Fridays heavy days. They went ahead to allocate staff based this assumption but this guess was wrong. The design of the transportation system also made a big negative impact, the parking spaces for the buses was too small and a result the bus drivers did not like them since they found it hard to park their buses in the reserved parking slots (Stove and Mujtaba, 2009). The third factor was in relation to the looming signs of the economic recession; these risk factors and signs were under estimated which resulted into its not being a success. For example, they did not understand the signs of European recession. Due to the recession the French real-estate collapsed and it affected badly the Euro Disneyland sales and progress (Stove, Mujtaba, 2009).
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In any project, there are lessons that are learnt; this doesn't matter whether the project was a success or failed. There are a number of lessons to be learnt from the Euro Disneyland. First, if a project is successful in one geographical location, it does not mean that it will be an instance success in another geographical location if rolled out. It is therefore the responsibility of the HR department to first understand the cultural differences, laws, climate, and habits of the people, geography and foreign risks before it implements a project (Francesco and Gold, 2005). Secondly, the success of any organization depends on how united an organization is especially the executive. It is therefore vital to resolve workplace issues, employees should be happy with the company policy, there should not be any communication lapse between them and in this way they can save the company from making serious mistakes (Francesco and Gold, 2005). It is therefore important to consider the cultural respect of the host country as well as establish effective communication because they are effective tools in attract the people to their business.
This research paper has discussed two major theories about culture; the Hofstede's cultural dimensions and the Trompenaars' research on organizational culture. From the paper it can be said that the Hofstede's cultural dimensions and the Trompenaars' research on organizational culture are the important theories to apply for the analysis of the cultural differences among the countries. Hofstede's cultural dimensions takes power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and masculinity as important factors while Trompenaars considers four main types of culture like "Family, the Eiffel Tower, the Guided Missile and the incubator. The paper has also analyzed how the Euro Disneyland failed to take into consideration these cultures when it was establishing itself in the French market and as a result the Euro Disneyland management of human resource committed very serious mistakes, like respect of host culture, habits of people, and economic conditions which led them to failure in France.