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Disney Company SWOT Analysis and Employee Challenges

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3397 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The enchantment of Disney Animation had charmed the audiences for decades and is one of the leading producers of enlivened animated movies. The Disney studio had created more than 53 feature animated films in over three-quarters of a century—beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 through to Frozen, released in November 2013 and awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in March 2014 and also happens to be a first-class Studio for technological advancement. However, in order to reach such a popularity in animation world they have taken considerable steps to change how their organization used to function.

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Prior to 2010, Disney animation studio had a typical structured organization, which was unequipped of meeting the challenges found in a modern dynamic business environment, and it wasn’t always easy to work across departments to innovate including increasing demand on advanced technology. In 2010 Jonathan Geibel was recruited as the Director of Systems at Disney Animation who perceive the key issues of the studio that lies in organizational structure and collaborated with Ron Johnson to restructure the studio by flattening the hierarchy. He envisioned a dynamic organization with the agility of a startup company, breaking down traditional silos, empowering engineers, and supporting experimentation. As a result of this it helped in eliminating most of the challenges and issues that emerged in the past to acquire proficiency in the organization by improving the communication across all levels of the organization.


Disney Animation Studios begins from a small organization and evolving into a vast, convoluted, complicated, and hierarchical organization. At a certain phase of development, work processes involving various departments began to prevent the company from making innovative products. At the company’s inception, films were made manually, whereas innovative technology has taken over. To adapt to evolving conditions, e.g. increased technological complexity (cutting edge- computer animation and creative storytelling), and to produce convincing and engaging animated films, Disney Animation’s departments needed to improve their workflow and productivity.




Non substitutable

Viewer strength





Product recognition



Yes, the studio is one of the world’s leading and renowned animated movie producer



Potentials in the E-Commerce by means of IT Skills


No, about all competing companies are evolving in IT to enter the market



Successful Execution of Digital Strategy


No, since most companies have started getting the most out of from modernization operations






  • High-level and productive incorporated IT infrastructure of the studio enhances operational skills and increase information of the most recent market trends.
  •  Their diversity in the workplace is also a major strength, especially when the studio intends to operate on the global market.
  • Their leadership’s vision of changing the company’s atmosphere for better innovation.
  • Disney high product quality buildups, brand loyalty improves the company performance in a competitive market which makes it difficult for other competitive companies to gain popularity and outnumber Disney fanbase viewers.


  • The irregularity in both the studio’s management style with its employee and reaching out for resources instead of focusing on fundamental strategic aims of the studio to reach the pinnacle of animation world make the Disney studio directionless.
  • The decision-making process in the studio takes too long due to complex and structured organization, causing costly delays.
  • Their concentration is mostly been to fascinate the viewers from an age group those are young generations.
  • Unanticipated management practices that occurred in studio weaken the capability of the organization to operate effectively and expand its product line.
  • There appears a risk of adverse attitude within studio environment, which impedes employees from thinking creatively.


  • Increasing social media marketing can be a great prospect for Disney studio if it can guarantee solid online presence on various social networking sites.
  •  As a result of changing times, users can lean to new and unique products.
  • The development of new technologies to assist the art of animation creation can be exploited to instill the innovation in business operations.


  • The increasing number of successful competing firms affects the ability of the studio to secure and expand its fan base.
  • The fact that new cutting-edge technology is available to all from which competitors can take advantage by excelling in technology before the Disney studio could.
  • The fact that online movie platforms can also affect Disney revenue which may cause them to hire new technology readily.  

PROBLEM: Lack of Communication Among Departments

Preceding 2010, Disney animation studio worked like a traditional organization having complicated, hierarchical and structured organization with silos in which each division manager rivals each other so as to seek more resources to be successful and do the best conceivable work inside their own teams, not necessarily working towards the company’s goals. It was occasionally seen the flow of resources among different silos, even when it was obvious that moving resources to other areas was in the best interest of the studio and may help in solving mutual problems, as sharing would result in loss of resources for the group, so each group contended with others and further augmenting internal problems.

PROBLEM: Decision Making Power

 The 50-person department was organized in traditional units, each consisting of 15–20 technical staff. Meetings were held one-on-one with group members, and like clockwork every few weeks the entire group met in a formal conference room. The studio actualized a ‘top-down’ approach of management in which supervisors, managers, leaders and other executives coordinated project and tasks from upstairs offices, and  often the final technical decisions were made by managers and not within the teams who knew the most about the innovation and technology and could have more realistic and progressively sensible understanding what was currently effective. Top-down reorganizations were rarely made to adapt changing technologies. At the time of these shifts, individuals were often reassigned into new groups, reporting to a new manager.

PROBLEM: Lack of Employee Motivation

Like in most of the traditional organizations in Disney studio people with higher titles would get larger private workplaces and others might be placed in cubicles, in this way managers and other leaders get isolated from employees who needs motivation and support from top leaders to empower them for critical thinking and surrender more thoughts. In addition, as Disney animation studio had large number of people in each department who were sometimes not assigned according to their specialty, the studio weekend in improvisation.

