Pixar Animation Studios (Pixar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Pixar is a digital animation studio that uses its creative, technical and production capabilities to create animated feature films and related products, such as video products, toys, interactive games and other merchandise.
The company produces short films and television commercials using three-dimensional computer animation. The short films produced by Pixar include Luxo Jr., Tin Toy, Geri’s Game, For the Birds, Mike’s New Car and One Man Band. Pixar’s develops production software which is used in-house to create its computer graphics (CG) for filmmaking.
The company developed three core proprietary software systems: Marionette, an animation software system for modeling, animating and lighting; Ringmaster, a production management software system for scheduling, coordinating and tracking a computer animation project; and RenderMan, a software system for high-quality, photo-realistic image synthesis that Pixar uses internally and licenses to third parties.
Pixar had capture more than 100 awards and nominations for animated films, commercials and technical contributions (Pixar, 2010). This means that their products are wide appeal to the audience, as people consumer their products, they are expect the production should be in the high quality, or it is over their expectation. And the awards they capture can be the evidences for their quality thus build up the strong reputation in the consumers’ mind.
Pixar co-produce with Disney which can take the advantage on co-financial, and co-branding, which can stable the basis of the company as Disney is the world biggest animation producer. Besides, Pixar can focus on story and creative elements, which is their core business, to be the professional in this field. Moreover, it can also utilize Disney’s worldwide promotion, marketing, and distribution facilities, to lower the cost of production.
As creation is a kindly subjective thing. Pixar has always emphasis that they won’t imitate other animation producer’s idea which had already published, all of their animation ideas are innovative by themselves, thus this might take a high risky as people may not agree that the animation is suit for their taste. And this might cause a sharply loss for Pixar.
Organizational Culture Analysis
According to Johnson, G. and Scholes, K., 2002, cultural web provides one such approach for analysis the organization’s culture. There are six elements in cultural web, which are rituals and routines, stories, symbols, power structures, organizational structures, control systems, which are the culture artifact for evident to make up the paradigm.
Figure 1: Johnson & Scholes’s Cultural Web
Routines and rituals
Routines and rituals mean there are the daily conduct or action which is essential to do, and people are signal acceptance behavior of them. This determines the expected way to solve the given situation, and what is important and reinforces in the management (G. and Scholes, K., 2002)
Catumul, founder of Pixar, mention that when they create the next film before, they will to do the self-assessment. It is because they want to fix all problems happen in the last film they create, and discover all problems in the next film (Purkayastha, D., 2006).
This shows that self-assessment had already been their routines. When they finish one film, the self-assessment must be done.
Stories mean the past incident and people that will talked for the society and the employees of the company. Stories many typically have to do with successes, heroes, disasters, villains and maverick who is not obey the norm of the company. The company abstracts the essence and the legal behavior which is value and great to the people (G. and Scholes, K., 2002).
Pixar has a “no hero” culture. Although Pixar has are lot of various star performers and they can get higher salaries, when the film is succeeds, everyone can get the bonus. Pixar emphasis that the film got success not because of one of them who have a larger contribution, the reason of success is the collaboration of the team. That’s the reason of analysts noted that the success of Pixar because they treat both the technical side and artistic side equally important (Purkayastha, D., 2006).
In my opinion, I think that Pixar is not practicing “no hero” culture, but “everyone is a hero” culture, because Pixar can give everyone the sense of achievement. Pixar always emphasis that success is not only come from one person but the team, therefore the sense of achievement can share to everyone and that’s the reason to magnet the talented people who just come out from school of working at other places willing to work for Pixar (Mintzberg, H., 2009).
Symbols means the visual describe include the company logo, the gorgeous offices, car, title, and dress codes (G. and Scholes, K., 2002).
“Pixar’s vision was to tell stories – to make real filmâ€¦Our vision was to make the world’s first computer animated feature film – completely computer synthetic, sets, characters everything,”. As Luxo Jr. is the symbol for the annual conference of computer graphics organization. Therefore, to express that Pixar was the world’s first producer of computer animated feature film, Pixar had used Luxo Jr. in their logo, and they want to make a deeply impression to the people that when they see their logo, they said, ‘Oh this is what computer animation is all about!'(Young)
Power structures mean the people who have the real power in the company. They have the greatest power the make decision, operation, and set the strategy direction. They always include one or two senior executives, executives of the whole group, and even a department.
