Hailing a New Era: Haier in Japan (A) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Founded in 1984 by Zhang Ruimin, current CEO of the business, Haier has rapidly grown to an international leader in home appliances, from a little fridge plant in Qingdao, China. As among the most valuable brands in China, Haier makes designs and sells various home appliances including refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines in over 100 countries. Since 2006, its international presence has vigorously expanded, planning to turn each brand that was localized into a mainstream product in its specific marketplace. Haier had always promoted a performance-driven culture highlighting individual duty and meritocracy.

Recently, Haier developed a management system consisting of an inverted organizational triangle with self-managed units. This construction put employees in direct contact with clients and empowered them to take initiative to serve the marketplace instead of reacting to orders from a supervisor. Furthermore, if their performance was not inferior, young talent might be readily promoted to higher positions than more-tenured colleagues. Nonetheless, Haier confronted the challenge of this system being at odds with the Japanese custom of lifelong employment, seniority and equality. Hence, Japanese workers had difficulty not only understanding but also executing this innovative system.

PUBLICATION DATE: November 22, 2012 PRODUCT #: IES340-HCB-ENG

This is just an excerpt. This case is about LEADERSHIP & MANAGING PEOPLE

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