Sample Topic: Organizations and Change

 

Title: Organizations and Change

 

 

 

1. Introduction

2. An Entertainment Culture at Pixar

3. Conceptual Framework

4. Conclusion

 

Organization and Change

Introduction

Organizations constantly operate in environments featuring varying corporate cultures. It is through the use of organizational cultures that companies and businesses manage to remain in business and to attain success. Furthermore, it is by strongly sticking to own organizational cultures that businesses are to be able to remain strongly committed towards the attainment of objectives. Without further ado, it is important to emphasize the vitality of culture in an organization that is bound to remain relevant in society. It is at the hallmark of this consideration that the author of this essay finds the reason to indulge in explicating the role that culture plays in the Pixar organization. In order to achieve that, the author presents a framework that begins by emphasizing the importance of culture within the organization. Secondly, for culture to turn out useful, it must be guided by principles that recognize the organizational objectives, customer satisfaction, superior quality, and teamwork. In a nutshell, organization culture touches the human resources aspect, the strategic management aspects, and the multicultural aspects, among other vital elements of value to organizational stability. Hence, in order to have a clear grasp of the organizational culture at Pixar, the writer shall begin by introducing Pixar as a whole and then proceed to identify the cultural elements that make up the entire organization. This shall be presented in the light of the existing literature about organization and culture. After going through the various aspects of culture within Pixar, and after getting a clear grasp of typical cultural frameworks, the research shall thence provide recommendations and conclude remarks about Pixar.


Pixar Studio for animation is a computer animation corporation that has excelled in the provision of creative as well as technical solutions to the modern consumers. Additionally, the Pixar animation corporation, since its establishment, has been in business with an aim of combining "proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories” in order to exhilarate its entire audience (Pixar, 2010). It is therefore important to note that Pixar Corporation operates under the inspiration of technology in achieving its objectives.


Pixar started as a result of the union of two vital individuals; that is, John Lasseter and George Lucas. Prior to this union, John Lasseter had worked at Disney. George Lucas, on the other hand, had been manning the Lucasfilm limited before the establishment of Pixar. Ever since its formation, the Pixar Corporation has experienced growth and success thus earning it a number of awards. Of utmost importance is the fact that the company has been able to pursue its objective of animating its audience through computer-generated graphics and movie production. To achieve this success the company has been able to review its organization culture in order to fit the continuous environmental changes in consumer preferences and technology.

 

Pixar operates by presenting different film features, short films, technological awareness, creative teams, and relationships among its members and the Disney group. The author of this essay shall address all these aspects in a comprehensive manner. This is aimed at pointing out the role culture plays in enhancing productivity, creativity and fun in the entertainment industry.

 

The organization culture of Pixar features a number of aspects such as clarity, impartiality, enhanced communication among staff members, as well as a readiness to embrace business environment volatility. As a result of this, the organization has been viewed to promote a flat structure that is void of hierarchical aspects. In other words, staff members receive the same kind of respect within the organization. Furthermore, they use the same space no matter what management level one belongs to. Additionally, regarding their mode of dressing, members maintain a dressing code that is casual. This means that the organization, inasmuch as it is formal in terms of its governance, it is also informal in the sense that there is no strictness in terms of the manner in which members communicate with each other. In order to better understand the role organization plays in Pixar, it is important to explicate the nature of a typical organization culture. These comprise four types; that is, the task culture, the role culture, the person culture, and the power culture. Task cultures enable members to work on particular issues for which they are formed. As a result of this, the members within the group tend to be very proficient in their work since they both use the matrix reporting structure. However, role culture, on the other hand, exhibits a situation in which members have the autonomy to decide under a highly bureaucratic environment. In this case, members must adhere to a specific manner of doing things.

 

Furthermore, individuals have varying capacities in as far as their positions are concerned. Therefore, their environment is generally managed by the various mechanisms in place. Closely connected with this is the power culture. This type of organization culture elevates the role of regulations and rules and power extends from the top leadership down the hierarchy. However, this type of organization culture does embrace much bureaucracy.

