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Walt Disney Company

Introduction

Walt Disney Company is one of the renowned international hospitality companies in the world. Its impact in the society is felt from employing people and providing commodities to staff. The present paper looks forward to discussing the companys history, the past and current problems it faces, and the solutions to the challenges. Based on the problems, a discussion of the impacts and company improvements will be at the heart of the work.

 

Brief History of Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney Company has a rich history due to its long years in the market as well as its growth over the decades. It was founded in 1923 as Walt Disney Productions, by Walt and Roy Disney who came up with Cartoon Studio based in Burbank, California (Nielson, 2014). After some time, it went into television, travel, and live film production. In 1928, it shot a movie called Steamboat Willie that showed one of the first cartoons that had synchronized sounds (Nielson, 2014). Consequently, the Disney brothers received increased revenues that made the company grow substantially. The company renamed itself as Walt Disney Studio in 1937 as it made one of its first animated feature film called the Snow White, followed by the renowned Pinocchio and Fantasia. The company went on to grow due to its outstanding performance.

After the death of Walt Disney, the management began to change. In the advent of Walt Disneys death in 1966, the companys management was run by his brother Roy, before an executive team of Disney Brothers training (Nielson, 2014). According to Nielson (2014), the team implemented Walts plans for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) theme park by restructuring the film segment to include both Hollywood and Touchstone Pictures. The adoption of the Walts plans by the new management saw the company outshine in the hospitality industry that helped it to gain a stake in the market.

In addition, the company faced turbulent times in its operations, but they were resolved. It met a perception that its stock was undervalued, resulting in various attempts for taking it over (Nielson, 2014). However, the attempts were fiercely thwarted. Nielson (2014) says that in 1984, the new management took over with Frank Wells being the new chief operating officer and president while Michael Eisner took the position of the chairperson and CEO. As a way to rejuvenate its activities, the management changed its name to Walt Disney Company and started to expand its operations by focusing on various areas like theater, publishing, radio, and online media. Under the leadership of Eisner, the company started opening branches of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDPR) which have come as a tsunami in the hospitality industry. Although WDPR began in 1955 (WDPR, 2016), the marked growth was substantial during Eisners leadership. Currently, WDPR has expanded having five world-class destinations for vacation with eleven theme parks as well as 47 Resorts (WDPR, 2016). WDPR operates in different parts of the world including Asia, Europe, and North America, and it intends to open the sixth destination in the populated Shanghai in June 2016. Therefore, despite the challenges, the company has grown.

Past and Current Problems

Walt Disney Company has experienced several challenges in its operations and certain issues remain up to date. In the early 1940s, the company experienced human resource challenges. The 1940s were characterized with workers strikes and boycotts that dragged the Disneys company to a great deal (Johnson, 2008). Most of the employees said that the company did not appreciate their efforts, which put it on the top of the hospitality and entertainment industry. The company failed in addressing its workers reactions in a respectful manner by rewarding their efforts. Instead, it initiated a lay-off campaign that resulted in numerous workers losing their precious income-earning jobs (Johnson, 2008). Consequently, the reaming employees staged protests through boycotting duties. The 1941 strike lasted for about five weeks, and during that time the company was losing profits and revenue. Besides, the company lost its workers trust, and their productivity declined substantially.

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Additionally, the company has introduced certain policies relating to ethics that may have attracted legal action from the relevant authorities. The appearance policies like the renowned Disney Look outlined in a 25-page booklet describes how the company looks forward to projecting its image at theme parks (Pedicini, 2015). The American Civil Liberties Union and the Sikh Coalition threatened to take legal action against the company with a goal to help restore the rights of Sikhs, especially when it comes to dressing (Pedicini, 2015). In one of the circumstances, the two groups helped to win the right of one of the Sikh mail carrier whose religion demanded wearing a turban and unshorn beard, which is against the "Disney Look" policy. The policy restricts the size of beards to about a quarter and inch as well as and wearing hats. According to Pedicini (2015), such restrictions may attract more legal challenges. In addressing the mentioned concern, the company has allowed some of its employees, who wore turbans, to work in jobs hidden from customers view. Therefore, the policy is posing an enormous challenge to the Walt Disney Company, despite its efforts in addressing the consequences of such a controversial move.

