Leadership traits, behaviors and leadership style in Tencent

Brief Contents

1.0 Brief introduction 3

1.1 Background 3

1.2 Development 3

1.3 Business vision 4

1.4 Its leader 4

2.0 Traits, behaviors, leadership style & effectiveness of Ma Huateng 5

2.1 Traits, behaviors and leadership style 5

2.1.1 Traits and related behaviors 5

2.1.2 Leadership style 7

2.2 Effectiveness 10

2.2.1 Financial performance 10

2.2.2 Market performance 12

2.2.3 Culture influence 13

3.0 Four frames model 14

3.1 Brief introduction 14

3.2 Four frames in Tencent 15

3.2.1 Structural frame 15 Basic concept 15 Tencent and its structural frame 15 structure and technology environment 15 Management efficiency 16

3.2.2 Human resource frame 17 Basic concept 18 Talent hiring and maintaining 18

3.2.3 Political frame 19 Basic concept 19 inside conflicts 20

3.2.4 Symbolic frame 20 Basic concept 20 Culture building 21

4.0 Comment on leadership practice in Tencent and recommendations 22

4.1 Comments 22

4.1.1 Good practices 22

4.1.2 Shortcomings 23

4.2 Recommendations 25

4.2.1 Higher concern on relationship 25

4.2.2 behaving more ethical 26

4.2.3 Modification on organizational structure 26

Lists of figures and tables

Figure 1 The leadership grid figure……………………………………………………7

Figure 2 Total number of QQ’s registered users (million)……………………………12

Table 1 Tecent’s developing history…………………………………………………..9

Table 2 Tencent’s financial performance year ended 31 December 2011……………11

Table 3 Bolman and Deal’s four frames model………………………………………14

Table 4 Changes in capital structure of Tencent………………………………………16

1.0 Brief introduction

1.1 Background

Tencent Holdings Limited was founded in 1998 and now it becomes one of the biggest internet service providers in China, which offers services for more than 400 million internet users in China. During the past ten years, Tencent has been concentrating developing internet products and services with high added value for Chinese customers including online chatting software called QQ, online games, online blog called QQ zone, QQ mail and other high value added products for customers. These efforts made by Tencent during these years are all under the direction of its mission to improve the life quality by internet value added products and services for customers by Tencent (Tencent 2012).

1.2 Development

With respect to the marketing approach, Tencent chooses to use forward orientation approach, innovating independently and national brands establishing. And more than 60% of the employees in Tencent are working at the product research and development fields to ensure this company to possess so many patents in internet service related fields including online chatting field, e-commerce field, online payment and online games. And in 2009, more than $ 100 million was invested by Tencent to build the first internet academy in China, which is to nurture the independent internet techniques’ innovation. Thanks for the continuous emphasis on innovation in product development and research, business operation, marketing and other business processes, Tencent is driven to obtain the leadership in the business it is engaged in of China. (Tencent 2012)

1.3 Business vision

Business vision of Tencent is to rank among the list of most respected internet service providers in the world. To line with this vision, Tencent is working at implementing its social responsibilities primarily and improving the civilization and welfare for the network in China for these years. And in 2006, the Tencent Charitable Foundation was established to give help to more Chinese people. (Tencent 2012)

1.4 Its leader

The founder of Tencent is Ma Huateng now as the CEO of this company, who was born in the Hainan province of China. In 1993, Ma Huateng graduated from Shenzhen University with the title of software engineer. And then in 1998, he and some partners established Tencent Holding Limited. Till now, Ma Huateng possesses the title of the Chairman and CEO of Tencent, which is the largest comprehensive internet services and products provider in China. (Tencent 2012)

Ma Huateng is a far sighted leader, who oversees the business planning, positioning and management in a strategic way. And under his charge, Tencent hosts the largest online chatting platform called QQ in China with more than 700 million users. (Tencent 2012)

And in the third quarter of 2011, Tencent Holding Limited gained the total gross revenues about $1.2 billion with the increasing rate of 43.3% compared to last year. The business of Tencent is considered to be the most profitable business in China now. (Tencent 2012)

As a result, Ma Huateng is regarded as one of the most outstanding business person with personal value about $5.3 billion in 2011(Tencent 2012).

