Jack Ma – Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group

Jack Ma is the co-founder and executive chairman of China’s enormously successful business-to-business web-based company, Alibaba. Considered both charismatic and inspirational, Ma has consistently emphasized a set of core values that have guided his approach to leadership at Alibaba. These values include teamwork, passion, commitment, and integrity, and Ma prides himself on championing these values in everything he does.

Teamwork is particularly important to Ma. He attributes the success of his organization to the cooperative spirit that the company has carefully nurtured and developed from its beginnings. He believes that teamwork enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things.


  • What specific traits did early trait-based leadership research show to have
    positive correlations with either leader behavior or leader emergence?
  • What two basic behavioral orientations did the University of Michigan and
    Ohio State University studies have in common?
  • Explain how, in your view, a manager might alter his or her leadership style from a 5,5 position to a 9,9 position on the leadership grid. How challenging do you think achieving this change would be, in practice?
  • What are some criticisms of House’s path-goal theory of leadership? To what
    extent is this theory of leadership still relevant today?
  • Explain why some people consider one or more of the contingency theories of
    leadership to be difficult to apply in practice.