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Organizational Behavior

Critical Thinking Case

Organizational BehaviorCritical Thinking Case

Walt Disney World

When it comes to presenting world-class customer experiences, Walt Disney World is at the top of the list. It’s literally called the Most Magical Place on Earth. However, it isn’t just their customers who are receiving rewards for visiting—their cast members and crew are getting rewarded big-time as well.

Incentives go above and beyond a 401(k) program, and they can go a long way in retaining employees and increasing employee satisfaction as well. Disney has over 180 employee recognition programs to give their employees a sense of accomplishment, recognition, and appreciation.

There are over 70,000 cast members at Walt Disney World, each of whom receive extensive training to make sure that they make the customer experience a world-class enjoyment. According to Mike Fox, author of Hidden Secrets & Stories of Walt Disney World, “it always impresses me, especially at the cast member level, the training that goes into helping these folks to provide a superior experience and to see it on stage and see it executed.”

Walt Disney exemplifies many ways of recognition, lots of them being physical in-park recognitions. These include names in windows on Main Street tributes, featuring Disney’s best “imagineers” that helped create some of the park’s greatest rides and innovations. One of the most unique is the Lifetime Fred award, which recognizes employees who exhibit the core company values of friendliness and dependability. It is these varying types of recognition that make Walt Disney’s rewards program so robust and versatile and keep employees engaged and willing to work hard to achieve more.

  1. What key factors are important to consider when creating a rewards program?
  2. Why is timing a key component to a rewards program?
  3. What can be problematic about the wrong type of reward or the wrong frequency of the reward for employees?

Sources: Rhatigan, Chris, “These 4 Companies Totally Get Employee Recognition,” TINY pulse, July 21, 2015,; “Rewarding Your Employees: 15 Examples of Successful Incentives in The Corporate World,” Robinson Resource Group, June 30, 2013,; Kober, Jeff, “Reward & Recognition at Walt Disney World,” World Class Benchmarking, October 17, 2016,; Cain, Áine, “15 insider facts about working at Walt Disney World only cast members know,” Business Insider, May 1, 2018,

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