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Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier Has Changed the Way Big Companies Transform

ISBN: 978-1-118-60223-2
304 pages
April 2013, Jossey-Bass
Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier Has Changed the Way Big Companies Transform (1118602234) cover image


A compelling profile of an emerging Chinese competitor

Chinese firms are reinventing their business models, their corporate cultures, and themselves, becoming global competitors who increasingly offer knowledge rather than cheap labour in their quest to join the ranks of the "world's best" companies. This book offers a compelling profile of the most ambitious of these emerging Chinese competitors, the Haier Corporation (the world's largest manufacturer of home appliances), and shares insights on how one organization has repeatedly reinvented its business model and corporate culture in an effort to sustain its success.

Reinventing Giants provides an exclusive look within the Haier Corporation and shows how managerial accountability and responsibility have been repositioned at every level of the organization, with the core value of market-centricity, while aligning strategy on each level of management. It includes actual work reports that show this process in detail from the ground up. The authors emphasize how a belief in the liberation of employee talent has consistently been the driving force underlying Haier's success.

  • Includes the remarkable story of Haier's turnaround and how these lessons can be applied to other organizations
  • Contains information for any company grappling with competition in the global marketplace
  • Shows how to liberate employees' talent to drive business success
  • Written by Bill Fischer, Professor of Innovation Management at IMD in Switzerland, Umberto Lago, Professor of Management at Bologna University, Italy, and Fang Liu, Research Associate of IMD

Reinventing Giants helps global managers rethink their own business models and accompanying corporate cultures in order to be able to apply Haier's lessons directly to their own organizations.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Alexander Osterwalder

1. Moving a Company with the Times: What Makes Haier Unique? 1

2. The Battle field: The Home Appliance Industry in the West and China 17

3. The Story of Haier and the Evolution of Its Corporate Culture 43

4. Liberating Talent: Tapping the Entrepreneurial Spirit 81

5. Building a Corporate Culture for the Twenty-First Century 109

6. Haier as a High Performer 147

7. A True Hybrid: How to Fashion a Strategically Agile Organization 175

8. A True Disrupter: How Embracing Change Creates Value 211

Postscript: While We Were Writing . . . 227

Appendix: How ZZJYTs Work 233

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Author Information

Bill Fischer is a professor of innovation management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Formerly he was executive president and dean of the China-Europe International Business School in Shanghai and the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Professor of Business at the Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He writes The Ideas Business blog for Forbes.com.

Umberto Lago is associate professor of Management at Bologna University in Italy. He has been, at different stages of his life (often simultaneously): a university professor, private and public manager, entrepreneur,andconsultant.He is a member of UEFA Club Financial Control Body.

Fang Liu is a research associate at IMD. Her research focuses on fields such as management innovation, marketing, and global business.

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Press Release

April 17, 2013
China’s Global Success Story: New book reveals Haier’s unique innovation, strategy and leadership

When it comes to success as a global corporation; bigger, faster and cheaper is not always better. Instead of falling into the trap of continuing current practices only with more efficiency and on larger scale, a company must continually reinvent itself if it wishes to succeed in the global market. In China, firms are doing just that: reinventing their business models, their corporate cultures and themselves to become global competitors and join the ranks of the "world's best" companies.

One of the most ambitious of these emerging Chinese competitors, the Haier Corporation has grown from a struggling refrigerator factory to the world's largest manufacturer of home-appliances.

In Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier Has Changed the Way Big Companies Transform (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-60223-2; April 2013), authors Bill Fischer, Umberto Lago and Fang Liu provide an exclusive look within the Haier Corporation and reveal how the giant company of 70,000 employees transformed itself through repeated reinvention and embracing the contradictions of being both structured and entrepreneurial, disciplined yet flexible, tactical and strategic, all at the same time. The authors explore three decades of choices linked by a common vision that enabled Haier to achieve five main characteristics responsible for the company’s success:

• Innovative: Haier exhibits cutting-edge innovation in their products, business model, and corporate culture.

• Fast:Haier acts more quickly than competing companies.

• Customer-centric: Haier effectively communicates with customers and takes action based on their input.

• Talent engine: Haier attracts and unlocks talent.

• Leadership: Haier’s possesses the high-quality leadership essential for success.

Incorporating actual work reports and author Liu’s “on the ground” experience working at Haier, the book helps managers rethink their own business models, and accompanying corporate cultures, equipping them to apply the lessons of Haier directly to their own organizations and become formidable global competitors.

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