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Part allows employees to voice out their

Part A1 – Dependent


Dependent variables are key factors that managers want to
explain or predict. Primary dependent variables include productivity,
absenteeism, staff turnover, citizenship, job satisfaction and deviant
workplace behaviour. However, we will just be focusing on 2 dependent variables
that relate to the Alibaba group.

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The first dependent variable is citizenship. Citizenship
measures the loyalty the employees have towards the company. In this case,
there is high citizenship. Alibaba’s employees are extremely loyal to the
company. This can be seen in “attracted the loyalty of employees and customers
alike with a showmanship that sometimes borders on the bizarre.” and “Alibaba
has taken care to offer family-like support to its employees. The company
created its own mortgage fund called “iHome” in October 2011,
allowing employees to apply for interest-free loans for property down
payments.”, in an article written by Forbes. With such arrangements made for
the employees, the employees will feel taken care of and have high job
satisfaction and hence will stay loyal to the company.


The second dependent variable is productivity. Productivity
describes various measures of the efficiency of production.  In the company, there is high productivity.
The company is able to be productive in solving problems, coming up with
solutions and ideas. This is due to the platform set up by Jack Ma that allows
employees to voice out their opinions as seen in “All Alibaba employees,
regardless of their positions, can hammer problematic products on the company’s
internal communications platform “Aliway,”” found in an article written by





Part A2 – OB Concepts



Jack Ma’s conscientiousness has led the company to greater
heights, even at the very beginning stages of Alibaba. Individuals who are
conscientious are defined as being dependable, reliable, careful, able to plan,
organised, hardworking, persistent and achievement oriented. Jack Ma tried to
gather funds from Silicon Valley to startup Alibaba. However, he was faced with
rejection after rejection. He preserved on and eventually succeeded in getting
Goldman and Sachs to invest a total of USD 25 million in Alibaba. This was a
crucial step towards the success of Alibaba as without it, Jack Ma would not
even have the funds to sustain and continue Alibaba in the future. He has
exhibited traits of being hardworking and persistent, which shows that he has
high conscientiousness. This high conscientiousness has led to higher
productivity for himself as Alibaba became more efficient after acquiring  the funds.


In the early 2000s, Jack Ma faced serious challenges due to
expanding too aggressively into international markets. However, due to Jack
Ma’s high conscientiousness, he successfully reorganised the company’s
operations. He closed many international branches to focus on strengthening
Alibaba’s position in the Chinese market. After solving that problem, he then
re-expanded Alibaba and re-engaged its international strategy. Jack Ma was
organised and able to plan. Even when faced with problems and challenges that
threatened to cause the closure of his company, Alibaba was able to organise
and strategize to prevent that. He even took drastic steps like closing the
international branches which could potentially bring in losses, but he did what
he felt was best for Alibaba. Because of his high conscientiousness, it led to
higher productivity and ultimately led to the success of Alibaba.



Core Self-Evaluation

Jack Ma also had positive core self-evaluations, which
helped the company perform better and expand further. Individuals who have
positive core self-evaluation like themselves and see themselves as effective,
capable and in control of their environment. People with positive core
self-evaluations perform better than others because they set more ambitious
goals, are more committed to their goals and persist longer in attempting to
reach them.


Another example would be how he persisted in his personal
life when faced with challenges. He was not deterred even after he was rejected
from Harvard 10 times. Even after getting rejected the first time, he still
bothered applying for an additional 9 times. He went on to apply for Hangzhou
Normal University, where he became an English major. Also, after he graduated
from college, he applied to 30 different jobs and was subsequently rejected by
all of them. However, Jack Ma kept on running and subsequently succeeded,
founding the multi-billion-dollar empire Alibaba.


This can be seen through how Jack Ma is a firm believer in
never giving up. He sees giving up as the greatest failure. The goal he has set
out for Alibaba is to create one million jobs, change China’s social and
economic environment, and make it the largest Internet market in the world. His
goal is extremely ambitious, but the failures he met along the way did not stop
him from pursuing the goal. When he first started Alibaba, it was not
profitable for the first three years. In the beginning, they expanded too fast
and almost imploded when the dot-com bubble burst. Alibaba was close to bankruptcy
at that point, just 18 months away. 
However, by September 2014, Alibaba went public at $92.70 per share,
making it the biggest US IPO in history.


