Poststructuralist feminist viewpoint and nationalism

Week1Analysis-Global

Stacy Cacciatore

Queens University

 

The postmodern and poststructuralist feminist viewpoint was an important scholarship that drove awareness that the Anglo-Euro middle class male was privileged and their viewpoint dominated media. Anglo-Euro middle class male continues to be a viewpoint that dominates mainstream media today. However, women often aren’t even aware of the power the media has over them and their identification with their nation is stronger than their gender.

Shome and Hedge (2010) stated when postmodern and poststructuralist feminist viewpoints dominated the feminist movement in the 1970s and 1980s, they demonstrated that the white, middle class, male was privileged and dominated politics and the media. Through these studies, they found that there were differences due to ones’ gender, which were connected to larger international history and politics. I believe that the Anglo-Euro middle class male voice continues to be dominant in the media today. Additionally, I believe that many women are not aware of the influence that the Anglo-Euro middle class male centric media has over them. Women are more in tune and aligned to the media’s nationalistic point of view, than the gender point of view.

Take, for example, the study that Kamla Viswewaran did as part of her work Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (1994). She interviewed South Indian women who participated in the Indian nationalist movement against the British colonialism. The majority of the women either refused or deflected the position of the nationalists. The women did this as a silent coalition to hide the secrets of the nationalist movement. This demonstrates how strong nationalism is, as it works against the methodology of ethnography. As Dr. el-Nawawy said, “a great sense of nationalism in today’s media systems in several countries” (Slide 10). This nationalism is so strong, that it can overshadow ones’ own rights. This is not only true of our society, but our media as well. Downing (2007) says that journalists consistently place patriotism above objectivity.

This struggle continues to occur today, as demonstrated in the study conducted by Hill and Azzarito (2012), in which they used the feminist poststructuralist approach to study how British Asian girls’ negotiated or rejected visual narratives regarding their physical activity and the athletic female body. The study had participants evaluate photos of athletes that were displayed in their school’s physical education department corridor. They were asked to review the images and then evaluate and reflect on their value of athletic bodies. The researchers found that the girls viewed athletic bodies as “male and elite” due to the absence of minority women in sports media. Due to the unbalanced representation of gender and ethnicity in sports, minority women do not visualize themselves as achieving athletic greatness. The researchers also found that because Asians are presented as structurally marginalized in many sports, including football, these athletic bodies are not valued in Asian culture. They found that because of the perception that Asian’s do not have a strong skill set in this sport, they have little interest in it. The media plays a role in this perception. Over half of the images used in the study, which were displayed in the school’s physical education department corridor, were of white men. Only one poster portrayed a woman of color and no Asian women were represented on the posters. This context shaded how the participants viewed themselves.

Just as the study by Hill and Azzarito (2012) found, there is an Americanization of media. The term globalization is referred to as getting the media to focus on what we do across the various cultures. However, for many globalization seems to mean Americanization (Downing, 2007). Downing (2007) states “those of us who live in economically advanced and politically stable countries are in a poor position to understand how the media work on much of the rest of the planet, (p.27). Therefore, it’s difficult for one who is in America, or any of the elite Group of (G8) countries to objectively understand how media works in the rest of the world. Just as I stated, the Anglo-Euro middle class male is privileged and their viewpoint dominates media. The Anglo-Euro middle class male is the poster child for America. I theorize, using the postmodern and poststructuralist feminist scholarship that the reason why women relate more to their nation than gender is because the Americanization of media portrays images and messages that do not resonate with women. Therefore, when the media communicate with the context of understanding ones’ culture, women are more likely to relate and identify. Numerous issues exist for women in countries across the globe, including unequal pay, gender discrimination and poverty (Shah, 2010). By applying the postmodern and poststructuralist feminist scholarship to global communication we can understand both the gender and nationalistic points of view that influence women, and in turn, keep them oppressed.

 


 

References

Downing, John D. H. (2007). Drawing a bead on global communication theories. In Y. Kamalipour (Ed.), Global Communication (pp. 22-38). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

El-Nawawy, M. (2014). Communication theories and ideologies [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://mycourses.queens.edu/learn/mod/page/view.php?id=67720

Hill, J., & Azzarito, L. (2012). Representing valued bodies in PE: a visual inquiry with British Asian girls. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 17(3), 263-276.

Shah, A. (2010, March 14). Women’s Rights. Global Issues. Retrieved from http://www.globalissues.org/article/166/womens-rights.

Shome R. and Hedge, R. (2010). Postcolonial approaches to communication: Charting the terrain, engaging the intersections. In D. K. Thussu (Ed.), International Communication: A Reader (pp. 89-104). London: Routledge.

 

The Walt Disney Company: Reinforcing Culture and Values to Employees

The Walt Disney Company: Reinforcing Culture and Values to Employees

Across Its Global Footprint

Group #4: Stacy Cacciatore, Sarah McClanahan, and Wendi Muhonen

Queens University of Charlotte

 

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Introduction

The Walt Disney Company is a transnational entertainment company with five business segments, including media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment,consumer products and interactive media (The Walt Disney Company, 2014). The Walt Disney Company started in 1923 as a humble cartoon studio and has grown to an international media conglomerate with operations in more than 40 countries and approximately 166,000 employees (Global Footprint, n.d.). The Walt Disney Company’s objective is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products. The company’s primary financial goals are to maximize earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital toward growth initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value (The Walt Disney Company, n.d.).

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Using the organizational culture communication theory as a framework, this analysis will focus on how The Walt Disney Company creates an organizational culture based on their mission, values and beliefs. The Walt Disney Company declares that their values; innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency, are present in everything they do and help create the unified vision for their workforce (Disney Careers, n.d.). The scope of the analysis will extend to the evaluation of how The Walt Disney Company instills their values in employees across the globe through their hiring practices. The structure of this analysis will include an analytical literature review, which will include an analysis of the organizational culture comunications theory, Disney’s background, mission and management philosohy, international program, recruitment policy, entertainment landcape, organizational values and training.

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Analytical Literature Review

Theoretical Framework

Organizational culture theory will serve as the framework to understand

The Walt Disney Company’s operations. This theory proposes that organizational culture – the shared vision, values, symbols, language, beliefs, and habits – emanates through history. As time progresses, the shared vision and values are socialized to the company’s new employees by more senior members. The process of passing down the company’s vision and beifes over time results in the development of the company’s priorities and guides its decision-making (Denison, 1996). According to Bloor and Dawson, (1994) “organizational culture is historically and socially constructed, holistic, and difficult to change” (p. 275). Given that an organizatinal culture is historially created and difficult to change, it’s important that the senior leaders of the company understand and emmulate the vision, mission and values of the company. Ravasi and Schultz (2006) say that organizational culture helps employees with sensemaking in their environment. The messaging, delivered by an organization, also gives a sense of purpose to members and energizes them. They also found that providing organizational members with a clear and consistent narrative helps them attach meaning to events, issues and their work.

