Canyou Group: Creating a Sustainable Social Enterprise

Byron Y. Lee, Liman Zhao, Peter Moran

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This case traces the development of Canyou Group over 22 years, starting from its origins as a small computer interest club in 1997 to an organization consisting of a foundation, 14 non-for-profit firms, and 42 for-profit companies, two of which are listed. As Canyou developed, the mission of the founder, Weining Zheng, remained crucial to decision-making. He wanted to prove the worth of disabled persons by showing that they can create value and gain approval from the market. Canyou faced three critical strategic decisions during its formation, which were key to determining this social enterprise's development. By making decisions in line with its mission, Canyou showed how it evolved to find success utilizing disabled employees to create value for the firm. In understanding Canyou's success, the firm has built complementary assets focused on its employees. Specifically, it developed a unique human resource system that captures the needs of employees and a corporate culture that supports them. Moreover, it designed a supporting structure with its "Three-in-One" model to help Canyou support the disabled while generating profits and contributing to its mission, resulting in a virtuous cycle. This case provides an opportunity to analyze Canyou's decisions during its development. Specifically, the case allows students to consider both the external and internal activities that a firm with this unique mission should explore and, more importantly, what activities it should reject. After discussing these decisions, the case provides an opportunity to analyze how the mission created complementary assets geared towards disabled employees, leading to a source of sustained competitive advantage. Finally, this case discusses Canyou's future challenges. While the case protagonist Weining Zheng understood that Canyou had a solid foundation, he needed to consider how it could build on disabled people's value while increasing its success after he left the firm (and this world).
已出版 - 1 5月 2022






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