What is it about?

Jack Ma is a third-generation entrepreneur since China’s reform and opening up. As a social change agent, Jack Ma operates Alibaba Group by carrying out a “humanized management” approach; he insists the key to management is to “grasp the authenticity of human nature”. At present, Alibaba effectively uses expansion of the business dynamic feedback loop and open innovation culture to control open innovation costs in open innovation dynamics for 20 years. Alibaba has had great influence on and promoted innovation in shopping and payment methods in China. E-commerce has had extensive influence on traditional retailing, logistics, economy, environment and urban planning, changing the landscapes of cities and villages, Job opportunities and higher profits brought by the digital marketplace are bridging the income gap between urban and rural areas and improving the quality of life of local residents. E-commerce has introduced a new way of shopping and a new kind of urban life. The popularization of the mobile payment system of Alipay has enabled China to realize the virtualization and facilitation of payment methods. The popularization of online shopping site Taobao has promoted the rapid development of China’s logistics and service industries. Moreover, it solves the employment problem of more Chinese people. The business sector has an increasing presence in social change efforts. In these changes, Jack Ma’s foresight and creativity not only promoted organizational structure change in the enterprise but also changed the development of the entire e-commerce industry. However, in his most successful years, Jack Ma suddenly announced his retirement and chose to become a rural teacher in 2019,which is puzzling. In terms of wealth, he is only the richest man in Asia, and there remains a big gap between him and the richest man in the world. In global terms, the wealth they created, their influence on the world, and their contributions to social progress have not yet reached the level of “DuGuQiuBai” . Many contemporary successful entrepreneurs older than Ma, such as Ren Zhengfei (76 years old) and Bill Gates (65 years old), still stick to their positions, while Jack Ma chose to retire at the peak of his life (55 years old). More importantly, Jack Ma chose to be an ordinary rural teacher after retirement,returned to his old business. As a successful business changer, Jack Ma’s choice is puzzling. This manuscript is intended to clarify Ma’s unexpected decision using psycho-biographical methods.

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Why is it important?

This is an attempt to interpret Jack Ma 's deep psychological motivation from the context of Chinese martial arts and teachers' cultural background through purely qualitative psychobiographical analysis.


How can psychology articles be thought-provoking and readable? This article strives to be more scientific and readable. Of course, this is also characteristic of psychobiographical research. Psychobiography attempts to allow psychological research to reproduce the complexity of human nature itself, rather than reduce it to simple data. Therefore, in the process of writing and revising this article, the members of this team have experienced the joy of creation itself, and I believe you as a reader can also feel this.

Yueyu Shu
Northwest Normal University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The “Teacher” and Martial Arts: A Psychobiographical Analysis of Jack Ma as a Business Change Agent, Journal of Personality, July 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jopy.12749.
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