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Organizational culture theory has roots in anthropology and sociology. Anthropologists and sociologists added to the enormous body of literature on culture by conducting research dealing directly with customs and traditions of work organizations during the 1950s (Hatch, 1993). Contemporary research and organized theory dealing with organizational culture emerged during the late 1970s and early 1980s as scholars and business practitioners studied Japanese organizational effectiveness, management techniques, and exceptional economic prowess (Brannan & Kleinberg, 2000). Originally termed “organizational climate”, early scholarly works on organizational culture “were often presented as panaceas for North American firms’ failing productivity” (p. 388). Climate, in this context, is the acquired competence of an individual to interpret the demands of an organization, and make sense of his or her ongoing interactions with the organization and its members (Allaire & Firsirotu, 1984).

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One popular model of organizational culture theory is Schein’s model. According to Schein, as cited in Hatch, (1993) culture exists on three levels: (a) artifacts, (b) values, and (c) assumptions. Assumptions represent the bottom, foundational tier, and refer to the taken-for-granted beliefs. Values are “social principles, philosophies, goals, and standards” with “intrinsic worth” (p. 659). The cultural dynamics model extends Schein’s work, and proposes “a more complex, process-based understanding of organizational culture” (p. 661). Understanding cultural dynamics is relevant to fully comprehending organizational culture theory. A common criticism of organizational culture theory is that it views culture as static and behavior as consistent among all members of an organization (Brannen & Kleinberg, 2000). Another perceived limitation of organizational culture theory is a simplistic, parochial view of culture with a lack of attention to subcultures. Bloor and Dawson (1994) argue that a homogenous organizational culture is the exception rather than the rule, and distinct subcultures develop within organizations. Despite these limitations, organizational culture theory provides a pragmatic framework for examining The Walt Disney Company and its global operations.

The Walt Disney Company has a clear mission and vision that they use

to energize their workforce. There are a number of complex, multi-dimensional components that affect the success of a global business, but the organizational culture is a significant contributing

factor. A study on “The Best Places to Work” by Levering and Mokowitz

(2010) found that the top CEOs felt that 50 percent of an organization’s success is due to their organizational culture (as cited in Sriramesh & Vercic, 2003). This reinforces the importance of an organization, such as The Walt Disney Company, to instill their mission and values among employees across the globe.

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The Walt Disney Company’s Background, Mission, and Management Philosophy

            The Walt Disney Company is a global company with U.S. headquarters. They have international investments, including Tele-München in Germany, Hamster Productions in France and Scandinavian Broadcasting System in Luxembour and Eurosport in England (The Walt Disney Company, n.d.). The current Chief Executive Officer is Bob Iger (Jurevicius, 2013). In 2013, they brought in $45.0 billion in revenue (Business Week, 2014).

The Walt Disney Company acquired ABC in 1996, making the Disney-ABC Television Group composed of Disney and ABC television programming. The Cable and International Broadcast Group, which is part of ABC, also includes ESPN, A&E Television and Lifetime (The Walt Disney Company, n.d.). Disney’s media networks also include Lifetime, Hyperion Books, The History Channel, and A&E (The Walt Disney Company, n.d.). Disney has built 45 resorts and 12 theme parks including Tokyo Disney Resort in 1983, Tokyo DisneySea in 2001, and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in 2005 (The Walt Disney Company, n.d.)

The ABC Entertainment Group reaches 23 percent of U.S. television households and develops programming for both national and international broadcast and national syndication. ABC studios has many hit shows that are syndicated nationally, including Modern Family, The Middle and Scandal. ABC News includes World News Tonight with David Muir, The View, Nightline, Good Morning America, and 20/20 (ABC Shows, n.d.).

The Walt Disney Company uses a centralized casting team to ensure that not only the recruitment of key talent is consistent across the globe, but also to ensure that the company’s core values are clearly communicated and embodied by employees, no matter where they are located. Total quality management (TQM) is a value-based management philosophy based on a set of core values. Ingelsson, Eriksson, and Lilja (2012) discuss the link between TQM and emphasizing core values to all employees within an organization. The researchers set out to evaluate how an organization can ensure employees share the same core values, which leads to homogeneity and desirable behaviors.

Ingelsson, Eriksson, and Lilja (2012) conducted a case study at Walt Disney World in 2006 on TQM and how they achieve common values and a strong organizational culture. One area that Disney focused on was the recruitment process. Disney focuses on values, behavior and beliefs throughout the process of selecting the right candidate. Disney does not simply hire employees they employ cast members to play a role in their company. They recruit cast members who reflect the “right” values of the organization. Disney relies upon casting to review all applicants and ensure that they embody the company’s value and culture rather than leaving this up to the managers. This process ensures that all candidates receive clear and consistent information. Disney also focuses on retention. Disney realizes that losing talent is detrimental to the organization, so they work on keeping employees by knowing employees know that they care about them through appreciation, activities and benefits.

Ingelsson, Eriksson, and Lilja (2012) found that the most important component to total quality management and ensuring that employees are engaged in the corporate culture and values is not through communicating the core values to employees who are already employed, but through selecting the right candidates from the onset. Since values are difficult to change, ensuring that the employee embodies the company’s values from the onset is critical.

Many believe that The Walt Disney Company’s success for over fifty years and their outstanding traction in attracting and retaining talent is due to their communication of their key values and organizational culture. These casting centers are not only important to embedding the Disney culture in new cast members, but also the casting center sets the tone for the cast member’s experience. Eisner hired prominent architect, Robert Stern, to design the casting center where The Walt Disney Company hires and trains new employees (Stewart, 2005). From the moment cast members enter the casting center and see the Mickey Mouse ear-shaped archways, turn the Alice In Wonderland doorknobs and walk across the “Bridge of Sighs” (Sampson, 2006, para 10), they know they are a part of the story and world of Disney. The attention to detail in the casting center demonstrates the commitment to instill one of Disney’s most important values, storytelling, from the moment the cast member enters the door. Their casting center also reinforces their values on quality and innovation.

The Walt Disney Company prides themselves on their guest service, commitment to employees, and strong values. At The Disney Institute, they say, “At Disney, leadership is not defined by your title – it’s defined by your actions. Our leaders proactively work to align their values with the Company’s vision and the result is a motivated, innovative, and productive workforce” (Leadership Excellence, n.d, para 1). One of the ways that The Walt Disney Company does this is by communicating their values to their employees across the globe from the moment they begin, through Disney University.

