Open Innovation as Human Resource Management Reform Strategy: A Case Study in the Xianrenling Tea Company, China


  • Cai Tang Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus
  • Dr.Niwet Arunberkfa Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus


Open Innovation, Human Resource Management Reform, XT Company


Currents trends in shared economies and globalization through the Internet make it difficult for traditional closed innovation in human resource management to maintain its claim as a valid alternative to open innovation. This difficulty is echoed in the ever-increasing number of companies seeking effective cooperation and collaborative open innovation with other organizations and personnel through two-way flow of resources and two-way transactions of intellectual property. This preference for the open approach to innovation is generally regarded as a demonstration of the voluntary reformation of human resource management and a progressive change in attitude of those who reject closed innovation.  This case study of the Xianrenling Tea Company (XTC) investigated the practice of open innovation as one way of reforming the company’s human resource management. The study’s primary aim was to gain insight into, and cast light on, the extent to which the company practiced this form of innovation as well as to ascertain the widest range of inter- agency and environmental factors that impinged on this practice. The study was quantitative in methodology and confined its search for information and data to all relevant documentary evidence. Its secondary aim was to potentially generate the construction of theory relevant to open innovation as reformative human resource management. The study found that XTC applied open innovation in terms of its organizational structure, culture, incentives, talent cross-border thinking and exchanges, facilitative relationships between employer and employees, capital gain motivations, and the overall valuing of employees as human capital and hence of value. These findings lead to the conclusions that companies like XTC gain from the positive, productive, commercial, and social output of open innovation; that further and broader research could potentially have better significance in general than the present case study was able to achieve.



Download data is not yet available.


Diaz-Kope L, Morris JC. Organisational motivation for collaboration: Theory and evidence. Lanhan, Marland: Lexington Books; 2019.

Saenz MJ. Enabling Horizontal Collaboration Through Continuous Relational Learning. Cham: Springer; 2015.

Westergren UH, Holmstrom J. Exploring Preconditions for Open Innovation: Value NetWorks in Industrial Firms. Information and Organization. 2012; 22(4): 209-226.

Chen Jin. Human Resource Management Innovation under Open Innovation [Internet]. 2018. Available from: Chinese.

Hofman PS. Supply chain collaboration and eco-innovations: An institutional perspective from China. Business Strategy and the Environment. 2020; 29(6): 2734-2754.

Baden-Fuller C, Haefliger S. Business Models and Technological Innovation. Long Range Planning. 2013; 46(6): 419-426.

Obedgiu V. Human Resource Management: historical perspectives, evolution and professional development. Journal of Management Development. 2017; 36(8): 986-990.

Anselmsson J, Bondesson N. Customer-based brand equity and human resource management image: Do retail customers really care about HRM and the employer brand?. European Journal of Marketing. 2016; 50(7/8): 1185-1208.

Schutte C, Marais S. The Development of Open Innovation Models to assist the Innovation Process. South Africa: University of Stellenbosch; 2010.

Busarovs A. Open Innovation: Current Trends and Future Perspectives. Humanities and Social Sciences: Latvia. 2013; 21(2): 103-119.

Penin J, Hussler C, Burger-Helmshen T. New shapes and new stakes: a portrait of open innovation as a promising phenomenon. Journal of Innovation Economics. 2011; 7(7): 11-29.

Von Hippel E. Open User Innovation. In: Soegaard M, Dam RF, editors. Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Aarhuis, Denmark: The Interaction Foundation; 2011.

Chesbrough H, Bogers M. Explicating open innovations: clarifying an emerging paradigm for understanding innovation. In: Chesbrough H, Vanhaverbeke W, West J. New Frontiers in Open Innovation. [n.p.]; 2014. p17.

Wang Dingding. Research on the Key Technologies for Open Collaborative Innovation Knowledge Network [MSc thesis]. Zhejiang University; 2015. Chinese.

Chen Jin, Wu Hang, Jin Jun. How companies implement open innovation: the perspective of organizational transformation. Journal of China University of Geosciences (Social Sciences Edition). 2012; (1): 74-80.