In Pixar, the transformational leadership functions are well defined. Creative leadership has the biggest power in Pixar’s creativity. The Brain Trust, which led by John Lasseter and other directors, will support creative leadership to give them the necessary resources, but the role of them are only the assistant (Haley, J.M. & Sidky, M.H., 2010). This is the reflective of the bottom-up approach (empowering line members of the team) However, back to the decision making approach, real powerful man is the directors and producers which is the top-down driven.
Organization structures mean the those structures defined by the organization chart, to make out the important relationships, and the unwritten line of power and effect which express that who is the most valued contributors.
Pixar is designed as a unique organization which is seamlessly without the barriers of hierarchy of functional divisions (Vemuri, K., 2005). The three main functional divisions are creative department, which generate the storyline and the role of animates; technological department, which develop the computer graphic and tools; and the production department, which is a group for supervise the filmmaking processing with synchronizes and coordinates the other two department. Because of lack of the hierarchy, so that new tools and technology can easy to develop and used in the Pixar film.
Control systems mean the measurements of the financial system, quality system, and the reward system, which emphasis the important of organization to monitors and pay attention on them.
Pixar’s employees are totally work hard on the products’ quality when they a process the production and they are emphasis that they should make perfectly on every details in every production. This is caused by the production of Toy Story 2, they gave the primary employees who had never headed the movie production to hold a new creative team and took in charge of Toy Story 2, but the team screwed it up. Therefore, the original creative team took in charge on the new team’s hand, they gave up all the works on hand and tremendous time constraints to fix the film, although they done it and received a great success, but this crisis they don’t want to have twice, therefore they are intense on the quality control.
Central Issue: Office design of Pixar
Office design in Pixar (http://www.officesnapshots.com/category/pixar/) picture
Pixar’s headquarters is site in Emeryville, California. According to Warren, C. (2004), Purkayastha, D. & Fernando, R. (2006), and Hawn, C. (2008), Pixar has a large atrium at the centre part which seems as a central piazza with lays open. It serves as a main reception, market square and eating area. Besides, the place also provides the meeting rooms, employee mailboxes, a main cafe and a number of coffee shops, a 600-seat film theater, two forty-seat screening rooms, a pool, cafeteria, and even a bathroom in it. Those facilities allow employees, who are work on software code, who animate, and who do designs
For the sport facilities, a badminton court in the lobby. Besides, there is a football field, a gym center, volley ball courts and an Olympic-size pool inside the compound, and with a 600-seat outdoor amphitheater, flower cutting gardens, an organic vegetable garden, a wild flower meadow, and with many apparently undiscovered places for employees to walk, sit and talk in the compound.
For the office, that the employees working place, Pixar allows employees to treat their office as canvas (Paik, K., 2007). They can build a front that’s like a Western town, or do something that looks like Hawaii.
For the working environment of the Pixar, Pixar is made effort in ergonomics expert to le t their employees have comfortable workplaces to work, thus they had designed the computer keyboard were in the optimal position, and such design is healthful for employees and eliminate the tired feeling for them. Besides, the humane of light quality, space, architectural interest and the integration of technology had also take care for the employees to work in the comfortable place.
Literature review of office design
Work Pattern and Space
According to Worthington (1997): “the design of office buildings has often not been closely related to the needs of the organizations who use them”. It seems that the workspace planning /architecture have a relationship with the employees’ working performance. According to the article Duffy wrote in 1997, he had developed an influence model which shows as a grid, to help for planning the office space with suitable for the employees needs on their work, thus create the maximum benefit for the employees working performance. The grid has involved four board types of office space, which are Hive, Cell, Club and Den, by using two axes of autonomy and interactivity to measure.
Figure 2: Work Patterns and Space, Duffy (1997)
Transactional Knowledge Work
Individual Process Work
Hives are featured by individual. In the routine work processing, people contain low levels of autonomy and low interactive. Telesales, data entry or process, the business of financial and administrative operations, and the basic message service are the typical organization or work group of Hives.