2.0 Traits, behaviors, leadership style & effectiveness of Ma Huateng

2.1 Traits, behaviors and leadership style

2.1.1 Traits and related behaviors

Zaccaro, Kemp and Bader (2004) believe leadership traits are the integrated characteristics reflecting these differences of individuals to support leaders to be effective in different organizational situations.

In viewing the study of Derue et al. (2011), there are three categories of leader traits: demographic traits, task competence and interpersonal attributes, which can be reflected on Ma Huateng.

In the first place, although many scholars have founded the fact that male leader and female leader are effective equally, Ma Huateng as a male Chinese leader, who born in south part of China, possesses the special traits of male leaders in southern part of China (Wu 2012). Ma Huateng is a moderate and prudent leader. In the beginning, Ma Huateng designed a wide developing road for Tencent from websites designing to computer programming to fight for more survival chances for his company (Wu 2012). And Tencent as a newcomer was undertaking projects from other companies to widen its living space and developing space directed by Ma Huateng at that time. And to give customers better impression of Tencent as a powerful company, Ma Huateng titled him as the engineer in his name card instead of general manager. The rank of leadership behaviors of Ma Huateng in the beginning of Tencent may be regarded to be influenced by his moderate and prudent trait to fight for more developing space and find out the best developing direction of this company too (Wu 2012).

For task competence category, intelligence, conscientiousness, openness, enterprise and stability in emotion are all grouped in this category by Hoffman et al. (2011). Ma Huateng owns these traits too, which make him have these leadership behaviors. He is intelligent as the leader of Tencent, thus he and his working teams developed their first product named OICQ as the predecessor of QQ being the first Chinese owned instant messaging tool, which enjoyed a good popularity and attracted more than 50,000 users once it was launched. But such achievement can’t make Ma Huateng satisfied, the great enterprise promotes him to develop and update this instant messaging tool, which now is the QQ. And the conscientiousness makes him lead Tencent to work at develop better internet products and services with high added value all the time. Ma Huateng is stable in emotion as the entrepreneur, he know the market operation thoroughly. To make Tencent’s core product- instant message software QQ take larger market share in China, he keeps on seeking funding from cooperating with Chinese and foreign investors. For example, he successfully generated funding from a foreign investor to develop the QQ and its related search engine to win more profit for both Tencent and this investor. The stability emotion in operating business makes Ma Huateng took the shares of only 47.5 and wisely giving the left 52.5% to his four partners, which is to avoid the arbitrary management in the future by himself on the management of Tencent. It shows Ma Huateng is wise, who could still be so reasonable and rational when there are great attraction in front of him. (Wu 2012)

Ma Huateng is the leader possessing good interpersonal attributes too. The extraversion and agreeableness are his special traits being Tencent’s leader. The case of successful attracting foreign investors to invest on the QQ search engine is the strong proof of Ma Huateng’s special interpersonal attributes to persuade investors to assist Tencent’s development (Wu 2012).

2.1.2 Leadership style

Blake and Mouton proposed the leadership grid to reflect the five major leadership styles in most organizations in figure 1 (Blake, & Mouton 1985).

Five kinds of leadership styles are included in figure 1. There are team management, country club management, middle of the road management, impoverished management and authority management. The five leadership styles own different level of task oriented behaviors and people oriented behaviors.

For example, the team management style support the work accomplishment is due to the commitment from people, which believes the interdependence in organization by a common stake often leads to the trust and respect establishment in the relation. The country club management styles has the lowest concern for production but the highest concern for people, which believes the full attention to people’s needs often create the comfortable and friendly working atmosphere and work tempo on the basis of well satisfying relationships. The middle of the road management style has equal concern for production and people, which advocates balancing the necessity in work and people’ morale is possible to make an organization perform adequately. The impoverished management style has the lowest concern for people and production both. And the authority compliance style has the highest concern for production but lowest concern for people, which believes the good arrangement of work is more important than human elements to result in efficiency operations of an origination. (Blake, & Mouton 1985)

Figure 1 The leadership grid figure 

figure 1.0

Source: Adopt from Blake, RR & Mouton, JS 1985, “The Managerial Grid III”, Gulf Publishing Company, Huston,

By observing and going through the leadership traits and behaviors, we believe the leadership style of Ma Huateng is the authority compliance style, which emphasizes the efficiency in operation may result from the effective work condition management and arrangement rather than interference of human elements in the organization(Blake, & Mouton 1985) .

