Since it was founded, Alibaba has presented a valuable avenue for businesses, manufacturers and suppliers from across the globe can connect easily regardless of their backgrounds and barriers. The roles of power at Alibaba draws its influence from the top leadership. Alongside Jack Ma, the board of directors is composed of other ten quite essential members who offer leadership roles in its operations.
Currently, Jack Ma is the Executive Chairman, Joseph Tsai is the Executive Vice Chairman, Masayoshi Son, and Eric Xiandong are directors, Jerry Yang, Chee Hwa Tung, Wan Ling Martello, Walter The Ming and Borje Ekholm are Independent Directors, Daniel Yong is the Chief Executive Officer (Jung, Ugboma & Liow, 2015). However, the company has operated as a partnership in various approaches since it created the Alibaba Partnership in 2010 (Frick, 2014). Its committees entail various managers from the Alibaba Group and other companies. The strategy is to allow the executives to emphasize the sustainability, long-term collaborations as well as eliminate bureaucracy.
Alibaba's organizational structure has been changed severally over the past years and as Jack Ma posits, change is geared towards enhancing the company's performance to get stability. "2018 central platform structure" was established in 2015 to focus on 'big central platform and small front desk' (Jung, Ugboma & Liow, 2015). All employees at the company received a letter from the CEO in the year 2015 detailing this structure which would see the company adapt to the dynamics of the markets.
Firstly, the central platform group was created which comprised sharing, product and searching business units and data technology. Zhang Jianfeng was to report directly to Yong Zhang. The e-commerce business unit of Alibaba was to be led by Zhang Yong. The Alibaba control unit was established to guide e-commerce management matters such as safeguarding intellectual property, credit speculation, and many more (Jung, Ugboma & Liow, 2015). The commerce unit was also modernized to increase the operational capacity of traders.
It is imperative to note that Jack Ma has been quite monumental to the company. He has portrayed charisma in his leadership which has gone a long way to influence the employees. This form of referent power has been derived from his interpersonal relations that he has established with other people in the firm. Due to the admiration and respect, the employees have for him, he has been a top leader in empowering other individuals to take up leadership roles. He has consistently indicated key priorities to be globalization, big data, and growth of economies.
Analyze How This Relationship Created Corporate Culture
The company's corporate culture has not only been built on leadership relations but also the six core values which are teamwork, customer-oriented priority, transformation, integrity, commitment, and passion. These values are vital in the workers' performance appraisals and they guide the mode of operations in the company. Through multiple channels of internal correspondence, the company has created a platform for employees to maintain effective interactions. They are inclusive of roundtable forums, open mailbox, in-house magazine, news forum on the intranet. These platforms have been used by the company's executive and workers to convey information and relay feedback.
Since its inception, the leaders have played integral roles in building the corporate culture. They have continuously promoted a slogan, 'work passionately, live fully', which basically has shaped the employees' attitude towards work which leads a good life. During the annual employee activities, the employees get to meet top management of the company, interact and gain great insight into the leadership of the organization. Some activities and celebrations help enrich employees' activities and propel corporate progress include Ali-Guinness, Ali-Arts Festival, and anniversary celebrations.
Another characteristic that has influenced the corporate culture is the element of family unity. For instance, a mass wedding was an activity which offered support to employees. Moreover, the firm established its own mortgage fund pool in 2011 which was termed as iHome. The employees have benefited from this interest-free loan fund to grow individually. The company offered close to 4,000 employees over $140 million of loans with leniency in payments (Shao, 2014). This fund has boosted the morale of the employees and enhanced their capacity to work.
Jack Ma's contribution toward building the corporate culture for engagement is invaluable. He has offered the employees generous shares which makes them feel part of the success story. He identified a common goal and united them. His tenacity and the clear vision for Alibaba and general life makes people around him inspired towards achieving goals (Sattar, 2017). As such, he has incorporated culture development as part of the business hiring from various cultures to contribute their unique skills to the success of the company.
Emphatically, Alibaba is open to diverse criticism. Via its open internal communication platform, employees can offer feedback and critics of the departments in a genuine and respectful manner. The company uses these criticisms to rapidly grow and correct their mistakes. The corporate culture makes the workers feel comfortable and self-confident when presenting their views which leads to an enabling team environment and thus more innovative concepts.
Frick, W. (2014). The secret to Alibaba's culture is Jack Ma's apartment. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-3.
Jung, J. C., Ugboma, M. A., & Liow, A. K. (2015). Does Alibaba's magic work outside China?. Thunderbird International Business Review, 57(6), 505-518. doi:10.1002/tie.21739.
Sattar, S. (2017). Leadership qualities, skills and style of Jack Ma. Retrieved from http://www.gotabout.info/leadership-qualities-skills-styles-jack-ma/.
Shao, H. (2014). A peek inside Alibaba's corporate culture. Forbes.Com, 4.
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