Cells suit for individual, concentrated working with lack of interaction. People in such office space should be highly autonomy, the work type such as investigators, computer scientists, lawyers, and management consultant, both of them no needs to work continually, there work type would be in mission, therefore, they have irregular pattern of work and need to extend their working days, and sometimes they should working in other places within their working hours.
Dens are mention as working in group, people are normally working in highly interactive, but they are not highly autonomy. The typical works for dens are designers, some media work, and the advertising. People of these types basically working and their own desk, however, they also need to working with other in the same space, such as take a meeting and doing the project work.
Clubs suit for knowledge work, with highly autonomy and interaction with others. People working in this pattern are irregular and might need to extend their working days. The typically work on this pattern are most related with the creativity work such as media development and advertising work as these types of work need for sometimes individually concentrate on the work and sometime work in the group with interaction. Therefore, a wide range of facilities and the large area of space for moving around are essential as people will either working in-house or working out of office.
Single mindedness and open mindedness
Richard Rogers (1997) had mentioned the words for a political theorist, Michael Walzer, who had classified that there are two different groups in the urban space, the single minded space and open minded space. Walzer defined that single minded space such as offices, houses, and car park, these places would have to fulfill single function, while the open minded space such as cafes, parks, and busy street, where the urgency sense can be replaced by an inclination to involve and join in with other people, and these places can think as the multifunctional. As the reason above, there is no doubt that these two groups can be a metaphor for the knowledge space, and range of knowledge places is from single mined to open minded.
Figure 3: Types of Work Space
Figure 3 had shown the two different types of mindedness space with particular locations which can express where the places are defined as nearly single minded space and open minded space with the nature of work need to individual or collaborative. For example, to do the creative knowledge work, flesh air is a main element as history been experienced that such open minded space can stimulate the most creative deliberated. However, if there are an enclose space, such as prison cell, then people work for creativity might have the disadvantage feeling as the place is not is probably not conducive to creativity. Cellular office may suitable for small team meetings as they need for relatively highly collaborative with sharing things to teammates but they are keen on individual work. Airport departure lounge as we know is a crowded, busy, and stressful place, so that it can be defined as open minded space. It can well be use by the executives for do the individual knowledge work readily.
As we map such physical space which for the knowledge creation and sharing onto the method or the places grid, it can clearly shown that there would have the significant implications which the suitable places can affect the success of knowledge creation.
Did the office design of Pixar suitable for their employees?
Over view the office design of Pixar, it seems that provide a large size atrium to the employees is wasting the places and it is not effective for a workplace as there are too many irrelevant facilities to the employees on their work. But Brad Bird argues that this can encourage employees’ creativity (Hawn, C., 2008).
Go through the core business of Pixar, The work for Pixar is majority in creativity. According to the power structure in the cultural web analysis, we know that the creative leadership is taking a highest power to in charge the creativity of Pixar, therefore, they have the highly autonomy in their work. Besides, organization structure analysis mentions that there is no hierarchy structure as both creative department, technological department, and the production department needs a highly interaction thus enter the new tools and technology in the developing Pixar film and bring the successful of Pixar. Moreover, Control system analysis had brief that the employees needs to work overtime when there have any urgency issues. As the reason above, apply all the features of Pixar in the Work Patterns and Space (figure 1), Pixar can define as suitable for design their workplace by using Club. This means that Pixar should provide wide range of facilities and large area to their employees.
Also, this can prove that the way Brad Bird said is correct. According to Gilbert, S. (2007), he stated that in Pixar, there is not only the managerial style can achieve the goal for encouraging the personal interaction, but also the office design. And it is a true mention for Pixar that it is necessary to have the variety facilities and the large space for their employees.
However, after using the “Work Patterns and Space” to identify that Pixar should have a large space with variety facilities, but we still don’t know which facilities are suitable for the employees of Pixar, therefore, another framework “Types of Work Space”
Investigate to the function of the large size atrium in Pixar, according to Kraut et al (1990), he studied that there are almost 80 percent of employees’ interaction is come from the informal way, such as the call, vending machines and the short stop