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Analyse & Evaluate The Leadership Theory & Concept of Alibaba Group

University: University of Cambridge

  • Unit No: 6
  • Level: Post Graduate/University
  • Pages: 12 / Words 3087
  • Paper Type: Assignment
  • Course Code: HR6002
  • Downloads: 466
Question :

Learning outcomes-

  1. Discuss various theories of leadership
  2. What are the competing positions regarding the ethics of leadership.
  3. Do a critical evaluation of the case studies of organisational leadership
  4. Conduct a critical reflection on their own experience of leadership (that can be as a formal leader or as a participant)
  5. What are distinct leadership styles and also offer an understanding of why different leadership style be effective
  6. Show an ability to reflect on their own practice in working with others and also highlight the way in which it is developed

Requirements of the project-

  1. Provide the critical reflection of your own experience of leadership Nd also recommend certain areas of your own development that will comprise of an action plan (1500 words). In this context represent LO4 and 6
  2. Making use of leadership theory and concepts in the analysis and inspection of leadership of Jack Ma Founder of Alibaba Group (1500 words). Represent LO1,2,3,5


Emphasize on one or two particular experience of leadership that is consider that either you are at leader’s position or you observe leadership in action when you are not a leader. The experience here came out from your own work experience or other. Here you will make a brief description of the situation and evaluation of the leadership process by making use of appropriate theory and concepts that came out from the academic literature on leadership. Offer a reflection on the gained leadership experience. In suggestion section, draw your own development, the skills on which focus is required. In appendix portion attach a development plan as a proof of improvement of leadership


In this section the focus will be on critical evaluation of leadership of Jack Ma Founder of Alibaba Group. Take into consideration the effectiveness of Jack Ma leadership qualities that came to view from the perspectives of leadership theories. The essay can include certain theories like trait and behavioural theories, situational and contingency theory, transformational and transactional leadership, distributed leadership, ethical leadership and critical leadership perspectives

Do read widely on theories of leadership, styles of leadership and critical leadership, and apply these critically to Jack Ma. You are also required to incorporate a regard for the ethics of leadership. It is crucial that you read sources relating to Jack Ma’s leadership style and align them to the leadership theories we have explored on the module so that you can form your own argument in relation to how theories of leadership apply to Jack Ma’s leadership.

Answer :
Organization Selected : Alibaba Group


Leadership refers to the method of directing and influencing large number of individuals with the assistance of which they can attain confidence, respect, loyalty, corporation and many more in order to accomplish organisational goals and objectives. Therefore, leadership refers to the capability of an individual which help in guiding large number of followers within the company. It is very essential for the leaders to adopt changes in an effective manner, so that they can beat the level of competition available at the marketplace. The present report is categorised into two main tasks in which 1st task is about the reflection of leaders based on its experience along with the suggestions in order to improve various areas. On the other hand, second section of this report is based on how leadership theory and concept is used to analyse & evaluate the leadership of the founder of Alibaba Group.

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Critical reflection on the experiences of leadership as well as suggestions for the improvement areas.

It has been analysed that as a leader when I was working in an organisation, I have observed that top authorities and management team provide task as per the capabilities and skill of individual. While doing work as a leader I have organised and manage ample number of meetings in order to upgrade potential and knowledge of each and every team member so that they can achieve organisational goals and objectives within given time period. I have observed that my communication skills were excellent and effective which help me in sharing information with my team mates and colleagues at the time of meetings in an effective manner. It is very important for a leader to have effective communication skills as it will help them in performing all the business functions in an effective manner. It has also been experienced by me that effective communication help me in sharing required information with the staff members so that targets will be achieved within given time frame. Apart from this, while leading the whole team I have observed that there are different issues and challenges which affects the performance of each and every team member. Therefore, it is required by the me to examine the whole situation and develop effective solutions to resolve all such issues. It has also been observed by me that team work is one of the most crucial factor which need to be consider by a leaders in order to perform all the functions in an effective manner. Success of an organisation is totally depends upon the performance of each & every team member working within the organization. Apart from this, it has also been said that I have one effective feature which is my potentiality to see positive things in every situation. Which as a result help me in order to motivate others to do all the work in an appropriate manner and within given time frame. For this, I have adopted democratic leadership style in which I have the final responsibilities to take action. This leadership help me in order to communicate with each and every individual associated with the task. Along with this, I have given all the rights, authorities and power to the people so that they involve in all the functions which help me in taking final decision. There are high changes of getting new and innovative ideas and thoughts in order to produce positive results within given time frame and increase the level of commitment among team members.

