First prize in the Corporate Coaching category in the EFMD Case Writing Competition, 2006

Innovation at Whirlpool - Creating a New Competency

Innovation at Whirlpool - Creating a New Competency
Case Code: HROB081
Case Length: 21 Pages
Period: 1999-2006
Pub Date: 2006
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: Whirlpool Corporation
Industry: Electricals and Electronics
Countries: USA, Europe
Themes: -
Innovation at Whirlpool - Creating a New Competency
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


This case is about the organization development (OD) initiatives undertaken at Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool) to create a new core competency in the form of building an innovation culture within the organization. In the late 1990s, Whirlpool was faced with stagnation in revenues, profits, and market share. According to analysts, this was a direct result of the stagnation in its product line due to the lack of innovative products. Whirlpool used the services of Strategos, a consultancy firm, to develop I-consultants and various I-mentors from within the organization, to form a coaching network to coach/mentor the employees and help them develop an innovation mindset.

The case discusses the various steps initiated by the top management at Whirlpool to bring about a change in the company's corporate culture and embed innovation as a core competency. Analysts felt that these efforts had borne fruit, judging by the consistent growth in Whirlpool's revenues since 2002.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the issues and challenges faced by a company in bringing about a change in organization culture
  • Appreciate the role of the senior management in culture change initiatives
  • Appreciate the importance of coaching/mentoring in changing the organizational culture and creating a core competency
  • Appreciate the use of IT for Knowledge Management and Innovation management



Whirlpool Corporation, Organizational Culture, Organization Development, Consumer-driven Innovation Model, Competitive Strategy, Leadership, Gary Hamel, Core Competency, Competitive Advantage, Strategos Consultants, Knowledge Management System, Consumer Appliance Industry, Change Management, Research and Engineering, e-learning

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