A Detailed Review of David Frankel's Film the Devil Wears Panda

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A Detailed Review Of David Frankel’s Film The Devil Wears Panda

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“Organization isn't about perfection; it's about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.”

― Christina Scalise,

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The devil wears Prada portrays an organization of fashion magazine Runway. Does the editor of fashion magazine Runway Miranda Priestly engage with his employees like an authentic leader? What is an organization really about? What happens when a manager does not inspire people into working efficiently rather than compels and bullies them into work? Does she help the employees to align their own lives and dreams with the broader dream of the organization? The movie shows that how the imperialism of a manager or boss affects the people at work place, their attitude towards each other and their personal lives. Tuckman stages of team development can be very well related to the devil wears Prada.

The Devil wears Prada, a rendition of Lauren Weisberger’s Roman a clef of the same name, is the story of Andrea Sachs (role enacted by Anne Hathaway) who is an ambitious journalist who has recently graduated fromNorthwestern University. She becomes one of personal assistants to Miranda Priestly (role enacted by Meryl streep) which is “A million girls would kill for this job.”The Devil wears Prada”. Andy (Andrea called so by friends) plans to tolerate Miranda’s imperious, self-righteous and humiliating attitude for one year in order to pave way for her own dream of becoming a journalist. Andy, at first, refuses to be concerned about “superficial obsessions that drive Runway” (Scott, E1). She becomes victim of fashion-conscious co-workers, especially senior assistant of Miranda Emily (role enacted by Emily Blunt). Sensing all the disapproval she receives from Miranda and Emily, she complains to Nigel (role enacted by Stanley Tucci), an art director at Runway, who advises her coldly. He also who lends her designer clothes to show her commitment to job to Miranda and save herself from the disapproval of co-workers. She steadily learns her responsibilities and starts to dress more elegantly to show her effort and obligation to the position. As she confirms to Miranda’s demands and remains all the time attentive to her beck and call, there arises difficulties in her relationship with her college friends and her live-in college friend Nate (role enacted by Adrian Grenier),who is a chef. This way she wins the confidence and trust of Miranda by complying with all of her demands and expectations. She even manages to do the impossible job of getting the new Harry Potter book, which is not published yet for Miranda’s twins, in four hours. Miranda is impressed by Andy and permits her to be the one to bring the cherished "Book," a mock-up of the upcoming edition, to her home. One day, Andy saves Miranda from being discomfited at a charity party, and Miranda recompenses her by offering to take her toParis with herself instead of Emily. Andy refuses mildly but Miranda gives the imperious answer that’s all and Andy agrees. When Andy breaks the news to her boyfriend Nate, he tells her that she has become the one person she ridiculed and despised to become. They leave each other. She repeats that she did not have the choice.

In Paris Miranda, without makeup, opens up her heat to Andy about the effects of her imminent divorce will have on her twin daughters. Later that night, Nigel tells Andy that he has accepted a job as Creative Director with James Holt (role enacted by Daniel Sunjata). After getting drunk at a party in Paris, Andy succumbs to Christian’s charms and spends a night with him. From Christian she gets to know about a plot that Miranda will be replaced by the rising fashion star Jacqueline Follet as editor of Runway. Despite all the things she had to give up and suffer for Miranda, she runs recklessly to caution Miranda about the coming plan.

Miranda manipulates the coming plan of promotions and changes in her own favor and announces at a lunch party that Nigel will leave Runway and will be replaced by Holt. Later when Andy and Miranda are going to a show together, Miranda says to Andy that she says a good deal of herself in Andy. There she realizes her blunders and leaves Miranda and Runway by throwing away the phone into a fountain and walking away.

Organizational behavior (OB) is the interdisciplinary study of human behavior in organizational settings, “the interface between human behavior and the organization, and the organization itself” “Organizational behavior”. The Organizational behavior study and research is carried out in order to analyze human behavior within an organization and the organization itself in order to create resourceful organizations and values. The basic idea of the study of organizational behaviors is that “scientific approach can be applied” to the administration of employees. “Organizational behavior”

The Devil wears Prada is loosely based on the real life editor of vogue: Anna Wintour. The imperious nature of Miranda is inspired by the office life of Anna. Her allegedly standoffish and “demanding personality has earned her the nickname "Nuclear Wintour." (“Anna Wintour”) This shows the significance and immediacy of the theme of organizational behavior portrayed in the movie because of its bearings in real life.

