Nike's Global Women's Fitness Business Driving Strategic Integration

By Robert Burgelman, Lyn Denend
2007 | Case No. SM152

In the summer of 2006, Nike announced a major corporate reorganization that would shift the company’s focus to a category-driven approach. The six major business categories were running, men’s training, basketball, soccer, women’s fitness, and sportswear. For years, Nike had organized its business around footwear, apparel, and equipment. Integration between these three business units was inconsistent at best. The goal of the reorganization was to take a more consumer-oriented approach to the market to give customers holistic collections of everything they want and need in a particular sports category. This would require the organization to breakdown its product-oriented silos and collaborate on a more formal, ongoing basis.

The reorganization also reflected a change in Nike’s corporate strategy. The elevation of women’s fitness to a major focus for the company was a substantial victory to the team that had been fighting for the increased prominence of this market segment for years. Darcy Winslow, general manager of Nike’s global women’s fitness business, and a team of individuals across the company had been working across traditional boundaries within Nike’s complex, matrixed organization to achieve the required level of cross-business integration to deliver cohesive collections of footwear, apparel, and equipment to the women’s market.

The case study focuses on Winslow and team as they tackled challenges related to product development, operations management, organization structure, reporting relationships, change management, and stakeholder buy-in. To help students consider these themes, a high level overview of the women’s market is provided, including information about the competitive landscape, the female consumer, and Nike’s earlier efforts to address the market. It also outlines the strategy proposed to Nike’s senior executive team, the planned implementation approach, and the early challenges they faced in executing the strategy.

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