In the first place, Ma Huateng devoted a lot to arrange the development road for Tencent all the time. At the beginning, Ma Huateng spend most of his time to expand Tencent’s business in so many fields and less time on his people, which won him a name of Mr. serious. During the period of Tecent’s taking off, Ma Huateng spent more time to consider how to maintain the prosperity of Tencent in China market by diversifying Tencent’s product categories and core products (Ling & Zhang 2009).

For example, the biggest factor to attract so many subscribers of these products and services offered by Tencent is its instant message tool QQ in the beginning. But when more and more competitors including sohu, sina and other domestic competitors launched their own instant messaging tools as their side products for their internet products, the dominant position of QQ was challenged. Ma Huateng began to work at diversifying Tencent’s products into wider range but gave less concern on its people elements (Wu 2012). Table 1 is the list of the major events implemented by Ma Huateng during these years in Tencent’s developing history.

Table 1 Tecent’s developing history


Time Events
The year of 1998 Tencent Holding Limited founded
The year of 1999 QQ was launched as the instant message service tool
The year of 2000 Some value added services were launched in assisting mobile phone and telecommunication users
The year of 2001 Some value added services were launched in assisting the internet users
The year of 2002 Subscribers for QQ exceeded 100 million
The year of 2003 The portal website of Tencent was launched with the realm name- www.qq.com
The year of 2004 Tencent Holding Limited was listed in the share market of Hong Kong
The year of 2005 The added value service Q-zone was launched as the blog service offered to QQ users
The year of 2006 qq.com enjoyed the highest popularity among Chinese netizens
The year of 2007 The Q-zone users broke 100 million
The year of 2008- 2010 These value added services and products offered by Tencent were strengthened and developed further.

Source: adopt from Wu, J P 2012, “Largest IM Platform in China- Tecent’s QQ”, Journal of Business Case Studies, vol.8,

This developing history of Tencent Holding Limited by Ma Huateng’s direction indicates what Ma Huateng emphasizes during these years was more on the production and task accomplishment.

In the second place, in organization culture designing and developing, Ma Huateng high lightens the production level of Tencent. On the one side, Ma Huateng tries to deepen the influence of organizational culture by appointed upper managers to propagandize the culture of earnest and industrious working attitudes to high lighten the importance of working achievement for working teams (Ling & Zhang 2009). On the other side, Ma Huateng sets the high working loyalty and achievement-driving spirits as one of the training content in new employees training and developing programs to make every new comer to realize Tencent put the task achievement in such an important place. And to improve the management efficiency, Ma Huateng employed the dynamic approach to maintain its finance stability too (Ling & Zhang 2009).

All in all, the above statements prove Ma Huateng’s leadership style is the authority compliance style to give high concern for the production by many task oriented behaviors and low concern for human elements in Tencent.

2.2 Effectiveness

In this part, the function of Ma Huateng’s authority compliance leadership style on shaping Tencent’s performance and effectiveness will be discussed from the financial performance, culture influence, and product positioning.

2.2.1 Financial performance

Financial performance is one of the most direct indicators for us to evaluate Ma Huateng’s leader effectiveness. Listed in table 2.0, the financial performance of Tencent from 2004 to 2011 are clear that the total revenue of Tencent shot up from the 1,143,533,000 of 2004 to 28,496,072,000 at last years, which rose about 24%. Only using seven years, Ma Huateng led Tencent to create a miracle in financial performance, which proves his leadership effectively strongly. And the revenue in these value added services are managed by Ma Huateng in stable increasing rate from 1,080,231,000 (439,041,000 plus 641,190,000) in 2004 to 18,198,232,000(¥15,482,301 plus 2,715,931,000increasing more than 15.9%. (Tencent 2011)

And in cost management part, Ma Huateng’s leading is effective too. Comparing the advertising cost from 2010 and 2011, the total cost of advertising in 2011 equaled 1,992,216000 increasing 45% than that in 2010, while it promoted the revenue increasing the same or even higher rate, which under the economy downturn era is so good performance ( Tencent 2011).

