Disney Organizational Structure

  • Disney has a multidivisional (M-form) organizational structure which is common in diversified companies with many interests. Supporting these interests are six business-type segments that leverage Disney’s brand equity and are operated by centralized command.
  • Disney’s functional groups serve to coordinate growth between its various business segments in such a way that each benefit. Movie characters from the Studios Content segment, for example, may be incorporated into rides and merchandise for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
  • Four geographic divisions also help to manage various socioeconomic and cultural differences among the company’s many markets. These are U.S. and Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin American & Other Markets.

Introduction

Disney, formally known as The Walt Disney Company, is an American entertainment and media conglomerate that was founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923.

Disney has a multidivisional (M-form) organizational structure which is common in diversified companies with many interests.

In the following sections, let’s delve into this structure in more detail in addition to some secondary characteristics of Disney’s structure.

Business-type segments or divisions

Critical to Disney’s organizational structure are segments or divisions arranged that focus on specific business types or industries. Each segment is managed by centralized corporate management and leverages the company’s brand equity as a competitive advantage.

There are six business-type segments:

  1. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products – this includes Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and Disney Cruise Line.
  2. Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution – comprised of various direct-to-consumer streaming services and international business units. Examples include ESPN+, Hulu, Hotstar, and Disney Music Group.
  3. Studios Content – these are the studios responsible for producing movie and streaming content for Disney brands, including Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm.
  4. General Entertainment Content – or any producer of entertainment or news content such as ABC News, ABC Entertainment, Disney Branded Television, FX, National Geographic, and Freeform.
  5. ESPN and Sports Content – a standalone segment for the acquisition and production of live sports programming, news, and other non-scripted content.
  6. International Content and Operations – responsible for the development and production of entertainment and sports content outside of the United States. This group encompasses Disney’s geographic divisions which are outlined below.

Functional groups

For Disney, functional groups are those that serve to coordinate growth between its various business segments in such a way that each benefit. For example, popular movie characters from the Studios Content segment are regularly incorporated into Disney Parks, Experiences and Products as rides and merchandise. The Studios Content segment also works with Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution when streaming adaptations of the popular Star Wars film franchise are produced.

Centralized corporate management is responsible for fostering effective coordination between the various segments. Groups are headed by executive leaders who report directly to CEO Bob Chapek and include Corporate Affairs, Enterprise Technology, Compliance, and Global Communications.

Geographic divisions

Geographic divisions help Disney manage sociocultural and economic factors that influence mass media, entertainment, and parks across different markets. For example, the amusements, menu items, and overall customer experience differ markedly between Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris.

To manage these differences, there are four geographic divisions:

  1. U.S. and Canada.
  2. Europe.
  3. Asia-Pacific, and
  4. Latin American & Other Markets.

Read Next: What Does Disney Own?, Disney Competitors, What Is The Walt Disney Method?, Disney SWOT Analysis, Lessons Of Business Model Design By Walt Disney, Netflix Business Model.

Organizational Structure Case Studies

Airbnb Organizational Structure

airbnb-organizational-structure
Airbnb follows a holacracy model, or a sort of flat organizational structure, where teams are organized for projects, to move quickly and iterate fast, thus keeping a lean and flexible approach. Airbnb also moved to a hybrid model where employees can work from anywhere and meet on a quarterly basis to plan ahead, and connect to each other.

eBay Organizational Structure

ebay-organizational-structure
eBay was until recently a multi-divisional (M-form) organization with semi-autonomous units grouped according to the services they provided. Today, eBay has a single division called Marketplace, which includes eBay and its international iterations.

IBM Organizational Structure

ibm-organizational-structure
IBM has an organizational structure characterized by product-based divisions, enabling its strategy to develop innovative and competitive products in multiple markets. IBM is also characterized by function-based segments that support product development and innovation for each product-based division, which include Global Markets, Integrated Supply Chain, Research, Development, and Intellectual Property.

Sony Organizational Structure

sony-organizational-structure
Sony has a matrix organizational structure primarily based on function-based groups and product/business divisions. The structure also incorporates geographical divisions. In 2021, Sony announced the overhauling of its organizational structure, changing its name from Sony Corporation to Sony Group Corporation to better identify itself as the headquarters of the Sony group of companies skewing the company toward product divisions.

Facebook Organizational Structure

facebook-organizational-structure
Facebook is characterized by a multi-faceted matrix organizational structure. The company utilizes a flat organizational structure in combination with corporate function-based teams and product-based or geographic divisions. The flat organization structure is organized around the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, and the key executives around him. On the other hand, the function-based teams based on the main corporate functions (like HR, product management, investor relations, and so on).

Google Organizational Structure

google-organizational-structure
Google (Alphabet) has a cross-functional (team-based) organizational structure known as a matrix structure with some degree of flatness. Over the years, as the company scaled and it became a tech giant, its organizational structure is morphing more into a centralized organization.

Tesla Organizational Structure

tesla-organizational-structure
Tesla is characterized by a functional organizational structure with aspects of a hierarchical structure. Tesla does employ functional centers that cover all business activities, including finance, sales, marketing, technology, engineering, design, and the offices of the CEO and chairperson. Tesla’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, decide the strategic direction of the company, with international operations given little autonomy.

McDonald’s Organizational Structure

mcdonald-organizational-structure
McDonald’s has a divisional organizational structure where each division – based on geographical location – is assigned operational responsibilities and strategic objectives. The main geographical divisions are the US, internationally operated markets, and international developmental licensed markets. And on the other hand, the hierarchical leadership structure is organized around regional and functional divisions.

Walmart Organizational Structure

walmart-organizational-structure
Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches. On the one hand, Walmart follows a hierarchical structure, where the current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior, and directives are sent from top-level management. On the other hand, the function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

Microsoft Organizational Structure

microsoft-organizational-structure
Microsoft has a product-type divisional organizational structure based on functions and engineering groups. As the company scaled over time it also became more hierarchical, however still keeping its hybrid approach between functions, engineering groups, and management.

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