The Disney University, founded by Van France in 1955, helps train cast members to create the world-famous Disney Magic (Lipp, 2013). Disney University follows the advice of Walt Disney who said, “Disneyland is the star, everything else is in the supporting role” (p. 3). The goal of Disney University is to get all new cast members on board with the Disney vision and values of the company. Van France famously said, “What happens ‘backstage’ will end up ‘on-stage’ (as cited in Lipp, 2013, p.5). The commitment to the Disney value, storytelling, is embedded in their vernacular. By calling an employee a cast member, they reinforce that every employee is playing a role in the larger production. The Walt Disney Company’s language centers on the guest instead of customer, again, because Disney is about the production. Disney cast members also call backstage any area that is for employees only and front stage is a public guest area. Their vernacular reinforces their corporate culture, which is centered on the guest.

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The Walt Disney Company’s International Program

The Walt Disney Company values diversity and they believe that a diverse workforce is critical to their business (Culture & Diversity, n.d.). One can see this through Disney’s International Program that employs cast members from across the globe. The Disney International Program provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about The Walt Disney Company culture and way of doing things, while connecting with others around the world. According to the Disney Careers website:

As part of Disney International Programs, you’ll experience a once-in-a-lifetime     opportunity to learn from one of the world’s most innovative entertainment companies.       Living and working at Walt Disney World® Resort allows you to connect with people      from across the globe, create lifelong memories and be immersed in an English-speaking    environment. You’ll also gain valuable leadership, presentation and customer service          skills – all things that Disney is known for worldwide” (Disney International Programs,             n.d.).

The Walt Disney Company’s International Program demonstrates their commitment to a global workforce. Disney has built an entire program around creating a diverse workforce. One can see through the mission statement of Disney, that the International Program encourages both the growth of Disney’s sharing of their corporate culture with employees across the globe. Through having international employees gather in one location, in an “English-speaking environment”, Disney ensures that all employees, regardless of their location, are immersed in the Disney culture.

The Walt Disney Company’s expansion into international markets can be tracked back to Eisner, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 to 2005. Eisner did not know much about the global business of Disney, but that did not stop Eisner’s goal to expand internationally. Eisner admits that when he first joined the company and met an employee who said she worked at “BVI”, he said, “I didn’t know Disney owned an underwear company.” She laughed and said, “No, BVI is Buena Vista International” (Stewart, 2005, p.21). Eisner had plans for an entirely new theme park in Europe. Prior to Eisner coming on board Disney had opened a theme park in Tokyo. Eisner wanted to open a park in France because he saw France as the pinnacle of Western culture and the antithesis for American mass culture, which ironically Disney represented. Eisner announced Euro Disney in 1985.

Internationally, The Walt Disney Company has become woven into the cultures of numerous nations due to its commitments to innovation and the cultivation of happiness. The Walt Disney Company’s global reach is evident when the majority of 1,250 survey respondents in 18 countries recognized the brand, confirmed a high degree of interaction with its products, and agreed on its key values (Wasko, Phillips, & Meehan, 2001). Throughout the years, The Walt Disney Company has proven it can adapt to challenges in the marketplace to remain a viable global entertainment option. In terms of content delivery, Disney’s ABC station was the first television network to make its programs available for download through iTunes (“Disney/ABC Television Group,” 2010). Moreover, Disney has pleased foreign audiences by glocalizing its theme parks, adding touches of local flare while still keeping Disney’s corporate philosophy intact. At Hong Kong Disneyland, for example, executives organized the park’s design based on the Chinese concept of feng shui, included traditional Chinese cuisine in the park’s restaurants, hired cast members that spoke English, as well as local dialects, and refrained from requiring employees to continuously smile as an overly friendly demeanor draws suspicion in the Chinese culture (Matusitz, 2011). By identifying and filling in the gaps in the marketplace, Disney stays one step ahead of its competition and earns global approval.

Due to The Walt Disney Company’s values, they were able to develop great affinity with Australian families and audiences. Disney’s values of trust, decency, optimism and quality resonated with Australian audiences. Disney recruited new positions in their Melbourne office and Lygopoulos, the Vice President of Human Resources for the company’s Asia Pacific regional office, says Disney wants staff that can engage with the brand, customers and other employees (Wilson, 2008).

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The Walt Disney Company’s Recruitment Policy

            The Walt Disney Company ensures that they reinforce their culture by recruiting and retaining employees who embody their core values. Ensuring that employees embody Disney’s values is much more effective than trying to instill their values in employees who inherently don’t believe in them. Through actively recruiting key talent across the globe, reinforcing the cultural norm through leadership and embracing diversity, Disney has a strong team that embodies their culture.

The Walt Disney Company certainly does not have challenges when it comes to recruiting top talent. Disney is one of the top 15 MBA employers and it is a globally admired company (Wong, 2012). Disney looks for innovators who are creative, eager and communicate well across the globe. Disney is valued globally, and they are honing in on the growth opportunities in Asia. A $4.4 billion theme park and resort is planned to open in Shanghai in 2016. This opens the door for employment opportunities in China.

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The Walt Disney Company’s Entertainment Landscape

In the United States where the brand originated, The Walt Disney Company is an omnipresent feature of the entertainment landscape due to its enduring, positive organizational culture that permeates all of its commodities. Brockus (2004) and Padilla-Walker, Coyne, Fraser, and Stockdale (2013) agree that its wholesome films instill the company’s central value of decency into viewers. Not only are The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs entertaining movies, but they also teach caring behavior including helping, sharing, and comforting others. Additionally, Brockus (2004) notes that Disney fulfills its mission of making individuals happy by producing products that serve a dual purpose in America as memory makers and memory takers. New memories are made with each visit to a Disney theme park, and old memories of classic stories are taken and edited with Disney’s film versions. Taken together, Disney’s consistently virtuous products likely influence employee’s behavior, as they are working for a company with high ethical standards and a positive image globally.

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The Walt Disney Company’s Organizational Values

The Walt Disney Company’s employees worldwide contribute to the brand’s success through the values socialized into them by the company that these workers later transmit to all the individuals that they encounter on the job. Aligning with Disney’s ultimate goal to foster happiness, Maanen (1990) confirms that Disney is a business of selling a magical and personal experience, and it is the duty of the employees to ensure that this goal is achieved by making each person feel special. Accordingly, he states that cast members are taught to treat each attendee as a valued and unique guest as opposed to an impersonal consumer. When employees are on stage, or in front of the public, they should always appear cheerful and eager to serve the needs of their customers. Employees who act bored, rude, or insincere to guests could detract from the experience and undermine the entire The Walt Disney Company’s enterprise. Yet, despite these demands, Maanen concludes that the combination of corporate imagery, a social recruiting and selection process, and the goodwill trainees have toward the organization render most employees satisfied with their jobs. With satisfied employees that readily integrate into Disney’s organizational culture, the company is well equipped to deliver happiness to guests.

