Essay on Cirque de Soleil: From Street Performers to World-Renowned Entertainment Co

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  919 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


Cirque de Soleil is a Canadian company that deals with entertainment and production. The name is French, which translates to 'Circus of the Sun.' The company was founded in 1984 by street performers, Guy Laliberte, and Gilles Ste-Croix (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). Cirque de Soleil began by organizing street performances and circuses to later developing into a fully-fledged entertainment company. Cirque de Soleil nonetheless specializes in circus performances in Quebec and has often been supported by the Canadian government through grants (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). In 2004, the company was sued for HIV-AIDS discrimination in its employment policy. A Montreal-based court ordered the company to pay $600,000 in reparations (Cohen, 2018). The court also ordered the company to revise its discriminatory policies. Other than this claim against Cirque de Soleil, the company has not had any other cases of discrimination. The company has since changed its policies to discourage any form of discrimination.

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Human Resource Management Processes

Before 2004, Cirque de Soleil had a fairly untrained human resource staff. The company was discriminatory in many ways and indeed, bore the brunt of such practices after the 2004 lawsuit. Soon after, the management set up a policy to encourage professional hiring practices. All employees were given HIV-AIDs training. The organization restructured its human resource policy to ensure that hiring staff at the organization was based on five key elements; creativity, passion, commitment, team-play, and responsibility (Bessone, 2018). These values were promoted by the organizational founders, who developed these hiring practices out of desperation. They needed to ensure that employees were committed and always available for different tasks in their entertainment shows.

The selection process was competitive. Senior management was sourced internally, and where unavailable, outside hiring was sought. The company also advertised other positions and shortlisted interviewees. Interviews with panel members then followed to determine the best candidates. Interviewees who were not shortlisted also had their resumes stored in a database for future reference and consideration (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). The recruitment of performance artists was also very important. Talent hunters would spend time around the country in different parts of the country to spot new talent. Auditions were also done to encourage new actors to take up roles in the circus arena. Recognized talents would also be added to the talent database at the headquarters in Montreal.

Upon recruitment of employees, training would follow. The company trained over seventy percent of the employees. They would be trained on how to perform in the circus as well as how to do various athletic stunts. Performers were trained to hone their skills and be creative. They were also required to show some creativity, especially with the application of their makeup and costumes. Athletes were selected from fields such as acrobatics and field events. They would then be trained on how to use facial expressions and perform various gestures while acting.

Relationship between Human Resource Processes and Organizational Structure

The human resource recruitment and training practices at Cirque de Soleil was based on the organizational structure. The organization mostly comprised of actors and performers. Supporting staff were also educated and experienced in the field of film production and directing. There were also other employees in stage setting, makeup artistry, and scriptwriting. Since the organization was a film and production company, the employees were also established as actors (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). The bias in the employment of actors was also imminent. The company's founders were both circus actors. The employees who followed since have had some experience acting or working in the entertainment sector.

The influence of circus performance, acting, and acrobatics on the structure of the organization was also imminent. The company, for instance, hired staff who were talent recruiters. These persons would scout for performers who were fire eaters, mimes, and acrobatics (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). Some trainers would also train different athletes and turn them into actors. The company was very committed to ensuring that every member of the organization would participate in roadshows as well. The organizational structure was thus highly designed to encompass and accommodate performers who would participate in roadshows. It was also important for the employees to feel accepted by the larger workforce community, hence had to have an artistic culture in them. Such a culture would help them in the roadshows that were often away from home.

Summary of Human Resource at Cirque de Soleil

The 2004 lawsuit at the organization changed a lot about how the company began managing the workforce. The management put measures in place to ensure that there would never be a repeat of the embarrassment they faced (Pawar & Gupta, 2007). Therefore, the management sought to improve their treatment of employees as well as the design of a transparent and all-inclusive workforce. The use of information technology at Cirque de Soleil was highly encouraged by the different number of employees seeking different roles in the organization. Their resumes were stored in data banks that would help the company recruit better in subsequent recruitment exercises. The organizational culture was also managed to accommodate people from different backgrounds, indiscriminately. These practices meant that no further lawsuits would befall the company again.


Bessone, I. (2018). Contemporary Circus Careers: Labour Relations and Normative Selfhood in the Neoliberal Scenario. Performance Matters, 4(1-2), 99-103. Retrieved from

Cohen, A. (2018). Social Circus: Developing Structures for Program Efficacy in the United States. Performance Matters, 4(1-2), 134-140. Retrieved from

Pawar, M., & Gupta, V. (2007). Cirque du Soleil's Human Resource Management Practices. ICMRCenter for Management Research.

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Essay on Cirque de Soleil: From Street Performers to World-Renowned Entertainment Co. (2023, Mar 02). Retrieved from

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