 

An Entertainment Culture at Pixar

Pixar group is itself an entertainment corporation and as such it has strongly embraced a culture of fun in which all members have the freedom to present their ideas whenever they feel like. In other words, Pixar is a social organization which bestows so much concern on its members. As observed in its onset, Pixar started with a team of about fifty employees who had been given the autonomy to offer their skillfulness to the company in a very entertaining manner. All these members are mandated to perform effectively and with a lot of flexibility by the human resources management team. It is the duty of the human resource managers to oversee the elevation of Jablonski’s participative management (Jablonski, 1992). Participative management takes care of an all-inclusive participative administration with an aim of cutting down the top-down aspect of leadership (Jablonski, 1992). As a result of this, the organizational projects and policies are attained through a close link between all the staff members. This, as a result, brings us to the consideration of what leadership entails. In terms of leadership, Roger Gill notes that most organizational failures are as a result of poor leadership as opposed to poor management (Gill, 2007). Thus, as Mohamed Zairi notes, leadership calls for the empowerment of people, their recognition, as well as their growth (Zairi, 1994). The organization culture of Pixar has structured in the sense that it recognizes this leadership structure. Throughout its entire structure members are bestowed the capacity to render their contribution to the corporation in the most free and fair manner. The creativity and proficiency is highly recognized so much that they are able to provide various animations in relation to their creativity and humour.

 

Additionally, while considering leadership in Pixar, another element of concern arises. This relates to the idea of teamwork. Teamwork in organizations is assertively presented by Deming who observes that all leaders in their capacity should be able to work as a team so that relational barriers among staff members are maintained minimally (Deming, 2000, p.117). Whenever barriers among leaders and staff are eliminated, problems encountered in any department are shared and solved amicably thus avoiding any instance of leadership wrangles. Additionally, the mode of decision making in Pixar is horizontal as opposed to vertical. In this kind of decision making, all members have the autonomy to offer their contributions in the managerial section without any difficulty. Hence, by engaging all members of staff in the decision-making process, Pixar is able to promote team learning the principles of shared vision and two-way communication framework. Furthermore, it is through the elevation of teamwork that personal mastery is achieved. It is also through the promotion of team learning that individuals are endowed with the required talents to perform their duties. Therefore, Gilbert in full affirmation of team learning proceeds by observing the existence of strong confidence on teamwork in which individuals have the freedom to bring out their very best in terms of their abilities. This, as a result, calls for freedom in terms of management, teamwork or rather collective work (Gilbert, 2007, p.1).

 

Nevertheless, in line with the entertainment culture, the organization premises are structured to maintain an environment that is entertaining, creative, and volatile. This stands out as a result of the decorations that appear in various offices featuring different toy pictures. Any visitor to the organization premises is received with inviting images starting from the entrance to the various offices. One thing that stands out whenever visiting the Pixar studios is the inviting ambience that allows for a close interaction between the employees. Further, this close and interactive environment is enhanced by the fact that there is no hierarchical features Pixar and that the entire organization is managed by a flat organization culture in which case regard for authority doesn’t offer much change. Various games are encouraged within the hallways, meeting venues, and other recreational facilities. This provides members with an opportunity to interact and share ideas on a daily basis. And whenever people interact by sharing thoughts, there is bound to be increased creativity as assertively provided by Silverthrone (2008, p.1).

 

Entertainment is so pervasive that it encompasses the entire global village. Furthermore, in order to increase in its market share Pixar ensure that it attains a greater customer scope in order to enhance its brand image as well as its market share. As a result, it has embraced a network marketing campaign that recognizes that its name be embraced globally. And as observed through its organizational website, the structure resembles the manner in which offices are structured. Upon logging into their website, Pixar presents a number of toy images that reflect the reality experienced in various parts of the world. Furthermore, the reality presented in the website offers an image of creativity and fun. Hence, whenever a customer visits the company’s site on the web, he/she is encouraged to dig deeper and enjoy more features from the company.

Additionally, another element that emerges as one analyzes the organizational culture at Pixar is that aspect of organizational aesthetics or beauty. This again observed in the manner in which the various creative elements are manifested in various toys. Notwithstanding has the opportunity to animate his/her role in the movie with various creative elements emanating from within so that as he/she expresses them in art, one is able to create enhance the aesthetic beauty and brand image. That is the reason why the Pixar studio has maintained an outstanding performance in its productions over the years.

 

Nevertheless, as we ponder over the role played by organization culture in enhancing effectiveness and progress, we also need to consider the role that environmental dynamics play in influencing organizational stability. This consideration should be viewed in the light of inquiring upon our responses when faced with the quest to grow and survive in the current competitive and volatile business environment. In a nutshell, every business manager is expected to ensure improved productivity, customer satisfaction, as well as superior quality in the provision of products and services. This calls for constant revisions in all areas of operations. It further calls for strategic decisions as opposed to long-term decisions. Whereas long-term decisions enable organizations to stick to their objectives in the long-run, short-term decisions enable organizations to respond to the volatile environment in an open and aggressive manner. This ensures that the various policies implemented are in line with the organizational needs.