Although The Walt Disney Company attempts to promote universally appealing values to guests as a part of its organizational culture, citizens from certain countries are critical of its global reach. Wasko, Phillips, and Meehan (2001) and Fung and Lee (2009) agree that Disney’s expansion overseas can be viewed as imperialistic because the brand tends to promote Western ideals at the expense of the local culture. Disneyland Paris serves as an example of Americanization coupled with the marginalization of French culture because Disney extended its ban of alcohol sales to this park despite the French tradition of having a glass of wine with a meal (Wasko, Phillips, & Meehan, 2001). Additionally, before the more inclusive changes were introduced at the park, Hong Kong Disneyland was depicted as exploiting Chinese culture because it profited from selling dim sum in the shape of Mickey Mouse and traditional robes embellished with a variety of Disney characters (Fung and Lee, 2009). To a certain extent, Disney’s unwavering promotion of its values throughout all countries regardless of their cultural practices may be seen as disrespectful and ultimately could negatively affect its international success.

According to Hightower, (1993) leaders within The Walt Disney Company acknowledge that creativity is at the heart of their business and that “a continual flow of inspiration and encouragement, of training and guidance, is the basis for success” (p. 56). Nevertheless, the responsibility of fostering creativity is not an opportunity always available to employees. Walt Disney, although a visionary and creative genius, maintained tight control of the creative process during his lifetime. Upon Walt Disney’s passing in 1966, “the company floundered creatively and financially for years” (p. 54). As it turns out, employees became accustomed to “working under an autocratic visionary; they expected big ideas and decisions to come from the top” (p. 54). When Michael Eisner became CEO of Disney, he introduced brainstorming sessions and empowered employees. This sense of empowerment and a culture that not only values creativity, but also expects it, transformed the attitude among Disney’s cast members around the world. Disney’s management “nurtures and cultivates” (p. 55) creativity making it attractive to creative job seekers. Nevertheless, creativity alone is not the key to success. Disney also stresses synergy and quality, and constantly watches for opportunities and resources to incorporate these into the workforce, processes, and culture.

Training and Satisfaction Levels for The Walt Disney Company’s Employees

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            Aside from The Walt Disney Company’s core values; innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency, one must delve even deeper into Disney culture to understand what motivates employees to strive for the level of service that provides a uniquely “Disney” experience when people visit one of the theme parks, retail stores, or watch one of the movies. Kelly (2000) says, “Work at Disney has always baffled scholars because despite the low pay and tight supervision, its parks have consistently attracted a seemingly pliant, able, and affable workforce” ( p. 442). In fact, approximately 10,000 of the 12,000 employees at Tokyo Disneyland are part time workers. According to Raz, as cited in Kelly, (2000) one key to maintaining a happy and engaged workforce is a program of rigorous training and socializing, even for part time employees. The training includes in-depth training manuals as well as training in emotion management. This emotion management training helps Disney employees overcome negativity to maintain a positive demeanor when dealing with customers or park visitors. Cast members at Tokyo Disney in particular do not seem bothered by the expectation to suppress emotions at work, and scholars link this to the “Japanese predisposition to accept front/back distinctions” (p. 442).

Research on human resources in the entertainment industry provides another lens through which one can examine employee satisfaction at The Walt Disney Company. In fact, many case studies use Disney as their subject, making it a global and industry model. According to Mayer, as cited in Nguyen and Kleiner, (2005) four primary human resource strategies help media corporations deliver superior quality: (a) hire the right people, (b) develop people to deliver service quality, (c) provide necessary support systems, and (d) retain the best people. For example, Disney conducts auditions rather than job interviews, and refers to potential candidates as cast members. Moreover, candidates watch a short video early in the interview process to introduce cast members to Disney’s culture and values as well as to level-set expectations. The purpose is to “convey expectations to potential employees in a consistent manner” (p. 101). The next step is to identify an individual’s passions and interests, and match him or her to the right position. This helps ensure a high level of satisfaction and engagement.

Once in the role, employees remain satisfied because of attractive benefits like free park admissions, discounts on merchandise, and a competitive benefits plan (Nguyen & Kleiner, 2005). For example, all employees, even those who do not deal directly with customers, participate in customer service training “because the company believes that employees must be responsible for service and courtesy at all levels” (p. 103). Moreover, employees receive comprehensive training and advancement opportunities for internal candidates.

According to Hightower, (1993) “creative people want to work for Disney” (p. 55). An important part of fostering creativity is empowering employees and providing support systems. According to Zeithaml and Bitner, as cited in Nguyen and Kleiner, (2005) “effective empowerment strategies often lead to happy, motivated employees” (p. 104). Empowerment is a driving force at The Walt Disney Company. Finally, Disney offers feedback, support, and resources to help employees do their jobs well and feel engaged in the process.

Conclusion

Since it was initially founded, the Walt Disney Company has maintained a high level of appeal for fans that span multiple generations. Its domestic and international success seems to correlate with its ability to adhere to its vision and to promote its core values through its employees and all of its products. The Walt Disney Company has a strong corporate culture that is reinforced through recruiting key talent with similar values, reinforcing core values through Disney University and creating a Disney casting center that reflects their core values of innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency. The Walt Disney Company has locations across the globe, but they use a central casting center to ensure that all employees receive clear and consistent information about the Disney culture and values. The gaps in the research are global in nature. While much research has been done on Disney’s domestic culture in the United States, not much has been published on Disney’s efforts to ensure that their organizational culture and values are reinforced internationally. Additionally, although Disney has a strong organizational culture that expands across the globe, current research does not reflect whether Disney considers the culture of their employees in conjunction with the organizational culture. Disney also describes their international program as the ability to “create lifelong memories and be immersed in an English-speaking environment” (Disney International Programs, n.d., para 1). Given that they emphasize the English-speaking environment, this is an American focused point of view. Additional research needs to be conducted on how Disney operates in non-English speaking countries. However, even with the gaps in research on international-specific communications strategies for communicating the vision, mission, and culture, it is clear that Disney reinforces their organizational culture to employees across the globe, resulting in an engaged workforce.

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Padilla-Walker, L., Coyne, S., Fraser, A., & Stockdale, L. (2013). Is Disney the nicest place on Earth? A content analysis of prosocial behavior in animated Disney films. Journal Of Communication, 63(2), 393-412.