The movie also depicts the stereotypes of bigger organizations and fashion industry which are directly related to the social psychology in organizational behavior. Miranda represents the stereotype of horible female boss who is always dissatisfied with everything no matter how much the employees try. Emily symbolizes the stereotype of overweening and jealous colleague.

The protagonist Andy learns to work in the tensed and strained atmosphere created by her boss Miranda. She manages to win the approval of her boss who is always disappointed at the cost of her friends and boyfriend. It is one of the concerns of organizational behavior psychology that the authoritative boss and strained environment at work affects negatively an employees’ personal life.

The antagonist Miranda without creating suitable environment for her employees to work efficiently and satisfactorily bullies them, torture them with complaints and gives no positive feedback when they something good. This attitude of Miranda is included in Counterproductive work behavior in organization behavior.

Basically DISC is a tool which is used for the assessment and evaluation of the behavior of people in a non-judgmental way. It is a personality test evolved from the DISC theory which was actually proposed by William Moulton Marston who was a psychologist. It is employed by people from different companies as a device to promote their productivity and efficiency in work place. It consists of a chain of questions that “produce a detailed report about (a person’s) personality and behavior” (DISC review, 2016). In organization behavior DISC focuses on four diverse interactive traits, which are called: “dominance, steadiness, influence, and compliance” (DISC assessment, 2016). People with Dominant behaviors: “Sees the big picture, Can be blunt, Accepts challenges and Gets straight to the point” (DISC review, 2016). In the movie Miranda has dominant behavior. She cares about nothing else but Runway. She is often very subtly blunt and gets straight to the point without unnecessary distractions. People with influence related behaviors “shows enthusiasm, remains optimistic, Likes to collaborate, and Dislikes being ignored” (DISC review, 2016). People in whose behavior steadiness is prevalent “doesn't like to be rushed, have calm manner and calm approach, give Supportive actions, shows humility” (DISC review, 2016). We notice the behaviors related to influence and steadiness in Miranda. She likes to collaborate throughout the movie and fidgets whenever Miranda makes her rush but she then, remains optimistic about her growth and performance and wins trust very soon. People showing compliance behaviors tend to show precision and accuracy. We notice compliance in Nigel, Miranda and Holt.

DiSC assessment assists a team in promoting their self-knowledge. It helps in motivation and resolution of conflicts. It improves collaboration and diminishes conflicts in a team. It renders managers capable of dealing in a better way with their employees and makes them transformational leaders.

Perception in organization behavior setting denotes “the way in which individuals understand their environment.” (Review essays, 2016)Attribution theory, a theory about perception, states that individuals use internal and external attributions to understand their own as well those of others actions. Attribution theory is intended to assist a person to perceive the reasons of human behavior. In the movie when Andy comes to Runway floor for the first time, she observes the hectic and confused behavior and actions of employees at the news that Miranda is coming. From people’s behavior she understood what type of boss Miranda might be. Miranda’s consistency in her approach to her work, her behavior with employees and personal life shaped Andy’s conclusions in determining that Miranda’s conduct must be coming from incited from inside.

In this section we will try to understand Miranda as a manager and her leadership in Runway. Power distance is the degree to which people in an organization accept the power of an executive or manager and its unequal distribution. It is a array of “expectations and acquiescence on the unequal distribution of power”, which is communicated by the members of the organization “Power distance”. In the movie a greater power distance between editor Miranda and her employees can be observed. She even has the authority and power to make her secretary get Harry Potter book for her twin daughters within four hours. Her employees can utter no concerns of their personal lives before her because she always dictates.

Organizational ethics is the ethics of an organization according to which people within an organization responds to an internal or external impetus. A code of ethics within an organization is “a set of principles that is used to guide the organization in its decisions, programs, and policies” (Organizational ethics). Within the movie Miranda at first promises to let Emily as her senior secretary accompany to Paris fashion week but later, pleased when Andy rescues her in an embarrassing situation changes her mind and brings Andy to Paris. Andy refuses to go with her because “Emily would die” after getting to know this but Miranda says, “That’s all” “The devil wears Prada”.