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When I was implementing all my leadership roles while working with team mates, there are various issues and hurdles observed by me which are related with the changes within workplace or work practices. For this, I have chose transactional leadership style which mainly focuses on the outcome produced in an effective manner. The leadership style helped me in focusing more towards setting visions for winning aspects of group members along with providing them directions so that they can accept changes that are made for their development. Within this, I explained them the positive impacts of the changes which influenced them in accepting new systems, work schedule and structure and they started performing tasks by using the new practices. Within transactional leadership, I found the effectiveness when I successfully developed supportive relationships within the group members despite of using the concept to use rewards or incentives for motivating people so that they accept changes. In addition, this leadership style benefited me in improving engagement of individual with work and others on the basis of trust. This leaded in enhancing extrinsic together with intrinsic motivation among group members for accomplishing objectives by trusting each other addition to sharing their valuable opinions and thoughts whenever needed. According to me, with implementation of such leadership, I developed reinforcing environment at the organisation wherein objectives of teams were in synch. While executing my role in this leadership, I experienced that I failed various time to manage information transparency with team mates.

While taking leadership roles for guiding team mates, various situations arises that needed aspects to fill gap for new possibilities requirements in context to practicality requirements. To fulfil such requirements, I preferred implementing strategic leadership style in which first I expressed strategic vision to team mates and persuaded them to acquire those visions. With this style, I provided the necessary valuables that were expected by the team mates while implementing new practicality for leading addition to directions. The circumstances that needs new changes together with suitable practical solution generally includes strategic thinking. Through this style, I made logical together with confident decisions at the time directing people. The style not only helped me in solving daily issues but also guided me for planning tomorrow or for future. I made strategic decisions that ensured people that the ongoing issues will will nor re occur in the coming time frame that made the implementation of the leadership more effective. Through thinking more strategically, I gained insights about the current happenings and happening that may occur in future duration which guided me for making adjustments with workings and timetables as per the current or upcoming happenings. While implementing this style, I analysed that various circumstances requires enhancement of work autonomy among team mates and for this, more emphasis was made by me to provide work autonomy among them in which minimum supervision was provided to the team mates for executing work by me. Through this, I created a scenario of autonomy atmosphere and aided responsibilities that showed empowerment within team and members. At same time, it resulted in less controlling.

Problem solving at organisation is not individual activity made for leader as it requires involvement of many people to discuss the problem and share viewpoints or thoughts so to reach on effective solution. For this, I reacted by using path goal theory in which direction to team mates is provided by using varying mechanisms. It provided me the opportunity to perform distinct roles for enhancing involvement of each member to solve ongoing problem through laying down thoughts or opinions for particular path rather than dismissing others viewpoints. This help me in using distinct path that needs trod so to get the team mates working for completion of project through soliciting solutions together with rewards. In my teenage, I did not went to attend any development sessions or programmes to enhance problem solving skills, but I analysed that development programmes have necessary position in processing creative techniques along with collaborative skills that are necessary for leadership strategies. At the time of executing wide leadership roles, I had ability to improve problem solving among my group members as it was my responsibility to develop it. Team mates came to me with their various problems, at the time I listen their problems and asked them to provide me suggestions about what they have done in place of me. This not only helped in solving their problems but also improved my personal problem solving techniques. Furthermore, in various circumstances, I took back step to intervene in interpersonal conflicts among team mates. With path goal theory, I changed my styles according to conditions and involved employee characteristics which modified behaviour together with relationship among team mates and helped me in clarifying their working path to analyse situations so that their journey for accomplishing projects was easier as it reduced various roadblocks with pitfalls. Thus, implementing leadership styles accordance to the circumstances as well as solving things effectively resulted in making my leadership more effective.

