Cross-cultural Communication and French Culture

Individual Assignment: “Euro Disneyland” 1. Using Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions as a point of reference, what are some of the main cultural differences between the United States and France? PDI: Power Distance IDV: Individualism MAS: Masculinity UAI: Uncertainty Avoidance PDI: Power Distance IDV: Individualism MAS: Masculinity UAI: Uncertainty Avoidance The main cultural differences when using the Hofstede dimensions are in the dimensions Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance. It is clear that French culture accepts and welcomes a relatively big power gap.
This means that it is hirarchical country where power and the flow of information is determined much more by hierarchy then in America, where this gap is less accepted by people with less power. The other big difference is France’s hight level of uncertainty avaoidance. The French would like to control the future as much as possible, they are not risk takers. The Americans on the other hand have low uncertainty avoidance that makes them risk takers, this coppeled with extremely high indiviualism and very low power distance makes them very entrepreneurial.
They act on their own and are less likely to accept the status quo when someone has more power then them. French culture also has low masculinity which means it’s a femini culture. This means that soft skills and the family are very important in France. This can be seen by France’s extensive social welfare systhem. 2. In what way has Trompenaars research helped explain cultural differences between the United States and France? Trompenaars research is based on 46000 managers from over 40 countries who answered questionnaires based on their experiences in many different cultures.

Trompenaar and his colleague Charles Hampden-Turner (“The Seven Dimensions of Culture” 2012) created a model where national culture is determined by 7 dimensions. First an important dimension is the individualism – collectives dimension. Americans are very individualistic. In the French culture work, decision-making and power is attributed to the collective. This can also be also seen in the Achievement vs. Ascription dimension. In America individual achievement is valued highly. France’s culture is more “Ascription” based, that means that the title and status you were born into determines your social level more then individual contribution.
This is called “reproduction sociale. ” The research is valuable because the methology is fact based and quantitative. The 7 dimensions look at factors that are not deemed relevant by Hofstede and give a more in depth picture of cultural differences. 3. In managing its Euro Disneyland operations, what are three mistakes that the company made? The biggest mistake first and foremost was that Disney did not understand the needs and behaviour of the customer. The customer was severely misunderstood and that let to many operational and cultural mistakes.
Only 40% of the customers were French, many were vacationing Americans and Japanese. The French people expected to be able to buy wine and Disney initially did not offer it. Large luxury hotels were built for people who were expected to spend a week in the parks, however Europeans see theme parks as daytrips. Mistakes were made when misjudging breakfast and lunch routines and dishes, witch lead to long lines and bad service. The second mistake was not being able to convince the French that Disneyland is not an American assault on French culture.
The French society was hostile from early on. Public intellectuals called the park an assault on French culture and farmers blocked the entrance of the theme park on opening day. The third mistake was the high pricing of tickets and hotel nights. Europeans have more vacation days then Americans, with similar income levels that means that the French have less expendable income per vacation day then the Americans. Disneyland reacted to the mistakes by changing the name to “Disneyland Paris” this created a stronger bond with the city and France.
Then wine was sold and the dining experience was adapted to meet customer needs. Also day ticket and hotel nights were cut by a third. The result of the changes was an increase in visitors from 8. 8 million in 1994 to 11. 7 in 1996. Based on its experience, what are three lessons the company should have learned about how to deal with diversity? The biggest lesson that they should have learned is that cultural differences matter. It is not possible to take the exact same concept that is working in America and apply it in another cultural context and then expect the same outcomes.
This is especially relevant when it comes to behaviour. The second lesson is trying to have a better understanding of who the customer is and what he wants before the launch. Extensive customer research has to be done. In the Euro Disney case many of the customers where not French and many of the French customers did not want or expect to eat the best French food in Disneyworld. They saw Disneyworld as American and therefor expected an American customer experience that included, self-service and American food.
However they also expected wine, so research is needed to understand the subtleties, what French culture can be left out when offering an American experience and what cannot. The entry into a market has to be careful and transparent in order to get more local support. The discussions with the government and the local population should not only be about the tax benefit Disney can get, but heavily focused on the positive effects Disney can bring to a host nation. These advantages, such as jobs and increased tourism have to vehemently communicated to the public.
The third lesson is to focus on opening new theme parks in emerging economies. Not only are there less attractions to compete with, Disneyland Paris is competing with the city of Paris for tourists, but also are they more open to western influences and products. Disney symbolises America. So sell America where there is demand for her, like China. Bibliography: graph (http://geert-hofstede. com/dimensions. html) ——————————————– [ 1 ]. http://geert-hofstede. com/france. html

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