Table 2 Tencent’s financial performance year ended 31 December 2011

(, 000 RMB)

Year Revenues Value added services for internet Value added services for mobile phone and telecommunication Advertising Others
2004 1,143,533 439,041 641,190 54,801 8,501
2005 1,426,395 786,680 517,265 112,826 9,624
2005 2,800,441 1,825,343 700,114 266,684 8,300
2007 3,820,923 2,531,728 807,645 493,018 6,532
2008 7,154,544 4,914,974 1,398,984 826,049 14,537
2009 12,439,960 9,530,711 1,905,500 926,171 41,479
2010 19,646,031 15,482,301 2,715,931 1,372,522 75,277
2011 28,496,072 23,042,758 3,270,841 1,992,216 190,257

Source: Tencent 2011, “Tencent Holding Limited Annual Report”, Tencent.com,

2.2.2 Market performance

Taking the market performance of Tencent’s core product QQ, we find out its developing road in figure 2. In 1999, when QQ first launched Chinese market as the instant messaging tool, its competitiveness compared to the popular ICO was very limited, but it still attracted around 1 million subscribers, which proved the right decision of Ma Huateng to launch QQ in the instant massager market of China. With years goes by QQ has become the NO.1 internet services and products providers working at so many business categories of internet in China based on the study of Chao (2010). And the total amount of QQ’s subscribers even reached 990 million in 2009, which made QQ world famous (Chao 2010).

The good market performance of QQ makes us believe the leader effectiveness of Ma Huateng too.

Figure 2 Total number of QQ’s registered users (million)

figure 2.0

Source: Tencent 2011, “Tencent Holding Limited Annual Report”, Tencent.com,

2.2.3 Culture influence

In Tencent kingdom, Ma Huateng’s leadership is authority compliance style, which emphasizes the production achievement a lot and shows low level of concern for people. This kind of leadership style builds the organizational culture in Tencent with great ambition and achievement driving atmosphere. In another word, people in Tencent are all educated and trained to put the task achievement and productivity in the first place rather than anything else, which builds a hard working team for Tencent.

In upper management, the HR manager, finance manager, product manager (major in product research & development) are the senior employees in Tencent, who joined in Tencent when it was still young. They treated Tencent as their own enterprises, which make them work harder and harder with full passion all the time. The establishment of the hardworking management team is attributed to Ma Huateng’s strategic leadership. He is always a good communicator and persuader to find out the most cherishing and valuable feelings in people’s mind. When he found these talents in the beginning, he persuaded them to join in Tencent and predicted the promising future of Tencent to make all these people admire and trust him so much. And later the taking off of Tencent confirmed the decisions of these people staying at Tencent for their whole careers, that is to say, Ma Huateng successfully built a loyal and outstanding followership to work hard following his direction at most time.(He 2008

And in the ordinary working teams in Tencent, Ma Huateng’s contribution is also great. As the above statement, 60% of ordinary employees in Tencent are developed to join in product research and development, which shows Ma Huateng’s great vision on the importance of internet service and products industry in China, which needs the continuous fresh products (He 2008). This decision on personnel structure building is another determinant for success produced by Ma Huateng.

3.0 Four frames model

3.1 Brief introduction

Bolman and Deal (1997) developed a four frames model to investigate organization and leadership effectiveness and their operation performance shown in table 3, which will facilitate us investigate the organization management in Tencent.

Table 3 Bolman and Deal’s four frames model

table 3.0


Source: Adopt from Bolman, L G & Deal, T E 1997, “Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership”, Jossey-Bass Inc., San Francisco,

3.2 Four frames in Tencent

3.2.1 Structural frame Basic concept

Bolman and Deal (1997) proposed four elements in structural frame in organization. At first, the reason for an organization to exist is to accomplish their goals and objectives. Secondly, when rationality triumphs over the needs of human beings, things often work the best in this organization. Thirdly, two of structural schemes are suitable for organizational success. One is to assign roles by labor specialization and division to reach the effectiveness and efficiency. The other is to coordination among individual employees and effective control may support the goal meeting in the organization. Finally, poor organizational structure may cause many problems.

Then, let’s investigate Tencent from these structural elements such as its rules, goals, policies, technology environment and challenge for leaders in structural field in the next part. Tencent and its structural frame structure and technology environment

In personnel structure design, 60% personnel in Tencent belongs to engineers majoring in product research and development which promotes Tencent to work in a line with its corporate goals to give users the persistence fresh experience by subscribing Tencent’s products ( Tencent 2012).