He also demonstrates how he is capable and in control of his
environment as through his perseverance, you can see that he believes in
himself that he is able to succeed.


Hence, due to his positive core self-evaluation, it can be
said that he has a high job satisfaction as he is able to see his business grow
and prosper which gives a sense of satisfaction since it is his dream to grow
Alibaba and make them successful. In conclusion, his positive core
self-evaluation has led to high job satisfaction for himself.


Management Styles

There are essentially five conflict management styles
dependent upon the factors of assertiveness and cooperativeness. They are:
competition, accommodation, avoidance, collaboration and compromise. The
management style we have identified for Alibaba is collaboration. This
particular style is a strategy attempt to certify everyone by navigating through
differences and cooperating to seek solutions that result in gains for all
parties concerned. It involves an acceptance of the other party’s needs as well
as an assertion of one’s own needs. The nature of this style arises from a
highly assertive and highly co-operative organisation environment which will
usually result in a win-win situation.



Every individual in the company is bound to have their own
perspectives and ideas of the organisation. Ideas encompass both positives and
negatives.  With Alibaba rewarding
“feedback about the company, including criticism” this highlights that Alibaba
is progressive in combining the ideas of people with different perspectives.
From the perspective of  Alibaba when the
employees give feedback they will be able to identify areas of improvement and
this will contribute to the success of the company as a whole. From the
perspective of the employees when they give feedback they are given a reward as
well as satisfaction that their voices are heard. They is an integrative
solution that will result in a win-win situation for both the company as well
as the employees. In addition when the employees have a “sense of community and
voice” this will cause them to gain commitment through the development of
consensus and ultimately  increase their
citizenship. Thus propelling Alibaba towards success on a group level.



of Conflict in the Organisation

Under Stoner’s classifications there are essentially five
types of conflict that exist in an organisation. They are conflict within the
individual, between individual, between individual and group, between groups in
the same organisation and conflict between organisation. In relation to
Alibaba’s case we have identified a conflict between individual and groups.
This type of conflict arises due to an individual wishing to exert
individuality on one hand while the group is exerting pressure on the
individual to conform. For Alibaba, the individual would be Jack Ma and the
group would be the shareholders. Jack Ma has on numerous occasions declared
that “shareholders come third”.


“In a letter sent to employees before the IPO filing, Ma
reiterated the point: “After the IPO, we’ll still uphold the policy of
‘customers first, employees second, and shareholders third.'”


This highlights that Jack Ma’s individual wish is for
Alibaba to primarily focus on the customers followed by employees and lastly
shareholders. The shareholders on the other hand would feel that this decision
oppresses their rights as shareholders. They have after all invested in the
company and are entitled to their shares.


“A New York law firm is taking on Chinese billionaire Jack
Ma’s flagship enterprise, the Alibaba Group, alleging the commerce giant
neglected to disclose a Chinese regulatory investigation to shareholders prior
to its initial public offering last year.”


Following his ideology that shareholders are last compared
to customers and employees a case reveals that Jack Ma had failed to disclose
important information to shareholders that would affect the value of their
shares. The shareholders took this as a denial of their rights and exerted
pressure on Jack Ma by filing a case against him. The effect of this lawsuit
against Jack Ma would have serious implications for Alibaba on a group level.
Alibaba would suffer financial losses due to this lawsuit as this would repel
future shareholders from investing in Alibaba. A case against Jack Ma would
also portray Alibaba under a negative light as the leader is seen to be
corrupted and this would also drive away businesses as well as customers from
making transactions with Alibaba. Thus this would eventually result in
citizenship decreasing as the employees’ loyalty to the organisation’s would
become questionable due to the case. As well as an increase in staff
turnover because employees would seek other job opportunities when their
salaries have been decreased due to the financial losses that the case would


System Level


Organisational culture is defined as a system of shared
meaning held by the members that distinguishes the organisation from other
organizations. There are seven primary characteristics that determine
organizational culture. They are:


·       Innovation and risk taking

·       Attention to detail

·       Outcome orientation

·       People orientation

·       Team orientation

·       Aggressiveness

·       Stability


Despite organizations exhibiting the above characteristics
in their organizational cultures, it is possible to determine if an
organisation has a strong or weak culture. In an organisation with a strong
culture, the organization’s core values are held intensely and widely shared. A
high degree of shared values creates an environment of high behavioural
control. Thus, a strong culture reduces employee turnover significantly.


