Friday, March 26, 2010

Pixie Dust-odian: Disney vs. Economics

To my friend, Mike Dixon, over in Operations Management this makes great sense. Training your custodians to be service reps and entertainers is confusing to economists who believe in:
  • specialization - artists do art, custodians do trash, and they can trade. Having them do both is inefficient

  • marginal cost-benefit analysis - does anyone, I mean ANYONE, go to the park to see the Pixie Dustodians? Do they make people come more regularly or spend more money at the gift shop? Are Pixie Dustodians happier to work for lower wages or less likely to turnover than custodians? A trained Pixie Dustodian is actually more likely to command a higher wage. If there is no monetary benefit and even the smallest marginal cost, the dismal scientists say this doesn't make sense.
I could probably come up with some more, but I don't want to give the impression of trashing an idea I hope they're still practicing next time I happen to be there. It's just a sign of somewhere that economists could probably benefit from chatting a little more with the service experience OM folks.

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