In the research Li (2009), it shows the industry Tencent is participating belongs to the information technology industry (IT Industry) which is the innovation driven industry requiring highly on product research and development capability. Ma Huang, the leader of Tencent, holds the view that technical innovation is the successful determinant for online service providers to stand out among these battles in this industry, which is why Tencent is so ardent in encouraging and maintaining the high superiority in product research and development capability by this kind of design of personnel structure. For instance, Tencent often release new versions of its QQ and search engine since the year of 2000. Till now about 265 different versions have been released by Tencent.

In general, Ma Huateng leads Tencent to put the technology innovation in the first under the support of its strategies in technology fields such as participating in the fundamental and applied research to enrich the internet services for customers, improving and advancing the technical capability by close collaboration with Chinese colleges and universities, bringing and cultivating talents in the internet technology field (Li 2009).

All in all, Ma Huateng as Tencent’s leader directs it to create and develop its capability by fostering good technology environment to attune its organization structure towards a task oriented structure. Management efficiency

Tencent’s management efficiency can be reflected from its dynamic approach on capital structure management directed by Ma Huateng. According to the summary in table 4, IDG and PCCW group I the year of 2000 held the stakes of Tencent about 20% independently, worth about $ 1.1 million. And MIH group purchased PCCW group’s 20% shares and IDG’s 13% share in the year 2001. And then 13.5% shares were brought in by MIH group from these initiative members of Tencent in the year of 2002 (Tencent 2011).

In the year 2003, under Ma Huateng’s promotion, these initiative members in Tencent and the MIH group rearranged the shares into 50% to 50% to facilitate Tencent to be listed in Hong Kong finally in 2004 (Tencent 2011).

Table 4 Changes in capital structure of Tencent

table 4.0


Source: adopt from Tencent 2011, “Tencent Holding Limited Annual Report”, Tencent.com,

In general, Ma Huateng is working at optimizing the capital structure of Tencent by attracting investors to promote Tencent’s development and finally regain the final control power of Tencent in his hand to realize the listing of Tencent in Hong Kong bond market, which realize the good organizational performance and effectiveness (Kishore 2009).

3.2.2 Human resource frame Basic concept

By developing human resource frame, it is possible to make organization energizing and productive (Bolman & Deal 1997). At first, organizations are responsible to serve people’s needs instead of making people existing to serve the needs of organizations. Secondly, people and organizations are co-existing. For example, people need jobs, money and opportunities which can be gained from organizations. Organizations need ideas, talent people and energy too. And the good fit between organizations and people befit the two and the poor fit make the two suffer. Talent hiring and maintaining

Ma Huateng realizes the management efficiency in Tencent by his unwavering attention to recruiting and retaining the talent workforce. Ma Huateng stated “business and capital work as the most important elements of Tencent. But business can be developed or even re-discovered and capital can be generated and adjusted. While regarding the human resource, talents can’t be substituted so easily”, which shows Tencent emphasizes the talent hiring and maintaining very much and treasure it as most valuable assets (Mcdonald 2011).

In talents hiring, Tencent is working at developing its human resource recruiting strategy from the year of 2008 and named this strategy as “Great stage, great achievement”, which is designed to offer talents with open ended salary structure for excellent people by removing the salary cap. And during the recruiting process, the value of individuals for Tencent and their responsiveness to the needs of customers are examined and evaluated closely. In another word, in talent recruitment, Tencent emphasizes the task achievement much that it clarifies its requirement on staffs in aspects of capability and high willingness to serve customers to satisfy their needs. And to invite more talents to join in Tencent, Ma Huateng developed the competition for students in colleges and universities in China to give winners monetary prize and chances of internship in Tencent to facilitate Tencent gain more talents. In brief, Tencent uses high salary attraction to gain its expected talents in the labor market of China. (Mcdonald 2011)

In talents development, Ma Huateng directed Tencent to invest about $100 million to build an internet academy in three of major cities in China to develop and train its people in nurturing their capacities in the key internet technologies’ innovation, which now works as the core competitiveness of Tencent’ working force (Mcdonald 2011).