We can conclude that Alibaba has an immensely strong
organisational culture. The nature of the
shared activities that Alibaba employees experience together as a company
facilitates stability and is people and team oriented. An example of such an
activity is a mass company wedding. Furthermore, the organisational culture is
one that is very easy-going and demonstrates a low level of aggression.
Employees call their bosses by nicknames and the company even has a collective
mortgage fund that is used for purchasing new homes. Thus, we can determine
that Alibaba has a strong and effective organisational culture that has
implemented the primary characteristics excellently. This explains the
indomitable bond that Alibaba employees share with each other and justifies
their behaviour.


Resource Policies and Training – Training and Development Programmes

Training and development programmes are the responsibility
of the HR department. There are a myriad of training types but the following
are the main types:


Basic Skills
Technical Skills
Problem-Solving Skills
Interpersonal Skills
Civility & Ethics Training


With the introduction of Alibaba Global Leadership Academy
(AGLA), we believe that Alibaba has a stellar training programme. Even though
AGLA begun as a recruitment platform, it has transformed into one of the
leading management programmes in the world. This is primarily due to the fact
that it does not follow the conventional training methods which revolve around
on the job training and computer based training, the two most commonly found
training methods in the industry. The reason as to why we believe it has
garnered international acclaim is because it encompasses all the main types of
training unlike other traditional training courses which only involve fewer or
one type of job training.


The AGLA programme requires all participants to spend a year
abroad in Hangzhou, China at Alibaba’s headquarters, regardless of which
country they have come from and if they speak mandarin or not. This trains a
various number of skills, mainly Interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills and
helps train civility and ethics. It trains interpersonal skills by forcing
participants to effectively deal with people from various cultures and
backgrounds, strengthens problem solving abilities by involving participants in
projects in an unfamiliar setting  and
trains civility and ethics by forcing participants to work together and
bringing them around the rural areas of China. Furthermore, technical and basic
skill sets are exponentially increased through a tailored curriculum which
involves study trips.


Development aside, we now must evaluate the effectiveness of
Alibaba’s training programme. The effectiveness of a training programme is
measured by a few variables. They are mainly :


Participant satisfaction
Amount participants learn
Relevance to job
Financial return on investments


We believe that all the factors are met. This is because the
AGLA programme has gotten many positive reviews by participants and the
programme is tailored for job relevance. Furthermore, participants that
complete the programme are posted to various managerial positions in Alibaba,
thus making it a good investment for the company. Thus, we conclude that
Alibaba’s training programmes are effective and comprehensive.











Part A3 –
Practical Ways

Working conditions cover a huge range of topics and issues,
from working time, to remuneration, as well as the physical conditions and
mental demands that exist in the workplace.


For Alibaba, many employees, both ex and current, have
commented that they had long working hours which they were not happy about.
This reduced the time they could have spent with their family or even spent by
just relaxing.


Something Alibaba could implement to ensure that employees
are satisfied with their working hours will be to have flexi-work arrangements.
Flexi-work allows employees to choose their starting and finishing work times
as long as they fulfill the required number of working hours.


This would benefit Alibaba employees as employees would be
better able to meet their personal responsibilities and get to spend more time
with their families. This arrangement would help employees have better
work-life balance, hence increasing their motivation and productivity.


The flexi-work scheme has actually been implemented in 250
companies in Singapore. The managers of the companies have said that they can
see the benefits and they can feel that staff morale is strong. It has also
helped employees to be more efficient at work too.


