Teaming at Disney Animation Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Teaming at Disney Animation Case Study Solution

What is the logic behind Disney Animation’s leaders (i.e. Geibel and Johnson) decision to build a team based organization? What alternatives, if any, to the team solution are there?


Disney has been one of the leading producers of animated movies. The success of Disney remains in its organizational structure, and leadership approach throughout the organization. It has eliminated many of the challenges and issues that arose the in past to bring efficiency in the organization by improving the communication across all levels of the organization. There are two types of organizational communication one is horizontal, and second is vertical. Each type of communication has different benefits and loop holes. But, the concern for Disney is different because it wants to deploy the communication effectively as leaders and managers have casual formal and real-time communication to increase efficiency in the organization.

Therefore, structural changes and organizational changes have to be made to bring cross-disciplinary and dynamic work environment, and culture of change as well received by the organization as whole. Since, a change could dramatically challenge the organizational leadership in many ways, and it might develop a conflict among the managers over their own views and lack of control and sense of accountability might be lost. So, team based organization is effective given the vision of instilling autonomy in the teams.

Vision of leadership

Geibel as the director and Johnson as the manager of the Systems Technology at Walt Disney Animation studios, has brought many structural changes in the organization to improve the efficiency of the work performed. The organization has become more structured, and hierarchical in which communication had almost lost. Because, the communication across the departments were as much important as employees for the organization. Since, Disney’s success is the best example of the creative work and innovation, and it is only possible when there is communication across the departments to boost up creative thinking, and bring innovation, and lives into the ideas through experimentations, and continuous hard work.

The cross-communication across the departments was a key to success for the company even it was a matter of survival because a small gap in the work would portray a weakness that would create gap in the market for which competitors were waiting to benefit. The animation work involved high-tech computer animation, and creative storytelling which has emphasized on the cross-disciplinary and dynamic work environment. The organizational changes could bring efficiency, but the problem is that how culture of the organization is instilled. The organization of Disney has to measure effective and efficient ways to come up with the structural changes, and leadership reforms, and effective communication channels across the organization to boost up the creative work.

The leadership of Disney knows the employees and managers well. The employee who has nothing to do with a department could come up with an idea and could suggest it to manager of respective department. This is because of inculcation of the cultural changes that has brought creativity, and innovation. Therefore, the logic behind the team based organization unleashing the employees to contribute the best of their skills to the team, implement best practices because no one could know what is the best practice in this work except the person who has worked for a long in that field.

Disney leveraged the skills, experience of employees, and provided an open platform to unleash their real hidden talent, and they were allowed to make necessary changes their selves without concerning the chain of command. However, it has less overhead management that could cause delays in decision making process. Team based organization also increased the teamwork, and allowed each individual to feel sense of responsibility, and formulate strategies to work, build milestones, targets, and goalsto be achieved. The teams always competed with each other that increased the creativity, innovation, and efficiency in their work, and they could also have direct communication with other team member or the departments in more casual and less formal, but effective way.


The teams were given an open platform for unleashing their talent, and increasing their input even. The Disney’s approach to the organizational leadership style, and organizational structure has increased the innovation, creative thinking and efficiency which is indeed needed in formation of the success story, and animation work which required more dynamic and cross discipline work environment.

Teaming at Disney Animation Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


The company has been under many structural changes in many forms. But, the team based organization is much more appropriate. So, no further changes are required for the company to bring in its organizational structure. Because, the vision of the company was to bring efficiency, and enable the employees to contribute with their full potential and make them responsible for the work they perform that emphasized on innovation and creativity.

Essay – Two


Analyze the principles guiding Disney Animation’s leaders’ model of teams and consider to what extent are they appropriate for the situation? Provide reasons for your answer.................

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