Ravasi, D., & Schultz, M. (2006). Responding to organizational identity threats: Exploring the role of organizational culture. Academy Of Management Journal. 49(3), 433-458.

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Sriramesh, K. and Vercic, D. (2003) The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research and Practice. Malwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

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Social Media and PR

I believe that social media has played a huge role in reformulating the PR and advertising strategies of media conglomerates. Deuze (2007) says “What people are doing online is a good indicator of how everyday life for a working professional (or those seeking to become one) in today’s capitalist economy has changed” (as cited in Vujnovic & Kruckeberg, 2011). Therefore, brands are engaging others online in not only who they are, but also who they desire to be. On Facebook, people will “Like” brands that they not only like, but also brands that their friends “Like” or they want their “friends” to think they like. This also has implications for global audiences. The global community can form and organize on social media and create virtual communities. The public is defined as a group of individuals bonded by a common interest (Vujnovic & Kruckeberg, 2011). There are many different types of “publics”, also called stakeholders that a company should consider in their PR strategy. Vujnovic & Kruckeberg (2011) state that companies should look beyond the strategic public, which has been a focus in the past, and look at society as a whole.

Vujnovic & Kruckeberg (2011) also state that online social networks tend to be more private, but they are trending towards connectivity. They also say that companies should use these tools to expand globally and engage in participatory conversation. I disagree with Vujnovic and Kruckeberg on this point. I do not believe that social media is private at all. I think that social media is designed and used for life to be lived publically. I don’t think that the lives people create on social media are authentic and I don’t think that companies should have a presence on social media for the purpose of growing their business. I also don’t agree with Vujnovic and Kruckeberg that social media lends itself to “organic” interaction between the public and organizations.

I have several reasons why I feel this way. First, I don’t believe that people are their authentic selves on social media. I think that most people craft an image of who the want to be. Therefore companies cant engage in an authentic “organic” dialogue with a false self. Secondly, if a company sets up a social media presence for the sole purpose of growing their business globally, they will fail. People can sniff out inauthenticity and if a company just wants to sell a product, others will catch on to that. Third, I don’t buy that a company wants to have a true organic “dialogue” with their global audience. They want to sell their product. They want others to “like” their page and “share” content. However, companies should be careful what they ask for. Look at recent twitter fails by big brands, such as Kenneth Cole, who made light of war just to sell shoes (Carey, 2013). Don’t forget about the gaffe from JP Morgan who started the twitter hashtag #AskJPM to encourage their customers to ask them questions. Their hashtag was hijacked and they received hundreds of tweets from people who asked questions about their questionable business practices. They company cancelled their planned Q&A and hasn’t launched a similar series since (Barak & Pavelski, 2013). The common thread among all of these examples is that companies aren’t truly interested in engaging with a global audience, they want to use social media as another channel to sell their products.

 

What do think about Grunig’s strategic management behavioral paradigm, which is discussed in the reading titled: “Paradigms of Global Public Relations in an Age of Digitalization”? Do you think this paradigm is useful in interpreting the role of members of the public as stakeholders and in building relations between the public and organizations, particularly in the virtual world? Please justify your answer.

 

Grunig (2009) says “many practitioners are using the new media in the same ways they used the old – as a means of dumping messages on the general population rather than as a strategic means of interacting with publics and bringing information from the environment into organizational decision-making,” (p. 1). I couldn’t agree with Grunig more. Companies are using social media irresponsibly and they’re carelessly communicating to the broad population rather than engaging and interacting with the public in a meaningful way. Just as I said in my response to the earlier question, companies can’t use social media as a channel to sell their products. If they engage in social media only to evaluate their ROI, sales and bottom line, they need to not engage. I absolutely believe that Grunig’s strategic management behavioral paradigm is useful in interpreting the role of members of the public as stakeholders and in building relationships between the public and organizations. I believe this because of several of the components of the theory. One of the components I agree with the most is the fundamental principle that digital media doesn’t need to change the principles of public relations, but rather new media facilitates the application of the principles (Grunig, 2009). Just because there is a new channel available to communicate and market products, doesn’t mean that a completely new strategy should be developed. It’s simply another channel to use in ones’ public relations strategy.

Another component of Grunig’s (2009) theory that I agree with is the fact that public relations professionals and journalists no longer control the flow of information. As Grunig says, “Anyone can be a journalist” (p. 4). Anyone with an Internet connection can start a blog and have a platform to engage with the public. This puts less control in the hands of the company and more in the public. This illusion of control comes from the historic views of public relations where practitioners believed that they had control over the message that was being delivered. However, Grunig says that he believes practitioners never had this control. Either way, companies definitely don’t have control over the messages about their company in today’s networked society.

I also agree with Grunig (2009) that the conversations are taking place across social media. Organizations can now use social media to join the conversations. However, I think that organizations should be careful in when and how they engage in this dialogue. Just as we saw in the JP Morgan example I shared earlier, when a company starts or joins a conversation on social media, they are opening the dialogue to understand what others truly think. Another example of a social media campaign gone wrong is the #AskThicke hashtag that musical artist Robin Thicke tried to get started this year. He wanted fans to engage in a dialogue, but instead others hijacked the link and called Thicke out on his disrespectful treatment towards women (Brooks, 2014).

The bottom line of Grunig’s (2009) research is that digital media can change the way public relations is managed, but only if there is a paradigm shift in thinking. One great example that Grundig provide is digital media monitoring. By simply setting up a Google alert to scan when your name is used, a company can monitor and identity potential problems and issues. This is a way that public relation professionals can use social media to their advantage. Rather than viewing social media as a platform to sell and promote, companies can use it as a forum to engage and monitor. By shifting their mindset, they can use new media to their advantage.

 

Question: Do you agree with my assessment that most companies use social media as a platform to sell rather than engage?

 

References

Barak, N. and Pavelski, J. (2013, December 31). New York Post. The worst social media blunders of 2013. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2013/12/31/worst-social-media-blunders-of-2013/

 

Brooks, D. (2014, July 2). Robin Thicke took questions on Twitter and it went hilariously wrong. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/robin-thickes-twitter-ama-hilarious-2014-7

Carey, B. (2013, October 28). Intuit. The 5 Worst Twitter Mistakes Businesses Have Ever Made. Retrieved from http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/marketing/the-5-worst-twitter-mistakes-businesses-have-ever-made/

Grunig, J. E. (2009). Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalisation. PRism 6(2). Retrieved from http://www.prismjournal.org/fileadmin/Praxis/Files/globalPR/GRUNIG.pdf

Vujnovic, M. and Kruckeberg, D. (2011). Managing global public relations in the new media environment. In M. Deuze (Ed.), Managing Media Work (pp. 217-223). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Sage.