 

Thus, as we evaluate the organization culture at Pixar in the light of the aforementioned perspective, interest should be drawn towards the manner in which Pixar Corporation addresses its stability. As mentioned in the introductory remarks of this essay, and as it has been continually emphasized thereon, Pixar which maintains a flat type of structure featuring casual interaction platforms in which all members interact without regard to the hierarchical positions held by both members. Through their interactions, members are able to share their experiences, thoughts and aspirations without any stress. Therefore, the role of the top management team is rather to enable the sharing of information rather than controlling the operations of the company in a formal manner. This can either be termed as customer satisfaction duties, total quality management, teambuilding, or re-engineering (Chaudron, 2010).

 

Currently, globalization has pervaded the entire business world, and as a consequence, businesses tend to engage actively in competition and new market searches. Of utmost importance is the role that diversity plays in the realm of globalization. Furthermore, diversity comes due to the evolution of expertise and knowledge (Edmondson, and Nembhard, 2009, p.123). This requires an understanding of the consumer needs and expectations, consumer satisfaction, new product development, among other aspects of organizational culture development. This introduces one to the total quality management principle of customer focus. Customer focus calls for improved service delivery and customer satisfaction (Peker, 1995, p.vii). This requires that whenever a policy is implemented it should be implemented in the light of its contribution towards customer satisfaction and superior performance. Customers across the world react to various issues differently based on their cultural backgrounds. Therefore, Pixar has embraced diversity in its approach towards the production of films. Nevertheless, the implementation process must take care of the societal volatility (Iwaarden and Wiele, 2007). But this does not mean that organizations must change their entire culture, it instead calls for the adoption of new policies (Dahlgaard, 2000) in order to promote sustenance.


An Example of policy that has been implemented at Pixar in order to promote substance includes the formation of mergers. This would be observed in the relationship between Pixar and Walt Disney as of May 1991 leading to the introduction films which were marketed and distributed by Disney. This relationship was further enhanced in 2006 when both Disney and Pixar merged leading to the acquisition of Pixar by Walt Disney Company (Pixar, 2010). A question that lingers in the minds of many regarding this merger concerns the overall result that such an acquisition produced. The immediate result of this acquisition was the expansion of market share and technological framework.

 

Concerning technology, Pixar has seen a vibrant breakthrough in the use of filmmaking computer graphics. This has been facilitated by the most successful individuals in this area of entertainment. Since the year 1986 Pixar has facilitated the development of the most technologically superior computer application that is used within the company in the creation of movies.

 

Conclusion

This essay on organizations and culture began by first acknowledging the environment within which businesses operate as a volatile one. On that same note, the writer went on to assert that for organizations to maintain stability and success they must continually embrace a trend that recognizes the changing environmental conditions and their influence on organizational performance and sustainability. It was further acknowledged that organizational objectives determine the organizational culture. Based on that understanding, the writer went ahead to discuss about Pixar Corporation which is a computer animation company specialized in the production of films for various consumers. Additionally, as observed by the writer, Pixar features an entertainment culture which is continuously reviewed to reflect the changes in the organizational environment. As the author of this essay continued to observe, Pixar tremendously elevates the role played by creativity in managing the human resources. This consideration emanates from the opportunity that is bestowed upon each individual employee to be creative. This creative element was seen to go hand in hand with autonomy and casual relationships among the staff members.

 

As emphatically presented by the author of this essay, casual or informal modes of association were seen to create an environment of knowledge sharing and acquisition which consequently was bound to give rise to creativity and technological advancement. Casual relationships were also observed to offer an opportunity for staff member to share ideas in the most entertaining manner possible. Being an entertainment industry, Pixar group was also viewed to exhibit a series of aesthetic predispositions that reflect the organizational objective. From the images observed at the entrance to those displayed in various offices, Pixar has been seen to implement a profound sense of entertainment and fun which breeds creativity and autonomy. This not only promotes enhanced relationships but teambuilding and synergism. Additionally, this situation breeds a culture of sharing resources in which individuals do not have to enclose themselves in their offices but rather congregate with other in order to share ideas and thoughts. By embracing teambuilding and synergism, a learning culture is developed which ensures that individuals acquaint themselves with the volatile organizational environment.

