Disney

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case study–student handout

POWER AND POLITICS IN THE FALL AND RISE OF JOHN LASSETER

John Lasseter grew up in a family heavily involved in artistic expression. Lasseter was drawn to cartoons as a youngster. Then as a freshman in high school he read a book entitled The Art of Animation. The book, about the making of the Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty, proved to be a revelation for Lasseter. He discovered that people could earn a living by developing cartoons. Lasseter started writing letters to The Walt Disney Company Studios regarding his interest in creating cartoons. Studio representatives, who corresponded with Lasseter many times, told him to get a great art education, after which they would teach him animation.

When
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In 2006, Disney CEO Robert Iger and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs consummated a deal for Pixar to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Iger wanted to reinvigorate animation at Disney, and as the top creative executive at Pixar, John Lasseter, was viewed a key figure in achieving this objective. Lasseter “ is regarded by Hollywood executives as the modern Walt [Disney] himself [with capabilities] that have made Pixar a sure thing in the high stakes animated world.” Former Disney Studios head, Peter Schneider, says Lasseter “is a kid who has never grown up and continues to show the wonder and joy that you need in this business.” Current Disney Studio chief, Dick Cook, says that Lasseter is like the famous professional basketball player, Michael Jordan. “He makes all the players around him better.”
Lasseter now oversees development of movies at both Pixar’s and Disney’s animation studios. Says Lasseter, “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have all these new roles. I do what I do in life because of Walt Disney his films and his theme park and his characters and his joy in entertaining. The emotional feeling that his creations gave me is something that I want to turn around and give to others.”

Discussion Questions

1. What forms of interpersonal power are evident in the case? 2. In what ways do the two faces of power
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