Leadership in Organizational behavior focuses on a leader as a person, his/her attitude towards his/her followers and his/her management of the organization. Leadership has to be understood as essentially molded by the characteristics of employees who make followers. Followers have requirements and hope that impact both how they observe and estimate their leader but also how far they eagerly “follow the leader and engage with organizational goals” (View Research Directory, 2016). Miranda is not a great leader because rather than inspiring her followers to work for her, she compels them to fulfill her demands. Both of her secretaries as her followers disapprove of her leadership. The followership of Miranda shows less eagerness and more of subservience.

Bruce Tuckman proposed in 1965 the forming–storming–norming–performing model of group development. The four stages are basically different levels which a group will undergo in an organization “to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results” (Tuckman's stages of group development). In the Devil wears Prada the team members are Miranda, Andy, Emily, and Nigel. Related to the stage of Forming, this team is unclear about individual roles and responsibilities. There is no clear demarcation between the roles of Emily and Andy which brings a lot of confusion to their work. Andy has never read Runway but Miranda gives her job of her junior secretary. In the storming stage participants make views about the personality and reliability of the other workers and “feel compelled to voice these opinions if they find someone shirking responsibility or attempting to dominate” (Tuckman's stages of group development). There is a great deal of attitude difference among the members of the team. For example Andy is poorly fitted among the fashion obsessed fellows. Her lack of style and confusion in responsibilities makes her a joke around the office. In the norming stage conflicts are resolved and team through the awareness of goals starts cooperating with each other. Being ignorant herself about Runway and the job, Emily helps Andy in the initial days. Nigel also gives Andy advice regarding work and suggests choices of clothes. In the stage of performing "With group norms and roles established”, team fellows concentrate on accomplishing common objectives (Leadership the Outward Bound Way). Andy and Emily perform well in doing their jobs. They cooperate with each other and remind Miranda all the guest’s names in the charity dinner. Apart from that Andy and Nigel also did well in Paris

Motivation is the group of forces and agents that make people to select particular behaviors among the many substitutes available to them. Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs is a theory about the possible motivations which motivate people to do different things in order to satisfy their necessities. Those needs are physiological, security, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. If we consider the role of Andy we see that before taking her job she has already satisfied her physiological, security and belongingness needs. She has a good relation with her father and leaves with her boyfriend peacefully. She looks for a job that will make way for her into journalism. After taking job with Miranda she realizes that her self-esteem is at threat from her co-workers and the boss Miranda. She starts fulfilling her duties efficiently and manages to dress elegantly in order to get approval from her fellow workers as well as Miranda. She is motivated by the desire to win the trust of Miranda and substantiate her self-esteem. At last Miranda brings her to Paris and she realizes that she has acquired the trust and confidence of Miranda. After that she gives up the job with Miranda and looks for a journalism job that will lead her towards self-actualization in the field of journalism as it was her initial dream.

Expectancy theory proposes that People are motivated by how much they desire something and how probable is that they think they can get it. The two main conditions of this theory are 1). Effort-to-performance expectancy means an individual's awareness of the chance that struggle will achieve better performance. This expectancy varies from 0 to 1. One is the confirm belief that struggle will acquire for one better performance. 2). Performance-to-outcome expectancy means a person’s awareness that performance will pave way for specific outcome. This expectancy varies from 0 to 1. A high performance-to-outcome expectancy would be 1 greater than 0. In the movie at first Andy loses all her belief that she can do Miranda’s job but Nigel tells her the cold truth. Then, she decided to change and win her place. As soon as her expectancy rises from 0, she changes and her performance gets improved. After she starts performing well she realizes that she will soon get the trust and confidence of Miranda.

On the very basic level communication can be defined as the transference of verbal and non-verbal message and conveyance of meaning. The message can be composed of conceptual factor such a thoughts and ideas or emotional factor such as feelings and intuitions. A perceptual mode of a Communication comprise of two kinds of behaviors. 1). Sender behavior: It renders thoughts and ideas into a language that can be deciphered by others. 2). Receiver behavior: It renders virtual and verbal portions of message into a comprehensible meaning. Communication is one of the significant subjects of organization behavior. Effective communication is a precondition for executing administrative policies as well as for handling daily. Communication carries a lot of importance because t is only through communication that different people in an organization can be affected and motivated. In the movie Miranda always communicates in a way that frightens or threatens people. She does not say anything to motivate her secretaries positively. She asks Andy at one point that you have to get unpublished Harry potter book in four hours or do not return back. Miranda does not pay any attention to the negative influence of her communication on people. We know that for proper working of an organization is reliant on collaboration between colleagues. In order to collaborate well, workfellows need to be able to communicate efficiently.

