A1.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. 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. Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2014/05/07/what-makes-jack-ma-a-great-innovator/#1d35e60f2c71The 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 Forbes. Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hengshao/2014/05/13/a-peek-inside-alibabas-corporate-culture/#3ee16ea34efcA2. Individual LevelJack MaConscientiousnessJack 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.Positive Core Self-EvaluationJack 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.Group LevelConflict Management StylesThere 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. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/business/international/at-alibaba-the-founder-is-squarely-in-charge.htmlEvery 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.LeadershipJack Ma being the founder and leader of Alibaba possesses the five components of emotional intelligence in the leadership independent variable. This has driven the organisation as a group towards multiple successes. The first component, self-awareness, is exhibited by realistic self-assessment and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Jack Ma has been described as a down-to-earth leader who is quick to accept his flaws and improve on them. This makes him a relatable leader to his employees thus contributing to their positive work behaviour. The second component, self-management, is exhibited by trustworthiness, integrity, comfort with ambiguity and openness to change. Ma is known for his unorthodox and creative methods to attain the projected profits for the financial year. This proves to his employees that he clearly knows how to achieve organizational goals and this would gain their trust. The third component, self-motivation is exhibited by a strong drive to excel, optimism and high organisational commitment. The fourth component, empathy, is exhibited by expertise in building and retaining relationships, displaying cross-cultural sensitivity and service to clients and customers. The fifth component, social skills is exhibited by the ability to lead change efforts and expertise in building and leading teams. Jack Ma exemplified empathy and social skills through hiring more ladies. He has led the cause to break gender stereotypes in China’s working world. This shows highlights the uniqueBeing equipped with emotional intelligence as a leader leads to high level citizenship. The employees of Alibaba have a deep sense of loyalty towards the organisation because they trust their leaders’ compatibility as well as being assured that they are of importance to the company. Organisation System LevelOrganisational CultureOrganisational 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:1. Innovation and risk taking2. Attention to detail3. Outcome orientation4. People orientation5. Team orientation6. Aggressiveness7. StabilityDespite 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.Human Resource Policies and Training – Training and Development ProgrammesTraining 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 SkillsTechnical SkillsProblem-Solving SkillsInterpersonal SkillsCivility TrainingEthics TrainingSource (provided by LMS): https://www.forbes.com/sites/hengshao/2014/05/13/a-peek-inside-alibabas-corporate-culture/#57d92cab4efcA3. Describe 2 practical ways Alibaba group has implemented or could implement to improve the working conditions, which you will recommend other companies to adopt. Provide justification of how each way has benefited Alibaba group or will benefit other companies. Check out this link:https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Alibaba-Group-working-environment-Reviews-EI_IE225974.0,13_KH14,33.htmhttp://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/250-companies-adopt-new-standard-on-flexi-work-arrangementsWorking 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 motivation. https://www.forbes.com/sites/hengshao/2014/05/13/a-peek-inside-alibabas-corporate-culture/#2f7797584efcThe 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.