Dodgson M, Gann D, Salter A. The Role of Technology in the Shift towards Open Innovation: the Case of Procter&Gamble. R&D Management. 2010; 36(3): 333-346.

Gassmann O. Opening up the Innovation Process: towards an Agenda. R&D Management. 2010; 36(3): 223-228.

Locatelli G, Greco M, Invernizzi, DC, Gimaldi, M, Malizia, S. What about the people? Micro-foundations of open innovation in mega-projects. International Journal of Project Management. 2017; 170(2): 51-66.

Boudreau K. Open Platform Strategies and Innovation: Granting Access vs Devolving Control. Management Science. 2010; 56(10): 1849-1872.

Bogers M, Zobel A-K, Afuah A, Almirall E, Brunswicker S, Dahlander L, Frederiksen L, Gawer A, Gruber M. The open innovation research landscape: established perspectives and emerging themes across different levels of analysis and innovation. 2017; 24(1): 8-40.

Zhao Guangfeng, Ma Zhiqiang. Review and Prospects of Open Innovation Research. Science & Technology Progress and Policy. 2013; (21): 155-160. Chinese.

Enkel E, Gassmann O, Chesbrough H. Open R&D and Open Innovation: Exploring the Phenomenon. R&D Management. 2010; 39(04): 311-316.

Carroll N, Herbert M. Service capabilities within open innovation: Revisiting the applicability of capability maturity models. Journal of Enterprise Information Management. 2015; 28(2): 275-303.

Xianrenling Tea Company, China. Unpublished company brochures, reports, analyses, annual reports, employee records, official awards, and strategic plans. [n.p.]; 2018.

Yin KR. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 5th ed. California: Sage; 2013.

Thomas G. How to do Your Case Study: A Guide for Students and Researchers. California: Sage; 2011.

Mills AJ, Durepos G, Wiebe E, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. California: Sage; 2010.

Yin KR. Applications of Case Study Research. California: SAGE Publications; 2012.

Colby S, Hurwitz RA. Collaboration Theory. Journal of Leadership Education. 2014; 13(4): 63-75.

Bigliardi B, Galati V. Collaborative Modes of R&D: The New Challenges for Personnel Management. Management and Social Sciences. 2011; 2(3): 57-59.

Taylor ML, Sondergaard M. Unravelling the Mysteries of Case Study Research : A Guide for Business and Management Students. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing; 2017.

Welch C, Piekkari R, Plakoyiannaki E, Paavilainen-Mantymaki E. Theorising from case studies: Towards a pluralist future for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies. 2011; 42(5): 740-762.

Klonoski R. The case for case studies: Deriving theory from evidence. Journal of Business Case Studies. 2013; 9(3): 261-276.

Jackson G. Rethinking the case method. Journal of Management Policy and Practice. 2011; 12(5): 142-164.

Bartlett L, Vavrus F. Rethinking Case Study Research. London: Routledge; 2017.

Mills AJ, Durepos G, Wiebe E, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. California: Sage; 2010.

Ridder H-G. The theory contribution of case study research designs. Business Research. 2017; 20(2): 281-305.

Balka K, Raasch C, Herstatt C. The Effect of Selective Openness on Value Creation in User Innovation Communities. Journal of Product Innovation Management. 2014; 31(2): 392-407.

Antikainen MJ, Vaataja HK. Rewarding in Open Innovation Communities - How to Motivate Members. Entrepreneurship and Innovation on Management. 2010; 11(4): 440-456.

Fasnacht D. Open Innovation Ecosystems. Creating New Value Constellations in the Financial Services. Management for Professionals. 2018; (2): 131-172.



How to Cite

Tang, C., & Arunberkfa, D. . (2021). Open Innovation as Human Resource Management Reform Strategy: A Case Study in the Xianrenling Tea Company, China. KKU Research Journal (Graduate Studies) Humanities and Social Sciences, 9(3), 156–169. Retrieved from



บทความวิจัย (Articles)