The Internet’s Role in the Americanization of Global Media

The Internet’s Role in the Americanization of Global Media

The Americanization of media has had a significant impact on communications across the globe. Specifically, I believe that the Internet is the key apparatus for the Americanization of global media. The Internet has changed the global landscape of communications in several ways, including decreasing the revenues and circulation of print publications, decreasing the quality of journalism and reducing the need for media plurality. I will demonstrate how technology is one of the most significant outside forces influencing global communication. I will also provide data to indicate how the quality of journalism has decreased over the years. Finally, I will provide examples of how the Internet has changed media plurality.

Bonafadelli, Keel, Marr and Wyss (2012) said, “The most striking change compared to 10 years ago is technology-related: The Internet has brought about the most fundamental changes in journalistic action in a very short time.” (p. 329). We can see the American influence on the global culture of media through the World Association of Newspapers (WAN). WAN was founded in 1948 and represents 18,000 publications globally. The goals of WAN include: promoting freedom of the press, encouraging networking between newspaper executives across many regions and cultures and promoting the worldwide cooperation of member organizations (Hallin & Mancini, 2010). It’s made up of 76 national newspaper associations, 12 news agencies, 10 regional press organizations and newspaper executives across 100 countries (World association of newspapers and news publishers, n.d.). The role of WAN illustrates the impact that America has on world media cultures. One such illustration is the role WAN has in the “production of knowledge”.

America has led the way in the “production of knowledge” in global media (Hallin & Mancini, 2010, p.158). Publications around the world have not only leveraged the American style, voice and pattern, but the quality of journalism as well. American journalistic education has played an important role in media worldwide. However, I disagree with Hallin and Mancini (2010) who say that the growth of education in journalism has also increased along with the technological changes. I believe that the Internet enables anyone to be an author, which in turn, decreases the quality of content. We have also seen a shift in type of content that exists on the Internet versus what was created in traditional newspapers. Hallin and Mancini (2010) say “In many ways technology has increased the ease by which media content can be shared across national boundaries, with journalists around the world having access on their computer screens to the same sets of words and images” (p. 160). The focus now is less on writing journalistic stories and more on developing dynamic, multi-media content due to these technological changes. Enrollment in journalism school has dropped over the years for the first time in two decades (King, 2014). The declining enrollment can be attributed to the significant change in the journalistic landscape given the role of the Internet in global communication. Lynda Kraxberger, Associate Dean at the Missouri School of Journalism, said, “In 2001, we had a lot of people coming to school because they wanted to see better reporting of international news and they wanted to see more critical reporting on global events” (as cited in King, 2014). This demonstrates that American students still want to report on global affairs. However, the decline in the demand for classic journalism results in fewer students pursuing this area of study or a need for schools to change their programs to train upcoming journalists on this new landscape.

The Americanization of global media through the Internet has also resulted in the decline of print advertising revenues. In 2011, newspaper advertising across the globe equated to $76 billion, which was down 41 percent since 2007 (Newspapers versus Google, 2012). Print newspaper advertising revenues and circulation have declined quickly since the advent of the Internet. In North America, print circulation was down 5.3 percent year-over-year and down 29.6 percent over the past five years (MarketingCharts staff, 2014). North America leads the way in the decrease of print circulation and advertising revenues While America leads the way, they certainly aren’t the only country losing profit in this business. In France not a single national newspaper is profitable (MarketingCharts Staff, 2014). Paid digital circulation increased over 2,000 percent over the past five years (MarketingCharts Staff, 2014). These statistics demonstrate the influence that the Internet has had in the print newspaper industry over the years on a global scale. We can see a clear shift between ad revenue in print publications to digital content. This shift results in the decline of circulation of print publication while increasing the influence of the Internet.

The Internet has also changed media plurality across the globe. Media plurality in existing laws is about enforcing monopoly rules. It prevents companies who own more than 20 percent of a newspaper from owning more than 20 percent of terrestrial channels (Preston, 2013). However, the Internet challenges the idea of pluralism. Given that the Internet allows a variety of information to the public from a wide range of publishers, it has broken up the media power. Audiences can now choose how and where to receive communication. This puts the power in the user’s hands, which takes the power away from the conglomerates (Karppinen, 2013). However, there is also a new debate about the role that online content aggregators play in the role as a gatekeeper to content. As American companies, such as Google and Facebook, act as powerful online aggregators of content, this raises new media plurality questions about their role as a gatekeeper (Townend, 2013).

In conclusion, the Internet has acted as a key tool in the Americanization of global communications. The Americanization of media across the world has resulted in the in the reduction of the circulation of print publications and ad revenues, decreased concern for media plurality and decreased quality in journalistic capabilities across the globe. America leads the way in global media and we can see the significance of their impact in through the shift from print to online publications.


 

References

Bonafadelli, H., Keel, G., Marr, M., Wyss, V. (2012). Journalists in Switzerland. In D. H. Weaver & L. Willnat (Eds.), The Global Journalist in the 21st Century (pp. 320-330). New York: Routledge.

Hallin, D. and Mancini, P. (2010). The forces and limits of homogenization. In D. K. Thussu (Ed.), International Communication: A Reader (pp. 154-187). London: Routledge.

Karppinen, K. (2013). Rethinking media pluralism. New York: Fordham University Press.

MarketingCharts Staff (2014, June 16) Global newspaper circulation and advertising trends in 2013. Marketing Charts. Retrieved from http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/global-newspaper-circulation-and-advertising-trends-in-2013-43338/

Newspapers versus Google (2012, November 12). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/international/21565928-newspapers-woes-grow-some-are-lobbying-politicians-make-google-pay-news-it

Preston, P. (2013, August 3). Media plurality is now about much more than curbing Rupert Murdoch. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/04/preston-media-plurality-

Townend, J. (2013, October 14). International. Media power & plurality. Retrieved from http://www.mediaplurality.com/international/

 

World association of newspapers and news publishers (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Association_of_Newspapers_and_News_Publishers

 

Schiller’s Model and the Generic Model

According to Boyd-Barrett (2010) “Schiller’s Model understood US media imperialism in terms of its functions of selling media-related US hardware and software, promoting an image of the USA and of the world that was favoruable to American interests, and of advertising American goods and services – directly through the provision of more channels for advertising, and indirectly through the display of consumer lifestyles,” (p. 140). Herbert Schiller (1969) came up with this model after observing that developing countries had little meaningful input into decisions about radio frequency allocations for satellites during a meeting in Geneva in 1963 (as cited in New World Information And Communication Order, n.d.).

The Generic model developed in Europe and it was rooted in Marxist theory and colonialism. The Generic model upheld the importance of diversity in media expansion. This theory was also committed to solutions based on experience rather than letting political influence be the guiding force.