Developmental areas

From my experience in working in the organisation as team leader, I analysed needs to develop various areas so to boost my leadership. I analysed by weakness at the time I worked with team mates that needs more development. For this, the some of the suggestions for development areas are transparency attributes addition to communication skills. According to my experience, I analysed that my communication skills were lacking at various points and it was much needed to improve. At same time, mu attribute for transparency also have requirements for development as the information shared by me was restricted to some people which creates situations of confusion among team mates that wither they should emphasis on the information or they should neglect it. For improving the areas, I prepared personal development plan which benefited me to execute tasks for developmental aspects. In context to improving communication skill, more focus will be made on attending sessions and following open door practices within the company. At same time, to improve transparency attribute I will focus on sharing essential information with all the team mates.

Use of leadership theory in context of Alibaba Group

Leadership is the process of motivating any individual and encourage them to perform well in the organization in order to achieve desired goals & objectives. In the business environment, there are various successful leaders who follow the various leadership styles or theories in the organizations (A. Duignan2014)). This report based on the critical evaluate of Jack Ma's leadership styles who is founder of Alibaba Group. Jack Ma is the best example of effective leadership because they have various quality which make them effective as well as successful leaders in the current market. Jack Ma has excellence communication skill, inter personal skill, empowerment, honesty, enthusiasm regarding their work, passionate etc. This person follow the various leadership styles or theories such as behavioural, transformational, situational contingency, distributed, ethical etc. It helps the Jack Ma to perform their task or achieve the desired outcomes. Founder of Alibaba has great sense which influence as well as inspire others to push their limits or achieve their goals. In order to become a good or influencing leader, person need to follow as well as implement leadership styles in order to maximise operational efficiency of business (Bolden, 2016). In order to grow in the market, leaders should be honest and loyal regarding their work and have to build some leadership qualities. Jack Ma give their efforts to enhance the living standards of their staff members or generate great opportunity for the community through generating employment. In order to improve the individual performance in their organization, leaders has to follow the punishment or reward policy. It will encourage employees as well as create fair of doing any wrong activity in the organizations.

By using various leadership styles, leaders can gains the various advantages through supervising people and pay attention through monitoring their performance on regular basis (Dartey-Baah, 2015). There are various leadership styles which implement by the Jack Ma in their organization or make Alibaba such as competitive firm in the market. Transformational leadership creates high performance workforce for its employees. It is found at all levels of the organization such as teams,departments, divisions. Their are four types of transformational leadership. Which are inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence and individualized consideration. The foundation of it is the promotion of consistent vision,mission and set of values to its members. It is followed by the Alibaba Group in order to empower their staff members or make them capable to make their own decisions or face the challenges if occur at the time of performing their duty (Frost, 2014). It will enhance the individual performance as well as productivity which further help the organization to maximise their products demand in the market as well as revenue of the company. Jack Ma manage their staff members effectually through implementing transformational leadership style which influence the individuals to achieve desired results. There are various phases comes where Alibaba company face critical situations which can further impact the production as well as profitability. Jack Ma use their key resources in order to face the difficult situations as well as they follow situational leadership style which refers to those leaders who adopt different types of leadership according to different situation. It is a beneficial for the team as leader is having different through process as a team. It has two behaviour one is management other is support. Management behaviour is what, when and how tasks are performed (Godfrey, 2016). Whereas supportive behaviour is for team development. Here Jack Ma analyse the situations and make their strategies accordingly which include the employees contribution and their suggestions that how better they can resolve this issues. It is the best quality of Jack Ma is to involve their employees in their decision making process and ask for their opinion that how they resolve this problems of they have ability to so this (Higgs and Dulewicz 2016). Leaders has to analyse the situations and implement the suitable solutions for them.