As we can deduce from the movie and different arguments in the analysis that for any team to work the leader have to let the followers follow him with the same pace. The other important that I would like to suggest is that employees will work efficiently if there integrity is not compromised on the basis of organizational ethics. Rather bringing Andy to Paris, Miranda should have let Emily accompany her because initially she had promised Emily. I recommend this treatment on the bass of organizational ethics because when a manger indulges in manipulative behavior, it discourages employees and they do not remain honest to the organization. Leadership also holds significant importance as we know that leader holds the place of a captain in the boat of an organization. In any given task the team will achieve its goals linearly if the manager will lead rather than dictate. In the movie Miranda could take the same amount of work from her team even if she had not strained and burdened them unnecessarily. Miranda willingly vexes her secretaries despite the fact that they comply with every demand of her. I recommend that Managers of organizations act like true leaders and inspire their employees to work for them rather than intimidate them. The third important thing which a manager or a boss should follow the rules and steps of a transformational leader to enhance the quality of work and develop the organization. Miranda is more of a dictator rather than transformational leader. For the interaction among employees, they should be educated about individual variables and guided through the social psychology in work environment. Andy does not dress like Emily or Miranda due to which she gets bullied for it. Dressing choice is a personal variable. I recommend that at work place people should not be mistreated on the basis of their individual variables such as color, life-style, and creed etc. Motivation is the group of forces and agents that make people to select particular behaviors among the many substitutes available to them. Rather than forcing employees to work as Miranda does, Leaders should motivate through rewards and accolades for efficient and diligent work. Communication is one of the significant subjects of organization behavior. Effective communication is a precondition for executing administrative policies as well as for handling daily. Communication carries a lot of importance because it is only through communication that different people in an organization can be affected and motivated. We see that in the first interview Miranda does not treat Andy very well. Later, she vexes her for her clothes and shoes choice. Emily too treats Andy in a domineering way and criticizes her too often. I recommend that such a kind of communication should be adopted in organization behavior in a firm that reinforces people’s efficiency positively. As we know from Maslow’s hierarchy that people also work to satisfy their self-esteem needs. On the basis of that theory I recommend that such communicative behaviors should be adopted which does not disrupt employees’ self-esteem.

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, very component is there not for individual competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.”

-W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993), American Statistician and Author

From the detailed analysis of different position holders in Runway (The Devil wears Prada) in relation to different concepts and theories, we can infer the pervasive importance of organization behavior in the management an organization and its performance. As a multi-disciplinary field, organization behavior draws its theories and assessment methods from different sciences such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, Economics and Socio-cultural behavior. The main focus of organization studies is to improve the whole structure of performance in a company or a firm not through intuition but proper systematized thinking about different aspects. Organization behavior not only improves but predicts the directions of a company’s progress through individual assessments such as DISC assessment. It improves the communication within an organization and various interrelations such as relation between co-workers and relation between a manager and his employees. Organizational ethics influence a lot people’s performance at work place. It affects people psychologically that is why it holds greater importance in organization behavior. Apart from that organizational behavior grants sound and ethical platform for employees within a company. Organization behavior acknowledges equal importance of different components in organizational system, defines their roles, and guides their performance and motivates their work’s efficiency. It transforms an organization into an organism which works upon internal and external stimuli and copes with conflicts and challenges through adapting, adopting and adepting its responses. Quantitative and qualitative research methods, borrowed from social sciences are being employed. It provides detailed analysis of counter-work behaviors in different hierarchies and co-workers. Leadership and managerial roles are explicated to render it systematic. Individuals are studies on the basis of different motivational theories and national cultures so as to predict their performances and behaviors within an organization. I will wrap up my conclusion with the idea that organization behavior becomes more indispensible in the ever growing complicated systems of modern organizations and that it is the only reliable study and method to control and mange organizational system.

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