In talents retention, the strategy used by Tencent is to offer people with high salary scheme and attractive career developing chances. This strategy attracts so many top talents for Tencent in recent years (Mcdonald 2011).

In general, human resource management of Tencent direct under Ma Huateng emphasizes the task achievement a lot by using high salary and competitive career development to hire, develop and maintain talents, which boosts the talent pool of Tencent but also make the working atmosphere in Tencent is so tight with great pressure.

3.2.3 Political frame Basic concept

There are heavy focuses of political frame on organizations’ conflicts and power, which views organization as the political areas in which a complicated web of individual and groups’ interest are pursued (Bolman & Deal 1997). At first, companies are like coalitions made up of individuals and groups existing for interests. Secondly, as the interests pursued by individuals and groups can’t be satisfied at the most, some conflicts may take place. inside conflicts

With the developing of Tencent, some conflicts from interest pursuit become obvious and fierce. One of the biggest conflicts encountered in front of Tencent is how to allocate the profit between it and its business partners (Wu 2012). Tencent Holding Limited is diversifying its business into wider categories nowadays such as the instant messaging business, online games, online shopping, value added services for mobile phone users and the search engine business. With the fast developing speed of its business, the market orientation of Tencent may become unclear now (Wu 2012). And such kind of unclearness sometime, makes the profit division between Tencent and its business partners aren’t so appropriate, for the sake that the fast business development of Tencent requires fast development of these profit allocation and adjustment strategy to match. But these strategies in profit allocation aren’t developed so fast to meet Tencent and its partners’ requirement, which cause the conflicts (Wu 2012).

In addition, these conflicts between Tencent and some of the business partners such as these basic operators limits the flexibility and decision making power in internet business operation, which is the barrier for Tencent’s development too (Wu 2012).

3.2.4 Symbolic frame Basic concept

Bolman and Deal (1997) advocated organizational culture plays significant role in building workforce and shape high working morale. For example, symbol creation may help people to resolve confusion and direct them to meet goals by removing uncertainties. That is to say, organization culture should be fostered to facilitate people to find meanings, purposes and passions in their work. Culture building

The organizational culture in Tencent can be summarized by four words: integrity, enterprise, cooperation and innovation, which always reminds its people the importance of task achievements for this company (Tencent 2012). And according to the symbolic frame, the challenge faced by Ma Huateng is how to impress the culture elements of Tencent in the deep mind of its people to inspire them work towards organizational goals correctly (Bolman & Deal 1997).

To shape the deep influence of Tencent’s culture on employees, many efforts are made. At first, the culture committee inside Tencent is established under the Department of Human Resource to take charge of the development and communication of corporate culture in Tencent (Li 2012). Secondly, a corporate journal is designed and releases inside Tencent to improve the quality of communication among employees under the culture’s direction.

Thirdly, Tencent is working at building the multi-culture to invite diversity workforce to Tencent kingdom. With the open and multi-culture building, Tencent has attracted talents from other big companies to make the working force of Tencent more flexible and open to meet challenges in the market (Li 2012).

The culture building in Tencent directed under Ma Huateng to strengthen the influential power of corporate culture to build high task oriented working force contribute the fast development of business of Tencent too.

4.0 Comment on leadership practice in Tencent and recommendations


4.1.1 Good practices

By witnessing the good achievement of Tencent directed by Ma Huateng from the foundation to today’s Tencent kingdom, Ma Huateng is worth the title of an extraordinary leader on the whole.

Depending on the contingency approach of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory, four different leaderships are formed and suitable for leaders related to the task readiness of their subordinates. The telling leadership is to provide specific directions and close supervision towards subordinates’ performance when subordinates are unable and unwilling or insecure in the task readiness. The selling leadership is to give subordinates the explanations on decisions and offer them with opportunities to clarify when subordinates’ readiness belongs to unable but willing or confident level. The participating leadership is to share ideas and support people in decision making when people are able to do their tasks but are unwilling or insecure to do. The lase one is delegating leadership, which is to show low concern for task and people to turn over the responsibility for decisions and implementation for the subordinates when subordinates have high readiness in their task that they are able and willing or confident to do their jobs. (Gary 2002)

From the task oriented leadership behaviors of Ma Huateng, which we analyzed before, his leadership is the telling style, which has a high concern for tasks and low concern for people (Gary 2002).

