Humanity and technology: the Haier case history

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Zhang Ruimin, ceo and chairman of the board of directors of Haier Group, was invited to speak at the last edition of the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna, management congresses that is held annually to honor the ideas of Peter Drucker. The event was focused on how businesses will change in an increasingly technology-driven economy. The main theme was “humanity” and how digital technology can be leveraged to augment human capacity. Zhang Ruimin was the only representative of Chinese industry to speak at the forum and explained to the public the Haier’s approach introduced by the company in 2005. Ten years ago, in response to the elimination of the distance between companies and customers that the Internet was bringing, Haier adopted an innovative management model that is now held up as an example of how to adapt to the changing dynamics of the Internet era. These management practices have been consolidated into a case study by the Harvard Business School entitled Haier: Zero Distance to the Customer.