Open Access

A new organization’s breaking out of cocoon: Advantech’s dilemma in building a “direct marketing force”

Frontiers of Business Research in ChinaSelected Publications from Chinese Universities20115:147

Received: 12 December 2010

Published: 18 November 2011


Focusing on the recognition and resolution of conflicts between newly-created business units and existing ones, this teaching case depicts the reasons, process, and problems in Advantech’s creation and management of its direct marketing force (DMF) during the company’s changing from a multinational corporation (MNC) to a globally integrated enterprise (GIE). It also describes the designed structure and business processes of DMF, and shows the underlying conflicts among the channel sales force (CSF), key account sales force (KASF) and DMF. Also demonstrated in the case are the methods Advantech adopted to solve the conflicts, including seeking a good combination of the traditional “spider” and “starfish” models, reconciling between centralization and decentralization, creating a crossover-collaboration mechanism among different divisions, and promoting a knowledge sharing system across different regions.


multinational corporationcentralizationdecentralizationdirect marketing force