Due to the rapid development of the internet and digital technologies that occurred over the first decade of the 21st century, the businesses that rely on these two resources have outstanding benefits in the forms of unlimited opportunities for the maximization of the customer base, growth, and image recognition. The company I would like to review in this paper is Alibaba Group, an e-commerce organization based in China.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited specializes on the online trades accomplished by means of mobile services and the internet. The company is located in China, however; it serves to the customers from all around the world. Initially, when the business just started to operate, Alibaba was focused on the goal of provision of the small domestic businesses of China with an opportunity to grow and expand internationally. The company is led by an objective to organize and offer marketplaces for the wholesalers and retailers (Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), n.d.).
Leadership and Values
In 1999, Alibaba Group was founded by a group of 18 people with an outstanding and unique person in charge – Jack Ma, one of the most discussed leaders of the contemporary world (The History & Timeline of the Alibaba Group, 2014). As a leader, Jack Ma is a visionary, and his style is often compared to that of Steve Jobs. Ma has a reputation of a quirky individual whose ideas are truly brilliant. Originally a teacher of English, he went a long way becoming a world renowned businessman who was inspired by the invention of the internet. Today, Jack Ma is one of the richest people in the world (Zakkour, 2014).
The main features of Ma’s leadership style are his embrace of innovation, his persistence (this feature is specific to all of the well-known business leaders), and his reliance on the strongest team of executives available (Zakkour, 2014). The careful selection of the professionals Ma hired demonstrates his transformational style and the desire to delegate. Over the 16 years of functioning, Alibaba Group has grown into one of the world’s hugest e-commerce giants, and delegating is the only way to provide sufficient leadership for it.
Organizational Values, Mission and Vision
As outlined on Alibaba’s website, the company’s culture “is about championing small business” (Culture and Values, 2016, para. 1). Besides, Alibaba’s main values include the customers as the priority, teamwork, innovation, integrity, passion, and commitment.
The organization’s mission is formulated as “to make it easy to do business anywhere” (Company overview, 2016, para. 1). The vision of Alibaba Group is based on the idea of expanding to all the spheres of the customers’ life and building a strong and enduring ecosystem that would last for over a hundred years (Company overview, 2016, para. 2-5).
Initially, Alibaba Group included 5 subsidiaries such as Yahoo! China, Taobao (marketing platform), Alibaba.com (B2B commerce platform), Alipay (online payment system), and Alibaba Cloud Computing (Zhu, 2013). However, its organizational structure was changed in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The first of the three shifts restructured Taobao dividing it into three different B2C companies (eTao, Tmall.com, and Taobao Marketplace).
Secondly, Alibaba Group split into 7 business groups and made Alipay its business affiliate. During the third reorganizations, the company was divided into 25 small groups. The new structure of the organization makes it clear that the company targets multiple spheres of life (for instance it provides insurance, guarantees, and loans to the small business, and also it has its own TV channel). By means of splitting into smaller units, Alibaba Group allows each of the branches to focus on their own objectives and progress autonomously.
Management and Culture
One of the most specific features of Alibaba Group is its internal management style. Based on its strong organizational culture the company management functions in a professional and focused, but relaxed manner. It supports participation, active contribution, independence, and fun. The employees are managed with appreciation and gratitude and are often rewarded for their efforts by a complex system of incentives, the verbal appraisal from the leaders, and company retreats and gatherings. The contribution of Jack Ma is immense here. Basically, his unique style and playful character have become the factors that shaped the company’s culture and created a friendly atmosphere. These features of the company have earned its leader such amazing popularity and a crowd of the most dedicated workers.
To sum up, Alibaba Group is one of the most impressive businesses of the modern days. It stands out in every aspect – its size is bigger than that of all the American and European e-commerce platforms combined, its revenue is enormous and continues to grow, its expansion covers a large variety of spheres of life, in organizational culture is unique, and its leader is admired by millions of people worldwide. Alibaba Group has a complex structure that is becoming more complicated by the year as the company needs to balance all of its multiple branches and directions.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N). (n. d.). Web.
Company Overview. (2016). Web.
Culture and Values. (2016). Web.
The History & Timeline of the Alibaba Group. (2014). Web.
Zakkour, M. (2014). How Jack Ma’s ‘Crazy’ Management Style Built a Technology Empire. Web.
Zhu, J. Q. (2013). Alibaba Group’s Changing Organizational Structure. Web.