The differences between the Schiller model and Generic model include their perception of space and time. What I mean by this is that the Schiller model assumes that the US dominance in media will always occur. This allows no space for change. However, the Generic model can apply to many different forms of dependence/imperialism. Additionally, according to Boyd-Barrett (2011), the Schiller model is uncompromising and negative. I think that the Generic model is more useful in assessing the functioning of major players in the politics of the global communication scene today.

When I think about the major players in the politics in global communications, Microsoft and Apple come to mind. At the time of this book’s publication, Boyd-Barrett (2011) stated that the Internet was controlled between two U.S. software products: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape. However, during the 1990s, Netscape usage fell over 90 percent and now represents less than one percent of Internet usage (Netscape, n.d.). The usage of Internet Explorer peaked in 2002 and 2003 at 95 percent usage, but now we have Firefox and Google Chrome (Internet Explorer, n.d.)

When Microsoft invested in Apple Computers in 1997 they agreed that in exchange, Apple would bundle explorer with every Apple computer and support Microsoft’s Java standards (Boyd-Barrett, 2011). I didn’t own an Apple computer in 1997, but I own one today and Apple definitely doesn’t support Java or Internet Explorer today.

I bring up these two examples, because even as recent as this book’s publication, the dominance of mass media has changed. The Generic theory can transcend time and is still applicable even though the players have changed. The bottom line is that the concept of media imperialism is still appropriate for evaluating how one nation or group controls access to the media at the expense of others (Boyd-Barrett, 2011). This is a demonstration of how one major player (Microsoft) has attempted to dominate the personal computing landscape.

Are the recent shifts and developments in global broadcasting politics also reflected in the national broadcasting politics of your country? Please justify your answer.

When I think about the developments in global broadcasting politics of the United States, I think that the video on International Broadcasting and Public Media (2010) did a great job of explaining these developments. The panel included Tony Berman, Chief Strategic Advisor and former Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, Rena Goldman, Former Senior Vice President CNN International and CNN.com, Alisa Miller, President and CEO Public Radio International and Steve Redisch, Executive Editor, Voice of America. The panelists had opposing views that identified the commonalities and gaps in global broadcasting.

Berman (2010) said that one of the biggest changes in the politics of global media is open content. Al-Jazeera English is common property. Whereas, we have seen competition among media companies and reporters in the past, the concept of open source helps take ownership out of the question. My boss often says, “don’t let ownership overwhelm execution,” and I think that this concept transcends into global communication. We can greatly benefit from the models of Al-Jazeera and Creative Commons because they are not letting ownership overwhelm bringing news to people (as cited in Powers, 2010).

Golden (2010) led the charge for digitizing content for CNN. She received a lot of pushback from advertisers, but she said that she’s been consistently communicating the importance of this and touting that the media landscape has changed. When I think about the changes that having digitized content has made in how I personally receive news, I’m blown away by Berman’s contributions. This change alone has had a tremendous difference in the global broadcasting politics in the United States (as cited in Powers, 2010).

The one thing I heard consistently among all of the panelists is that their American readers want to hear about other countries and individuals across the globe. Gould (2010) said that Americans truly do want to learn more about those across the globe. She said that others want to be engaged with he stories of those from different cultures, instead of being force-fed the information. She said that she’s seen an increase in the broadcast of foreign documentaries by 200 percent. While there are perceived limits of interest, people really do want to learn about others (as cited in Powers, 2010).

Another common thread that I saw with all presenters that I think is critical is the concept of storytelling. Redisch (2010) says that bringing international news to domestic audiences is about storytelling and making information relevant. Even though Voice of America doesn’t have a domestic audience, he speaks about how the issue of making the news relevant is still prevalent (as cited in Powers, 2010).

I think that the biggest implication for the future of global communication is sharing content. I had not heard about Al-Jazeera prior to this course, however, I’m quickly discovering the role of Al-Jazeera in the shifting politics of global communications. Al-Jazeera English is the world’s first English-language news headquartered in the Middle East, (Al-Jazeera English, n.d.). Berman (2010), the former managing director of Al-Jazeera English, speaks about how this channel encourages sharing of information and aims to provide both a local voice and global perspective. I also learned about Creative Commons, which is a non-profit organization that is devoted to providing creative content for others to share and build upon (Creative Commons, n.d.).

Gould (2010) says that when we discuss sharing, the word we have to emphasize is “partnership”. She’s working on a public media campaign on women and girls and even though it’s a public campaign, they are working with private partners. They are encountering unprecedented ground as they navigate issues with rights, ownership and advertisers. The ability to share information and not letting ownership overwhelm execution is our biggest opportunity in the future of global communication.

Of all the core dimensions affecting media imperialism in the readings, which dimension do you think is the most powerfully? And why? Please provide examples to illustrate your answer.

To explain my positioning, let me first explain media imperialism. Media imperialism is the process in which the concentration of media from one country is substantial and negatively affects the media interests of smaller nations and doesn’t allow for reciporcracy (Boyd-Barrett, 2011). I think that the most powerful dimension is domain of intellectual property rights. Currently the World Trade Organization (WTO) plays an important role in the intellectual property rights as they oversee the execution of the legal provisions of the agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (Hamelink, 2011). As I stated above, the intellectual property rights of content is a hotly debated item. As we see news sources, such as Al-Jazeera and Creative Commons, create content that is openly sourced, it will be more difficult for news agencies who keep content close to their chest succeed. As Golden (2011) said, consumer’s care less about where they are getting their news, and more about the news itself. A recent study found that people consume news from many different devices, and nearly 50 percent don’t have a preferred method. This same study found that people make conscious choices about where they get their news and how they get it, and social media is becoming more and more important (American Press Institute, 2014). With all of this being said, this demonstrates how people are accessing the news through mobile devices and social media, without paying a great deal of attention to the news source. The more open the source of the news, the greater likelihood it will be shared. The greater likelihood that it will be shared, the greater reach the content has. I think that this area has a significant ability to affect the future of global communications.

Question: Do you believe that more content should be “open source”, such as what Creative Commons and Al-Jazeera does, or do you believe there should be ownership and tighter control of content to protect intellectual property rights?

 

References

 

Al-Jazeera (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera_English

American Press Institute (2014, March 17). The personal news cycle: How Americans choose to get their news. Retrieved from http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/

Boyd-Barrett, O. (2010). Media imperialism: Reformulated. In D. K. Thussu (Ed.), International Communication: A Reader (pp. 139-153). London: Routledge.