PROBLEM: Employee Shuffling

One of the techniques that Geibel and Johnson were trying to implement was Team lead with primary and secondary members in each team. The Team leads was a good idea to help those with technical background to move up in organization but at the same time it was unfair to those who have given years in studio and couldn’t make it to higher level before less experienced employee that would make them demoralized. Similarly, making it necessary to have primary and secondary members in each team would result in more work pressure due to which employees could get exhaust that would impede in creativity. Also, continuous shuffling from one team to another may give rise to problem of dual reporting and hard to keep communication path flawless which may cause probable conflicts and hamper organizational functions.

Vision of Leadership

Geibel and Johnson has the characteristic of leadership to influence employees to voluntarily engage in organizational goals and also have vast experience in both engineering and management where they learned a lot about the difficulties and perspective from the Systems department of Disney Animations and were quickly able to comprehend the issues running in studio. In order to change the environment of the studio and bring about the best possible skills and working condition the studio began making consistent enduring and vigilant stride in every department (starting from small groups) before rolling out in entire department to limit the failure of risk of the transformation.


Organizational Design

The Disney animation studio should make changes to their organizational design – change the way toward delegating and coordinating tasks and resources to accomplish targets for the company rather than for own departments.

They should adopt more of ‘Organic’ approach than ‘Mechanistic’ approach.

  • Organic – flexible, minimal focus on procedures and rules, autonomous teams, broadly defined jobs, and decision made at lower levels.
  • Dynamic environments, innovation key.
  • Mechanistic – bureaucratic, focus on following procedures and rules through tight controls and having specialized jobs, with decisions made at the top.
  • Stable environments, uniformity and control important.

This “organic” approach will be de centralized, less formal and has a narrower control span that will give some decision making power to employees at lower level who knows what is best to implement in field apart from just managers making decisions , it will also encourage employees in studio to get involve in innovation and development that will give a sense of responsibility and give an awareness of other’s expectations and participative mindset in an organization. Also, by making small autonomous teams it will increase the exchange of resources i.e. departments no longer battling for resources and sharing when necessary. It will enable small teams to quickly adapt new technology and improvise the situations to promote an open and creative environment within the studio.

Formation of Small Teams

Forming small-autonomous team is a good way to collaborate and to function task that Disney may want to enforce due to the fact that every team member may have unique skills either in technical, administration or present great ideas, these abilities will moreover assist in performing at a degree higher than that of an individual employees. Additionally, small groups tend to be more successful when job require speed, innovation, integration and rapidly changing technological environment which is quite suitable for Disney studio.

Employee Motivation

“The first secret of effectiveness is to understand the people you work with so that you can make use of their strengths.”

One of the things an organization ought not do is to isolate the managers from employees. Managers of all levels should be central to where the most activity is taking place and not concealed  away in remote private offices since employees in general be encouraged by having extraordinary individual to work with, challenging problems to work on, and being given the ability to do that, and feeling like we esteem what they contribute. Moreover, leaders being involved with the work ensured that they and their teams were engaged and sharing a vision this would help Disney to get more creativity from their employees.

Also, to get the best out of the employee following four emotional drives and levers need to be satisfied, although it could be restricted through the company rules, but individual managers can pull those levers to deal with them and generate strategies for employees that can boost motivation despite organization constraints.

  • Acquire
  • Bond
  • Comprehend
  • Defend


Primary Lever





Reward system

  • Differentiate good performer from normal and mediocre performer
  • Draw incentives clearly to performing ones







  • Encourage trust and bond among coworkers
  • Admire joint efforts and cooperation
  • Encourage sharing and best practices





Job Design

  • Model jobs that come up with distinct and vital roles in the organization
  • Create jobs that are meaningful and nurture a feeling of commitment to the organization





Performance-management and resource-Allocation processes

  • Redouble the transparency of all activities
  • Develop trust by being straightforward and clear in awarding rewards, and other forms of acknowledgment


Source of table: Employee motivation: A powerful New Model


The previous organizational design and approach selected by Disney was right for the work, and they were performing but looking at the future environment of the ever progressive, cross-disciplinary, and dynamic film making industry, one can see that it required a high level of integration, versatility and flexibility. While implementing these recommended structures it will require noteworthy time and care, Disney Animation will experience changes that will improve the organization and enable it to deliver innovative products and be competitive in the market.

If the mentioned above recommendation is implemented the following results would occur:


  1. It will expand the resource engagement and its management with the help of small autonomous teams.
  2. Managers empower employee more instead of managing.
  3. Employees will felt more entrust, and that they are being coached.
  4. It will advance an open and creative environment.
  5. The organic organizational structure will help in getting the best group set up in place instead of a responsible group.
  6. Small teams will have more self- sufficiency that can rapidly adjust to new technology and different circumstances.

Some Drawbacks of Recommendation

  1. Making of small autonomous team creates few issues of obligation and responsibility, which makes it hard to comprehend who makes decision.
  2. The autonomous team might sometime not allow to do certain tasks.
  3. With the expulsion of silos and manager’s presence may make some introvert employee difficult to work around.



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