January 27, 2006
Steering Culture
Posted by Victor Fleischer

I just read the most unusual exhibit to an SEC filing.  Check out the Disney-Pixar merger agreement, exhibit 99.

It's titled Principles for Management of the Feature Animation Businesses, and it's in large part designed to ensure that the Pixar culture -- which accounts for a good chunk of the purchase price -- survives.  It's concise and easy to read.  How did this document arise?  Was it a last minute drafting session?  I wonder if contracts would be easier to read if we had to do them all at the last minute, and without forms. 

Note that culture, in the agreement, is in quotation marks.  The Pixar "culture".  I wonder if we'll be at the point soon when culture loses the quotation marks and becomes recognized as a corporate asset like any other.  We don't put goodwill in quotations any more.

I am a believer in the significance of institutional culture and corporate culture.  But I wonder -- can you really maintain culture with a steering committee?  Top-down force feeding of culture won't work.  Leadership by example, though, helps, and if Jobs and the other Pixar bigwigs stay the course, maybe it will all work out.

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» Pixar's Firm Culture from ProfessorBainbridge.com ...
"Vic Fleischer and Larry Ribstein have both posted comments on the portion of the Disney-Pizar deal t ..." [more] (Tracked on January 29, 2006 @ 22:59)
» The agreement to preserve Pixar's culture not worth the paper it is written on... from ThoughtsOnline ...
"Pixar is trying to maintain its culture post-merger with Disney... which strikes me as a feel-good e ..." [more] (Tracked on January 30, 2006 @ 9:43)
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