 

The essay further explicated the role that mergers and acquisitions play in the international platform. For instance, the acquisition of Pixar by Walt Disney was viewed as an advancement in terms of market share and sustainability. In other words, through mergers and acquisition organizations are able to enhance their brand image. This is actually vital towards sustainability. However, it is important to note that acquisitions can limit organizational performance scope or rather organizational policy implementation. It may also limit the autonomy of both team members. Such situations arise as a result of the need to change or adopt new organizational cultures. However, in the case where both organizations are governed by similar activities, the organization’s cultural change might be minimal.

 

Similarly, as the author of this essay continued to ponder upon the role that organizational culture plays in maintaining organizational stability and sustainability, another issue emerged that concerned environmental dynamics and volatility. Notwithstanding, environmental dynamics must be taken to heart whenever designing and implementing policies that could see organizations rise to higher levels of success. This is because the business environment is always volatile and it is the role of strategic managers to ensure that short term decisions come in to enhance the attainment of organizational objectives.

 

Therefore, after going through all the aforementioned features in organizational performance, it is important to assert that success depends on an efficient organization culture, strict adherence to that culture, and a tight focus on the environmental dynamics. This is actually the conceptual framework that this essay promotes in order to promote organizational stability and sustainability. Additionally, it is in the hallmark of understanding this conceptual framework that the Pixar Corporation has found itself surrounded by a myriad of success and enhance brand image. However, organizational culture must be designed in the light of the understanding that culture is diverse. Hence, the diversity of culture not only encourages organizations to adapt to changing environments but also present policies that are relevant to the targeted audiences.

Communication is an important aspect of organization culture. Poor communication frameworks impair organizational performance while efficient communication systems bring forth improved product or service quality. Thus, for Richards and Palmer (2000), two-way communication and knowledge sharing is significant in addressing organizational effectiveness. Furthermore, it is by sharing information quickens the process of organizational learning. It is therefore important to encourage continued informal relationships within Pixar’s workplace with limited or minimal instances of hierarchy among the employees of the company. However, such informal relationships should not be encouraged in much other organization especially organizations that do not strictly speaking deal with entertainment as a package. On that same note, whenever employees do not operate under a common space, this is bound to give rise to instances of hierarchy, formal relationships, limited communication and sharing of information among the leaders and other members of staff. Increased communications boost one’s morale in the organization while enhancing a culture of progress.

 

Finally, employee satisfaction is one of the most important elements that human resources take a keen interest in. This is because if employees are not satisfied, they cannot offer optimal services to the organization. Therefore, a number of factors must be in place in order to promote employee satisfaction; this includes proper office design, flexibility, and employee appreciation and well-calculated compensation packages, opportunities for development and growth. This means that employees should be endowed with the capacity to make informed choices.

 

References

Chaudron, D., 2010. Begin at the beginning in Organizational Change, In Organizedchange.com. Available at http://www.organizedchange.com/decide.htm

Deming, W., E., 2000. The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education (2nd ed.). MIT Press, Massachusetts

Gilbert, S., 2007. "The Recipes of Pixar”, in metue.com. Available at: http://metue.com/03-29-2007/pixar-management/

Gill, R., 2007. Quality under the Microscope: The Leadership Challenge, EFQM, Available at http://excellenceone.efqm.org/Default.aspx?tabid=426

Iwaarden, J., and Wiele, T., 2007. What Quality Managers Should Know about Management Control, Available at http://excellenceone.efqm.org/Portals/1/PDF/Management%20Controls_4.pdf

Jablonski, J. ,R., 1992. Implementing TQM: Competing in the Nineties through Total Quality Management. 2ndedition, Pfeiffer & Company, New York

Nembhard, I., M., and Edmondson, A., C., 2006. Making It Safe: The Effects of Leader Inclusiveness and Professional Status on Psychological Safety and Improvement Efforts in Health Care Teams. Journal of Organizational Behavior 27(7), pp. 941–966

Palmer J., And Richard, I., 2000. ‘‘Get Knetted: network Behaviour in new economy’’. Journal of knowledge management, vol 3 (3), pp. 191-202

Peker, J., P., 1995. Total quality management: Guiding Principles for application, ASTM International, Philadelphia

Pixar, 2010. Pixar: Corporate Overview, in Pixar.com. Available at http://www.pixar.com/companyinfo/about_us/overview.htm

Silverthorne, S., 2008. "Avoiding Tainted Love: How Pixar Builds Sustainable Creativity”. Harvard Business Review.

Zairi, M., 1994. Leadership in TQM implementation: Some Case Examples. The TQM Manager, 6 (6), pp. 9-16.

 

 

 
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