Creative Commons (n.d.). About CreativeCommons.org. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/about

Media imperialism (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_imperialism

New World Information And Communication Order (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Information_and_Communication_Order

Powers, S. (Interviewer). Berman, T., Golden, R., Gould, T., Miller, A. and Redisch, S. (Interviewees). International broadcasting and public media: Panel 1 (2010, December 9) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov-lN8XIPjc

Supplemental

Media imperialism, according to Boyd-Barrett (2011), is ‘the process whereby the ownership, structure, distribution or content of the media in any one country are singly or together subject to substantial external pressures from the media interest of any other country or countries without proportionate reciprocation of influence by the country so affected,” (p. 145).

Dependency theory

To understand if the dependency theory is helpful in explaining cultural convergence, one must first understand the convergence model. The convergence model is one in which the collective action of the group helps achieve social goals (Barnett & Rosen, 2007). The convergence theory can be applied to communication situations in which the individuals represent a social system that have a unique culture. The cultural convergence theory says that the variance between these ethnic and cultural groups becomes smaller over time. Barnett and Rosen (2007) say, “Convergence theory envisions the flow of information through a communication network shared by those who participate in the process,” (p. 161). In other words, the more cultural groups communicate together, the more they move towards shared beliefs and the variance among their ideas becomes smaller. The process of divergence, which is also known as the movement towards increased variance, occurs when there is less communication flow among the members. We can see this demonstrated through the communication flows. The more the group communicates among each other, the less divergence among their beliefs. The less they communicate, the less connected they become. This theory also maintains that unlimited and unrestricted communication between cultures results in homogenization (increased affinity to the same beliefs). On the same token, limited information flows result in increased divergence.

 

Cultural dependence builds on the dependency theory, “which looks primarily at the ideological role of the media as part of the cultural superstructure that results from the economic relations of dependency,” (Straubhaar, 2010, p.262). As such, Third World countries are dependent upon the industrialized world for capital, technology and goods, and while they export low-cost products, they add little value to their local economy. This theory believes that not only is this economic imbalance taking place, but also the goal is to make the Third World country content with this situation while pushing the ideological views of the elite. Companies, such as Time Warner, are further expanding their influence on global scale. According to McChesney (2010) we have yet to see a commercially viable site born on the internet and it’s unlikely that we will because the Internet has become playground for media giants to explore and takeover further unifying media content (as cited in God is Love, 2010).

 

I do not believe that the dependency theory is sufficient in explaining cultural convergence. First, I agree with Pool (1977) and Read (1976) who critiqued the dependency theory by stating that the expansion of U.S. media into a global market is more aligned to a business cycle than intention to dominate (as cited in Straubhaar, 2010). I do not believe that the U.S. expands into Third World country markets to push their ideological views. I also don’t believe that the U.S. purposefully restricts communication flows among cultures to push a homogenized viewpoint. I believe that the dominant media structures provide their services, goods and technology to Third World countries because, as Straubhaar (2010) states, they don’t have the resources to support or maintain full schedules of national production. Because of the limited resources of the Third World countries, they are dependent upon wealthier countries to provide media, television production and advertisers. However, this is not done to converge the beliefs of that culture into a homogenized view. In fact, the more I read and learn about glocalization and the global media, the more I realize how much is being done to ensure that local cultures preserve and honor their beliefs.

 

In light of the literature dealing with digital divide, what is your opinion on the concept of asymmetrical interdependence and the developing countries’ tendency to adopt and adapt cultural industries?

 

As I stated above, the dependency theory, “which looks primarily at the ideological role of the media as part of the cultural superstructure that results from the economic relations of dependency,” (Straubhaar, 2010, p.262) plays a role in global communications. There is an asymmetrical interdependence in media. Many nations’ media systems operate in a subordinate position within the world economy. Straubhaar (2010) states that asymmetrical interdependence is the range of relationships that are formed globally due to economic and political issues that move along the continuum from dependency to dominant interdependence. Even the United States is not completely independent and we have seen more of a shift in this dependency over the years. The cost of starting a radio or television broadcast is extraordinary, but these costs were actually even higher in the 1950s and 1960s than they are now. This has shifted the initial dependence on U.S. media to interdependence within the world marketplace.

 

I definitely see that there is an asymmetrical interdependence of the global media. Many Third World countries lack the capital and resources to produce media. They not only lack the financial resources, but they don’t have the organizational platform or artists, including writers, directors, actors and musicians. They also may not have the advertisers needed to maintain production. These smaller countries are therefore dependent upon the United States for their film and television production. Even though the technology for cross-border communication is becoming more prevalent, many Third World countries still lack the basic radio and television programming to distribute communication. According to Straubhaar (2010), “Some poorer Third World countries are still struggling to absorb radio production and diffuse radio receivers to all of their population,” (p. 267). However, even in these countries television is watched in public places. Straubhaar brings up a great point, which is that while the production of radio and television programming is primarily U.S. dominant, the hardware development of radios, VCRs and equipment is diversifying. This results in an interdependence. While there is an asymmetrical interdependence in the global media marketplace today, we are making movements towards diversifying. I also do not see this as a negative concept. The U.S. is the world’s third largest exporter. In 2013, only 12 percent of US goods exported are consumer goods (Amadeo, 2014). The biggest export from the U.S. is entertainment, including movies, television programs, music and books (Farhi & Rosenfeld, 1998). Nearly one quarter of the U.S. imports is consumer goods. This demonstrates that the U.S. is not exporting goods, but rather services. The reason I mention these statistics is because I believe that our interdependence in the global media marketplace is not a bad thing. The United States has built a successful model for entertainment, therefore that is what we are successful in exporting. However, we have not focused on our “goods”, like radios, DVD players and televisions. Those items are some of our primarily imports. Therefore, this results in interdependence in the global media marketplace.

 

Question: Do you agree with my viewpoint that there is a complimentary relationship in global media or do you believe that the asymmetrical interdependence is detrimental to Third World countries?

 

References

Amadeo, K. (2014, April 21). U.S. imports and exports components. About News. Retrieved from http://useconomy.about.com/od/tradepolicy/p/Imports-Exports-Components.htm

Barnett, G.A. and Rosen, D. (2007). The global implications of the Internet: Challenges and prospects. In Y. R. Kamalipour (Ed.), Global Communication (pp. 157-180). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Farhi, P. and Rosenfeld, M. (1998, October 25). American pop penetrates worldwide. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/mia/part1.htm

God is Love [screenname]. (2010, April 21). Globalization: The Internet as a tool [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAcE67N_dfs&list=PLdOWmNSwCamsvJ0PEGaOJnN3cI99jDxJ

Straubhaar, J.D. (2010). Beyond media imperialism: Asymmetrical interdependence and cultural proximity. In D. K. Thussu (Ed.), International Communication: A Reader (pp. 261-294). London: Routledge.