Hence, recommending this to other companies will help
increase work efficiency of their employees and also increase productivity and


The transparency of the company is one of the methods
implemented by Alibaba to improve the working conditions. In such a big
corporate company like Alibaba it my be difficult for employees of a lower
status to bring up issues or to give feedback to the upper level managements
such as Jack Ma himself. Communication plays a huge part in every successful
company, hence Jack Ma implemented an internal communication platform called
“Aliway”. Employees are able to bring up bitter complains, dispute about
unsatisfying work evaluation results and give feedback in general without feeling
pressure from their superior.


In order to flatten the hierarchy,  everyone is to come up with a nickname and
will then be addressed by it from the moment onward. Even those that are at the
top of the pyramid is to be addressed by their nickname. With this system
implemented, the employees will feel more comfortable opening up about their
issues and voicing out on what they think might be a possible problem in the
company. Only when problems are voiced out can the company do something to fix
it, this way the company is constantly improving. When employees are not afraid
to say what they really feel about the working conditions, they will not feel
wronged as if they are being taken advantage of.


This method implemented should be adopted by other companies
so as to help increase in efficiency and let the employees dare to speak up for
themselves. This will help create a more conducive environment for the
employees, a better working environment.

















Part B1 
– Article Analysis2 



Title of
Article:         Higher fines in bid to stop

Date of Article:
         7 November 2017

Source of
     The Straits Times

Topics/Concepts:       1. Motivation 2 – Reinforcement
Strategy: Punishment

2. Motivation 1 – Alderfer’s ERG


This article talks about the introduction of a new law to
impose heavier fines on companies that ignore workers’ safety to prevent work
accidents. The aim is to stop unsafe work practices and the increasing number
of accidents.


Punishment is the presentation of unpleasant consequences to
decrease undesirable behavior. This can be seen when the fine per offence was
increased from $20,000 to $50,000. This reinforcement strategy would be useful
as the increase in fine would make companies more aware of the workplace safety
in hopes of preventing accidents and avoid having to pay hefty fines for the


The ERG theory is made up of three groups of core needs:
Existence, Relatedness and Growth. If the higher-level needs are not met, it
can result in regression to a lower-level need and this is also known as the
Frustration-Regression Dimension. As safety is a basic existence requirement,
it is under existence and if the company does not provide basic workplace
safety, the workers will lose motivation to work and will not have the desire
to satisfy their higher-order needs. As there is an increase in workplace
accidents, a new law is imposed to prevent more accidents from happening. This
can be seen when the article states that “the aim is to stop unsafe work
practices before accidents happen. The number of such potentially serious accidents
cases has doubled from 13 in 2013 to 26 last year.” and with the number of
cases doubling, the workers will feel even less motivated to go to work as they
would not know when an accident would befall on them, making it harder for them
to form desires to do well in the company.



Title of Article:          Mindsets
need to change to bridge gender pay gap: Ong Ye King
Date of Article:          22 September 2017
Source of Article:      The Straits Time
Topics/Concepts:       1. Motivation 1 – Equity Theory

Perception – Stereotyping

This article talks about the difference between the pays of men and women
despite them doing the same amount of work. In the article, women from
different companies try to raise awareness for this increasingly significant

Equity theory focuses on individual’s perception of how fairly they are treated
As compared with others. Equity exists when inputs to a job such as effort and
education is equal to the outcomes from a job such as pay and recognition.
Inequity can be seen in this article when men and women are different separate
opportunities, despite the same amount of effort put into the job. The same
amount of inputs to a job is resulting in different outputs in this case and
therefore there is inequity. Employees can reduce inequity by changing outcomes
such as asking for higher salaries and distorting perception of self and
others. In this article, women have been asking for equal rights and hosting
campaigns to change peoples’ mindsets.

One of the other things that is mentioned in the article is that the thinking
of not hiring women is ‘old fashioned’ and that nothing should stand in their
way just because of their gender. In this case, they can be said to be
stereotyping which is to judge someone on the basis of one’s perception of the
group to which he/she belongs to. In this case, bosses who are old-fashioned
with such thinking are paying women less due to their stereotype that men
deserve to be paid more.




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