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Alibaba Group’s Diversity and Corporate Policies

In spite of the fact that diversity in relation to human resources is a characteristic feature of Alibaba Group that operates globally and employs an international team of workers, there are still issues associated with addressing diversity by human resource management (HRM) tools. The examination of the corporate policies and code of ethics followed by Alibaba Group indicates that the question of diversity is not regulated strictly in the company as there are many gaps in the reviewed policies. Thus, it is important to discuss weaknesses related to the corporate policies and the issues of diversity that are observed in Alibaba Group.

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The purpose of this paper is to describe issues related to documentation of the question of diversity in the code of ethics, formulation of the principle of diversity in other documents, and focusing on ethical principles and human rights. After assessing the alignment of the discussed policies with the organization’s mission, vision, and values, it is important to provide recommendations.

The first issue to discuss is the absence of the concept of diversity in the company’s code of ethics. Although the idea of cultural and functional diversity is mentioned by the corporate leaders in many statements, the principle of diversity is not described in the code of ethics to determine what behaviors can be discussed as appropriate or inappropriate in relation to the diverse workforce. This concept is also not discussed in other available corporate policies (Alibaba Group, 2014). The leaders only focus on the importance of respecting all employees and accentuating the principles of integrity and accountability.

Another issue is in the fact that describing equal opportunities and the absence of discrimination as the goal and principle in the code of ethics, the leaders accentuate the equality in merits, without accentuating any other aspect of the interactions between diverse employees. According to Pomeranz (2009), such activities of human resource managers are associated with their function of providing benefits and rewards for those employees who are productive and cooperative. Still, only the economic factor plays the key role in developing the commitment in this case, and this approach is inappropriate (Nickels, McHugh, & McHugh, 2013). From this perspective, the discussion of diversity in the code of ethics is limited in spite of accentuating this factor in other HRM statements.

The third important issue is the absence of clear statements and explanations of possible harassments and violation of human rights. Despite the effectively described procedure of reporting violations in Alibaba Group, it is rather difficult to find the information on what actions or behaviors can be regarded as violations according to the HRM and ethical statements (Alibaba Group, 2014). As a result, it is rather difficult to conclude how the prevention of violations with the help of corporate policies can be advantageous to address the issue of diversity in the company (Buller & McEvoy, 2012). It is possible to state that the code of ethics published by Alibaba Group is related to the perspective when human resource managers focus on aligning the managerial practices with the business strategies, as it is noted by Kleasen (2007), but this process can be disadvantageous for employees.

Alignment of Alibaba Group Statements with Corporate Policies

According to Alibaba Group statements, the focus of the company is on doing business globally, as it is noted in the mission statement, and on developing the wide e-commerce system while addressing customers everywhere (Alibaba Group, 2014). In addition, the company accentuates such values as the teamwork, innovation, integrity, and commitment. While analyzing the statements from the corporate policies in the context of these principles and discussing these ideas with the focus on actual claims from the company’s documentation, it is possible to state that the alignment is based on accentuating the diversity in relation to customers and employees who can follow the company’s principles globally.

Nevertheless, it is possible to note that the corporate policies and Alibaba Group statements are mainly not aligned in terms of diversity or employee treatment. The statements are oriented to customers, and their diversity is accentuated through the focus on global operations. It is possible to assume that human resource managers in Alibaba Group can manage diversity inappropriately because of the lack of required statements in corporate policies (Davidson & Stevens, 2012).

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Thus, according to Pomeranz (2009), the managers can fail to think strategically and use all resources to achieve the corporate growth. In addition, it is possible to state that Alibaba Group managers can avoid the implementation of strategic planning principles in their organization (Kleasen, 2007). Therefore, it is important to note that in spite of focusing on diversity in selecting human resources, the managers of Alibaba Group lack addressing this aspect while developing human resource strategies and formulating corporate policies. Diversity is an important factor of the company’s functioning, but it is not reflected in corporate policies appropriately.

Recommendations to Improve the Corporate Policies

In order to guarantee the better alignment of the Alibaba Group statements and the identified corporate policies, it is important to add the principle of valuing diversity to the company’s code of ethics, the company’s code of business conduct, and the company’s guidelines regarding the workplace interactions. It is recommended to define diversity for Alibaba Group in terms of cultural and functional diversity in order to provide the background for guiding the interactions between diverse employees in cross-functional teams. In addition, it is also necessary to recommend the improvement of statements.

The current Alibaba Group mission and vision are oriented to customers, and only values present the principles of cooperation in the company. Therefore, it is possible to add to the existing statements and put an emphasis on diversity in all areas. As a result, it will be possible to improve the human resource management in the company because the ethical principles of interactions will be addressed in the corporate policies directly.


In spite of the fact that Alibaba Group accentuates diversity in its operations and widely promoted messages, this aspect is poorly presented in the analyzed corporate policies. In particular, the code of ethics of Alibaba Group does not present the relevant information regarding respecting diversity and developing the human resource management in the company. Additionally, there is a lack of alignment between the corporate policies and company’s statements. Therefore, the appropriate recommendations to improve the situation are discussed.


Alibaba Group. (2014). Code of ethics. Web.

Buller, P. F., & McEvoy, G. M. (2012). Strategy, human resource management and performance: Sharpening line of sight. Human Resource Management Review, 22(1), 43-56. Web.

Davidson, B. I., & Stevens, D. E. (2012). Can a code of ethics improve manager behavior and investor confidence? An experimental study. The Accounting Review, 88(1), 51-74. Web.

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Kleasen, K. (2007). Building human resources strategic planning, process and measurement capability: Using Six Sigma as a foundation. Organization Development Journal, Chesterland, 25(2), P37-P41. Web.

Nickels, W. G., McHugh, J. M., & McHugh, S. M. (2013). Understanding business. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Web.

Pomeranz, R. (2009). The evolution of human resources directors’ responsibilities. The CPA Journal, 79(7), 12-13. Web.

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