There are some effective leadership qualities which CEO of Alibaba have such as flexibility in their work according to the situations, able to adopt changes, provide proper guidance, have clear vision etc. Organization get the various benefits through measuring needs of individuals, develop comfortable working environment for the staff members as well as provide various training to enhance their skills and competencies. Situational leadership style is beneficial for the leaders to implement and gain the advantage from it (Hristov and Zehrer, 2015). On the other hand, it has some disadvantage as well because they only consider to focus on immediate needs or situations which impact the organization not for those challenges which can affect the production as well as profitability in the long term.

Distributed leadership is more focused on the designated organisation roles for its leaders. Here it is considered as a group quality ignoring the individual roles. It uses a group approach to its strategy and goals. It does not equal delegation instead it relies upon dialogue between levels of responsibility. In context of CEO of Alibaba that is Jack Ma who follow this leadership style that is based on mobilising expertise which generate huge future opportunities for the products and provide the improvement capability in order to maximise the productivity as well as profitability of the organizations (Leitch and Volery 2017). Here Jack Ma focus on team work and they ensure that each and every member of the team should follow the common goals which helps in improving individual as well as entire operational performance. Leaders has to motivate people in order to achieve their goals & objectives but along with they have to encourage whole team as well as provide guidance to complete their group task.

In addition, Jack Ma also follow the ethical leadership style in their organization and make sure that it will be implemented by the each members of the company. Ethical leadership is concerned about the values and morals a individual have for its organisation. It has two main things, first is actions and behaviour of leaders and secondly the personality and character of leaders (Macdonald, Burke and Stewart, 2018). Ethics are an essential to leadership to perform its duties in the organisation in order to perform their task ethically which provide them huge success as well as suitability in the market for longer period. In context of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma follow the ethical leadership style as well which positively impact the organizations. It is one of the best quality to perform their task in ethical manner which make them capable to survive or become good example for their followers (Mahembe and Engelbrecht, 2014). Jack Ma focus on positive workplace environment and it will possible when they follow all the rules & regulations of the business in well manner. 

Basically above mention all the leadership styles or quality are important for a leaders in order to improve their working condition (Swanwick and McKimm 2017). As well as make business able to get high performance as well as productivity in terms of high revenue. Effective use of leadership styles will encourage individual to perform task in well manner.

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The above discussion concludes that in an organisation, leadership plays essential role to influence manpower for huge efficiency addition to performance through effective human relations. With this function, manpower's efficiency is maximised to attain goals on predetermined time frame. Leaders analyses that employees are facing many problems while working at organisation and provides them suitable solutions. Organisational leaders have wide roles such as creating confidence, providing guidances, building suitable culture and stimulating people at workplace. Leaders gains diverse experiences at the time they perform their roles addition to implement leadership styles. Key leadership theories that successful leaders apply are situational theory, ethical leadership and transformational theory. 

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  • A. Duignan, P., 2014. Authenticity in educational leadership: history, ideal, reality. Journal of Educational Administration. 52(2). pp.152-172.
  • Bolden, R., 2016. Leadership, management and organisational development. In Gower handbook of leadership and management development (pp. 143-158). Routledge.
  • Dartey-Baah, K., 2015. Resilient leadership: A transformational-transactional leadership mix. Journal of Global Responsibility. 6(1). pp.99-112.
  • Frost, J., 2014. Values based leadership. Industrial and commercial training. 46(3). pp.124-129.
  • Godfrey, D., 2016. Leadership of schools as research-led organisations in the English educational environment: Cultivating a research-engaged school culture. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. 44(2). pp.301-321.
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