Haier: Organizing to Build Smart Products

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Sometime last year, I worked with Professors Michael Lee and Wesley Koo on the development of a teaching case on Haier and its Rendanheyi model. The case was recently published by INSEAD — one of the world's leading (and largest) business schools. Check it out.

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The case, titled "Haier: Organizing to Build a Smart Ecosystem Brand," describes the recent evolution of Haier’s radically decentralized, market-based organizing model known as Rendanheyi.

In the case, we explore how the latest evolution of the Rendanheyi model supports Haier’s newest strategy of creating a platform ecosystem of interconnected products and services that adapt intelligently to a user's needs.

Teaching objectives

The teaching case introduces students to key topics in both organizational design and tech ecosystems.

On INSEAD's website, we advocate that the case can be used in the following settings:

  • A core course on organizational behavior to highlight traditional organization design concepts, such as the link between strategy and structure, and the trade-offs between internal competition and collaboration while exploring less hierarchical forms of organizing.

  • A specialized class on organizational design to explore radically decentralized organizational designs that incorporate market dynamics within the boundaries of a traditional firm, and the related benefits and tensions that arise.

  • A strategy core course and electives on technology strategy to teach ecosystem strategy, where the prime objective is to understand how different technologies work together to deliver a coherent experience for the end user, and how an ecosystem leader galvanizes complementors (both external and internal) to make that happen.

  • A marketing class, to teach the novel concept of ecosystem brands where companies utilize a combination of products and services to create a joint value proposition.

Interested to learn more about the case? Take a look at INSEAD's website and check out our teaching case.

Corporate Rebels Academy

Haier and its Rendanheyi model is also a key case at our own Corporate Rebels Academy. Check it out!.

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