FOTILE: Building a Great Company Guided by Confucianism
(9 pages of text)
In early 2018, the chairman and chief executive officer of FOTILE, based in Ningbo, China, announced a change in the company’s mission statement from “Enable people to feel better about their homes” to “For the happiness of millions of families.” The previous year had seen impressive growth, with sales exceeding ¥10 billion. After only 22 years in operation, FOTILE had become a leading brand, comparable to such prestigious names as Siemens, in the high-end sector of kitchen appliances in China. More importantly FOTILE was hailed as a distinct enterprise, driven by a grand vision, a unique mission statement, and core values based on Confucianism. The FOTILE Confucian Way was embraced with enthusiasm by its employees and close business partners, and was broadly recognized by the Chinese business communities and the general public. However, the chairman understood that FOTILE was still a long way from being a great company, not only in terms of business success but also in transferring positive energy to society and helping people become morally admirable. Although he was deeply absorbed in FOTILE’s past achievements, he was also wondering about FOTILE’s future international expansion, to North America in particular. Would FOTILE’s products be competitive in North America? Would that continent adopt the FOTILE Confucian Way?
This case is suitable for undergraduate-, graduate-, and executive-level courses on strategic management or international business strategy. Specifically, it can be used effectively for a session on building corporate vision and a mission statement, developing corporate culture, or creating shared value. In addition, the case is suitable for a course on operating a business in China. The case provides a unique setting for illustrating how a Chinese company is trying to develop and communicate its corporate culture and progress toward its vision of becoming a great global company. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- gain or enhance an understanding of concepts such as vision, mission statement, corporate culture, and shared value;
- examine and learn about the process of building a vision, a mission statement, and a corporate culture and its corresponding impact on the company, particularly in a Chinese context;
- learn about the traditional Chinese culture, in particular Confucianism, and its influence in the corporate world in China and some other areas in Asia; and
- explore various approaches for deeply acculturated companies to make viable adaptations abroad.
China, Large, 2018
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