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女:海尔已经为应对金融危机做好了哪些准备? 男:海尔应对金融危机的具体思路主要是三个方面:一是产品创新,要为用户提供解决问题的方案;二是商业模式创新,要实施零库存下的即需即供;三是机制创新,要建立人单合一的自主经营体。

I'm struggling a bit with this last one, can you please help?

机制创新,要建立人单合一的自主经营体 (营体=运营体系? 单=单位??)

Mechanism?? innovation, must set up 人单 united 的 independent business system

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According to here, it should be 三是机制创新,要建立人单合一的自主经营体。.

机制创新 : innovation of mechanism/system
: staff/employee
单(订单) : order -> user needs
人单合一 : integrating order with personnel -> Every order is in the charge of one staff. Futher more integrating staff with user, make staff to achieve self-worth by creating value for users.
自主 : autonomous/independent/self-determination/self-leading
经营体 : operation unit
自主经营体 : (to make every staff one) independent operation unit

For whole sentence,
Thirdly, mechanism innovation, set up independent operation unit, which integrating order with personnel.

Reference: 人单合一双赢模式

  • Yeah, sorry about the 2 typos. Should be: 三是机制创新,要建立人单合一的自主经营体。 I still do not really understand what they mean. Can you rephrase please? Something like: Thirdly, innovative mechanisms, (we) must set up personnel (or should it be 'customer'??) workplace united 的 (but) independent business systems.?? – Pedroski Jan 9 '15 at 2:39
  • @Pedroski Answer fixed. Is it clear to you now? – songyuanyao Jan 9 '15 at 3:19
  • Sorry, but I still don't really get it. Below it says 单 is 订单。 If that is correct, we have 人订单。Who are 人? The staff will not 订单,that would be the customer, or am I totally confused? Maybe you could rewrite the sentence using other, or more words to make the meaning clear. – Pedroski Jan 9 '15 at 23:59
  • @Pedroski 人 is staff, 单 is order. But 人单 doesn't mean the staff makes order, it's 人和订单(staff and order). So 人单合一 can be literally translated as make staff and order unity. – songyuanyao Jan 10 '15 at 1:45
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I suppose the 硬体 is correct and is not a typo of 营体.

机制创新 where 创新 is used as a noun. As in many other languages including english, putting two nouns together modify one of the nouns to be related or pertain to the other. Here, it means 创新 pertaining to the 机制, which means innovation in mechanisms(as in business systems, protocols, bureaucracy structure, etc. whatever abstract structure in business).

人单合一 where 人 is person, and 单 short for 单位 is unit. 单位 has long been used to mean the company/organisation that one works for. Therefore 人单合一 would mean unity of organisations and employees.

硬体 hardware is often used as a metaphor to refer to infrastructure, instruments and production systems. This is only used in industry, social development(and thus politics), business and related fields.

In conclusion, the whole sentence roughly means:
三是机制创新,要建立人单合一的自主硬体
"Third is the innovation of *mechanisms, to construct infrastructures/production systems that can bring unity in the organisation and its employees."

  • The tendency to abbreviate phrases into a single character - 单位 to 单 - just so it flows better in a 4-character phrase, is something I find especially annoying with contemporary Chinese. It requires knowledge of vocabulary (that 人单 is probably not a word) and context (that 单 is short for 单位), something especially hard for language learners. I suppose people use it to give them a false sense of profundity. – congusbongus Jan 9 '15 at 0:26
  • @congusbongus As a Chinese myself I think that is very annoying too. Many words are actually okay, as they might have a less ambiguous meaning. Here 单 would mean single instead of organisation, so I think it is unacceptable. I think a reason that people do this is that some Chinese just can't resist 4-character phrases, because they sound like idioms. I occasionally like to abbreviate things to 4 words too, but only in cases where the single characters have clear and easily inferred meanings, often the original meanings of those characters which have fallen out of use as single-character words – busukxuan Jan 9 '15 at 0:32
  • Ah well, I am not paranoid, but I know why the Chinese shorten everything: quite simply to confound me! Thanks for the answers, sorry about the typo in the title! – Pedroski Jan 9 '15 at 1:18
  • 单 is not short for 单位. After reading some references, 单 refers to 订单 but in a more generalized sense (baike.com/wiki/…), in which sense, abbreviating into single character is actually acceptable. – NS.X. Jan 9 '15 at 3:09
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Got this from another forum, originally from Baidu,

人单合一(双赢模式):

“人”即员工,“单”是用户需求,不是狭义的订单。“人单合一”即让员工与用户融为一体。而“双赢”则体现为员工在为用户创造价值的过程中实现自身价值。

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This 人单合一 is just a slogan created from no where, by the Haier company, If you are not planning to pursue a job opportunity from this company, figuring this "人单合一"'s meaning out is just waste of time :-) I think this comes out from the pacific word 天人合一 which have a very deep philosophical meaning first used by Zhuangzi.

Chinese is my spoken language, I don't even know what it means before searching the internet.

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