Analysis of Teaming at Disney Animation

What Led this Structure to be Effective at Disney Animation?

Disney Animation structure has experienced numerous alterations to become more successful and relevant in the continuously changing market conjuncture. These alterations aimed to avoid future global changes by implementing possibilities to improve the performance stage by stage without recessions. In other words, the changes were not caused by crisis or the irrelevance of the management; they were just aimed to prevent adverse outcomes.

Firstly, Geibel and Johnson decided to eliminate the format of the groups that existed before and were causing extra boundaries for the Systems department. They decided to create small autonomous teams with particular range functions instead (Edmondson, Ager, Harburg, and Bartlett, 2015). Consequently, implementing a new team structure revealed the necessity of clarifying the roles; thus, the team leads, primary and secondary team members were introduced.

Considering the change that led to the structure’s success, it is hard to distinguish between them because the measures were complex and interlaced. However, one of the most significant decisions was changing the information flows. Geibel and Johnson pursued the goal of making communications less formal when they introduced smaller teams instead of groups (Edmondson et al., 2015). This measure was enormously beneficial for the teams’ formation and, as a repercussion, their effectiveness. To decrease the intensity of control felt by the team members, some “working groups met only as needed,” while others had short regular meetings every two weeks to prioritize the tasks (Edmondson et al., 2015, p. 9). Such a system allowed team members to concentrate on their tasks and avoid unnecessary formality, relying more on autonomy and self-organization than rules.

Another substantial element of the success of a new structure depended on a new system of setting goals and working on them. The new structure was triggered using different consciousness paradigms, more open mindsets. For example, after regular meetings, team members decided on who would do which task, and the initiative here became commendable (Edmondson et al., 2015). Thus, the teams turned into associations of people interested in their job and willing to reach team goals, which comparatively increased their working efficiency and improved their results.

The Assessment of a New Team Structure

The new structure of the Disney Animation’s Systems groups appeared to be controversial due to its innovative nature. Although it has revealed more advantages, there were unavoidable disadvantages that complexified the working process and resulted in worse performance. However, management innovations can never be perceived only from a positive point of view. Therefore, only an integrated overview of this structural change can provide a clear image of its effect.

Regarding the specificity of work at Disney Animation as a department producing animated films, it certainly requires maintaining a certain level of creativity inside it. According to this point, making communications in the Systems department more informal was rational and necessary. Following this path, Geibel and Johnson managed to contribute to the formation of teams and strengthening the relationships between the employees. One more strong side of the structure is that it triggered the appearance of a feeling of membership, which united people and provided them with the inspiration to continue their innovative activity.

Furthermore, compared to the structure used previously, the new one can meet the needs of more people. For example, the old structure implied strongly official communications, the unchangeable groups, and the constant competition of managers among each other (Edmondson et al., 2015). The new structure provides comfortable conditions for the employees, as they are allowed to work in more informal conditions, that increases the level of job satisfaction among the employee and thus has a positive impact on the performance indicators. Moreover, new measures optimize Disney Animation’s resources and ensure better results with the exact amounts.

Concerning the disadvantages of a new structure suggested by Geibel and his colleague Johnson, they were not as notable as the positive effects. More particularly, they mainly covered some aspects of the working process rather than the whole system. The new structure aims to unite people in their desire to reach common goals and provide them with a safe space for communication at work; hence, it aims to extend personal space. For instance, Geibel’s suggestion to create workspaces instead of individual offices to support communication was controversial from the beginning because it could not fit both extroverts and introverts (Edmondson et al., 2015). Another weakness of the structure is that alterations of traditional hierarchy may lead to unforeseeable consequences, primarily if the employees are used to it. Regarding this situation, the management may even need to recruit new employees to get access to all the advantages of the new structure.

Overall, the new structure can be considered successful because it allowed the management and the employees to realize that better results do not always require more resources. The structure with small functionalized teams, generally informal communications, and discussions of common goals appeared to be suitable for the Systems department of Disney Animation as it provides the required level of comfort and freedom. Therefore, as the structure suited the department’s employees and management, the negative aspects of implementing the new structure had a weaker impact on the Systems’ performance.

Reference List

Edmondson, A. C., Ager, D. L., Harburg, E., and Bartlett, N. (2015). ‘Teaming at Disney animation’, Harvard Business School, 9, pp. 1–20.

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