Strategies of the DreamWorks Dream Team

Published September 26, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

dreamworks team oil

Successful leaders use corporate strategic management to help them determine the navigational course for their firm. They also include other organizational tactics that focus on functional and competitive components. These elements provide a means for making sure the company can achieve its goals. In my ebook, The Value of Corporate Strategic Management (2014) my research work provides insights to some of these strategies and examines the methods top performers implement to run their organizations more efficiently (Berry, 2014).

On Wednesday’s post we began taking a closer look at one of the most significant dream teams to emerge in the entertainment industry when Jeffrey Katzenberg joined forces with two other world-class creative geniuses, film industry giant Steven Spielberg, and music industry mogul David Geffen, to create the DreamWorks Company (DWC). As a team, they produced a variety of highly acclaimed films including Academy Award winners A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator.

gladiator oil small

Prior to the DWC collaboration, Katzenberg was chairman at the Disney Studios when they produced the blockbuster films The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King and the first animated feature film that earned an Oscar nomination for best picture – Beauty and the Beast. Before that, Katzenberg was president at Paramount Pictures where he was involved with such mega hits as Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Incorporating a strategy that included world-class creative talent, DreamWorks included in their corporate culture other experienced top performers and as a result developed a powerful management team — one that shows how much they support and value their employees by cultivating a work climate which includes fresh-juice trucks that visit the studio facility daily distributing free smoothies to staff members.

Tortas Madagascar 3

Another organizational strategy incorporated by the DreamWorks Animation (DWA) management team, is allocating stipends for employees to personalize their workstations. Plus, they regularly organize entertaining family events to support their projects. For example, when the third installment of the Madagascar movie series wrapped, the company had a Banana Splats party featuring the animators’ outtakes. These are some of the functional strategies that contribute to making the organization an exciting place to work at.

In addition, the company employs 2181 people; this figure reflects a job growth rate of 13% from the previous year by adding 32 new positions in the firm. The company also reveals an equal opportunity strategy in that 25% of their staff consists of minorities and 30% are women. Plus, the firm provides benefits that include some of the following perks: (a) paid sabbaticals, (b) an on-site fitness center, (c) subsidized gym memberships, (d) job sharing programs, compressed workweeks, and telecommuting; (e) nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and (f) they offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples (100 best companies to work for, 2013). These are a few effective management strategies that keep the employees motivated and excited about their jobs. Other companies can learn from these tactics because when staff members feel important and relevant, that firm becomes more valuable as well. Furthermore, employees are naturally enthusiastic, happy to offer their loyalty, and are most likely to perform at higher levels.


Another significant component DWA utilizes that gives them the competitive edge, is their advanced film-making techniques with innovative technologies. Mary Coulter (2010) advises that a company’s capabilities assessment profile can be identified by conducting a thorough analysis of the functional strategies. This is what distinguishes them from their competitors as well as how effective the firm is at developing and leveraging their abilities (Coulter, 2010). For example, DWA states clearly on their website that they always try to do things that no one has ever done before. This includes the inclusion of the latest technology that allows directors and animators to bring their ideas and whatever else they can imagine to life.

In addition, the firm nurtures the creative staff by cultivating a climate that offers them support. This helps motivate team members to create more vibrant and interesting characters like Shrek and Toothless, the lovable pet-like dragon that dwells in the lush new world created in the hit feature film, How to Train Your Dragon. With a sophisticated animation process, their intent is to provide heart warming storytelling while offering high quality entertainment on a global level (Company, 2014). In doing so, they have created an organization that is considered a people place – one that encourages everyone alike to contribute equally where they are supported both technologically and creatively.


In short, at the heart of DWA is a unique selling point based on the basic desire to tell great stories that inspire audiences. In the article, 15 years of DreamWorks Animation and its Complicated Legacy, Mendelson (2013) revealed that in 1994, Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg co-founded DWA after Katzenberg left the Disney regime due to power struggles with Disney chief, Michael Eisner (Mendelson, 2013). In reality, the split provided an opportunity to create a new entity that would forever change the animation industry. They celebrated their 15 year anniversary and continue to prove that they have not only been able to stand up to their main competitors at the Disney studio, they have clearly given them a run for their money.

In summary, by branching off and creating DWA, Katzenberg, developed a corporation that not only encourages employees to participate in the innovative and creative process the team also cultivated an atmosphere that inspires employees to have fun in the process. These are a few of the strategic ingredients which provide the functional capabilities that keep the DreamWorks Animation Corporation on the list of the best 100 companies to work at.

Well, that wrap’s things up for this week. Have a great weekend everyone … and stay organized!


The underlying principles of strategy are enduring, regardless of technology or the pace of change. – Michael Porter


Red Tree Octoberfirst

For more information on Media Magic, our digital publications, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at:

Media Magic Publishing.


100 best comanpies to work for. (2013). Retrieved January 28, 2014, from

Company. (2014). Retrieved January 28, 2014, from

Coulter, M. (2010). Strategic management in action (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Mendelson, S. (2013, October 02). 15 years of DreamWorks Animation and its complicated legacy. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from

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