Although Disney needs to make profits, its prices are rather high posing a challenge to its customers. Hochberg (2010) asserts that the prices have inflated for food and resorts more than for park admission. Hochberg further says that the companys buffets cost between $30-40 per person, however, the selection and quality of foods does not warrant its high price. In the recent past, Disney hiked the prices of its commodities compelling customers to pay $87 for a single day's admission to only one of the theme parks (Orange County Register, 2016). The figure below shows the prices for resort park tickets which customers consider to be rather high, and the company should work hard in addressing the challenge.

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Figure 1: Disneyland Resort Tickets (Orange County Register, 2016)

Solutions to Disneys Challenges

Employees require adequate rewards and remuneration to enhance their good performance. The only solution to solve the impact of strikes is to listen to the striking workers by negotiating so that their needs can be fulfilled or the companys position can be clear to them. According to Johnson (2008), employees whose needs and concerns are heard rarely bring the opposition to business operations by boycotting work and striking. Disney could not have fired the workers who complained about remuneration for their efforts, but the company could have instead listened to them to resolve the issue diplomatically.

On the other hand, solving the crisis revolving around the Disney Look policy by allowing religious exemptions can help the company. Public image is important for any business organization to perform well in the competitive market. Customers mostly get attracted to a company that displays a good picture. Although Disneyland tried to create a real image through the introduction of the policy, it should have exempted the employees with religious affiliations that could violate the policy. Such a thing can help the company to avoid legal conflicts with its employees.

Finally, the prices and the quality of commodities should correlate to allow customers to buy them. When a corporation sets high prices for commodities, it should ensure that all of them are of the quality that corresponds to the set prices. Hochberg (2010) said that Disney's buffet prices were quite high, yet the quality and selection of foods were questionable which scared the customers. Such a condition means that if Disney Company could offer quality, the customers would be satisfied with their services. On the other hand, the company should provide commodities at fewer prices as long as they are lacking the quality. Henceforward, the company will realize high sales by having customers going for the commodities.

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Impacts or Improvement for Walt Disney

The company improved its way of handling employees, especially during work boycotts and strikes. It recognized that ending the strike could involve negotiating with its workers and paying them well concerning their respective efforts. Johnson (2008) says that the company ascertained that its workers would not be dismissed, and those who lost their jobs could be reinstated. Such a promise was the only way to avoid conflicts with the employees. After fulfilling the promise, the strike ended. The employees came back to work since their pay was raised while the fired ones returned to their jobs. The companys functions resumed as normal.

Moreover, the Disney Look policy exemptions were used in solving the ethical and legal concerns from the companys employees as well as their unions and associations. The company has tried to resolve the dilemma by allowing employees who go against the policy due to their religious affiliations. One of the employees, who has a beard and wears turban, is currently working in the company (Pedicini, 2015). Such an allowance has made the company avoid conflicts with the law and pressure from the workers' unions and religious groups. However, a lot should be done to address the issue fully.

Finally, Disneyland is committed to producing quality services to its customers which will help to promote customers demand for its products and services. As a result of quality commodities, the company earns high revenue that allowed it to open various branches in several continents. For instance, WDPR currently has branches in Asia, Europe, and North America and will soon have a new one in Shanghai. Such a growth is as a result of earning substantial revenues from its customer-satisfying products and services. The company should further work hard in producing better quality and minimizing prices to increase its sales due to the mentioned impacts.

Conclusion

Walt Disney Company has grown over the years after spreading its activities to several continents. After lasting for almost a century, the company has a rich history. However, it has experienced certain challenges which still affect it today. For instance, workers strikes, high prices, and certain policies are posing a challenge to its operations. However, there are various solutions some of which it has used to create a huge impact.

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