In the first place, Ma Huateng uses telling leadership to build powerful corporate culture emphasizing task achievement of subordinates in Tencent, which drives staffs to be so ambitious and enterprising to achieve high performance consequences. From the establishment in 1998 to 2011, the telling leadership encouraging task achievements facilitates to successfully attract more than 400 million subscribers and bring more than 28,496,072000 revenue for this company last year, which is so mission impossible, while Ma Huateng realized it (Tencent 2011).

In the second place, the higher payment better task achievement focus in Tencent advocated by Ma Huateng successfully attracted diversity working talents to join in Tencent Kingdom, preparing Tencent with competitive working team (Mcdonald 2011).

In the third place, task achievement oriented leadership encourages the innovation driven spirit in Tencent ad task oriented organizational structure to facilitate Tencent to chase greater achievements such as its fast expansion in other internet services categories besides QQ and successful taking the place of other competitors such as Shengda, Kaixin net to be the biggest online game provider in China (Li 2012).

All in all, the telling leadership of Ma Huateng to promote task achievement in Tencent makes great achievements for this company and enhances its profitability rate in so large level. It is fairly well.

4.1.2 Shortcomings

Regarding the present situation in Tencent, the telling leadership of Ma Huateng shows the concern for task so much and so little concern for relationship may not be so suitable and healthy for Tencent’s future.

In the first place, there are shortages in the task oriented organizational structure. More than 60% staffs belong to the product research and development department in Tencent, which means high productivity in product innovation (Li 2009). But it also indicates the less focus on other operation management parts in this company such as marketing, finance, human resource and other important part. As the result of this, the public relationship maintained by Tencent may be poor, which can be shown from the battle between Tencent and the 360- anti-virus software company. In this battle, Tencent under Ma Huateng’s direction performing somewhat arbitrary, this made the image of Tencent in customers’ minds decreasing a lot. (Li 2012)

In the second place, although innovation is the key for internet service and product providers to survive in China, the actual practices of Tencent under direction of Ma Huateng cause many disputes. These so called innovations of Tencent in internet products and services may be defined as imitation which will be more proper (Li 2012). From the QQ, which imitated the popular instant message tool “ICO” at that time to these popular QQ online games, which imitated other online game providers’ productions in China, some people defined Tencent as an imitator rather than an innovator (Bolman & Deal 1997). These kind of imitating behaviors make many people doubt Tencent may behave unethically.

In the third place, merely emphasis on the high payment to retain talents may make people in Tencent become more and more snobbish, who only focus on the materials and achievements (Mcdonald 2011). This may promote Tencent’s business to develop fast in the beginning but it may be not so good for the team building and cooperation development, because individual employees pay too much attention to their interests than anything else, who may only prefer to fulfill their personal interests first rather than developing cooperation with others to gain achievement together (Mcdonald 2011).

According to the situational leadership, the telling leadership of Ma Huateng shows high level concern for task achievement but lowest concern for relationship, which may not be so fit for the condition of Tencent nowadays, in which people are able to performance good and in fact some of them are working hard to pursue good performance under the attraction of interests (Bolman & Deal 1997).

But many people in Tencent complaints the great pressures and working load which make them feel hard to breathe and besides working they can gain nothing from Tencent. Such kind of group may be identified as this kind of people who are able to performance good but feel insecure and unwilling to perform. In Bolman and Deal’s (1997) situational leadership theory, when subordinates are able to perform but unwilling or insecure to perform their task, their readiness level requires the more relationship focused leadership with less focus on task achievement. In another word, the telling leadership of Ma Huateng isn’t fit for today’s Tencent.

In general, besides the contributions and good practices of Mu Huateng’s leadership practices in Tencent, these shortcomings should arouse our attention too. That is to say, some changes may be brought by Ma Huateng on the management of Tencent.

4.2 Recommendations

4.2.1 Higher concern on relationship

Bolman and Deal (1997) spoke highly on the leadership effectiveness when leaders use the suitable leaderships according to subordinates’ readiness. In Tencent, people there are able to perform their works and even able to perform better but some of them may feel insecurity due to the intensive and high working load, which may some of them unwilling to perform. Towards this situation, Bolman and Deal (1997) proposed the participating leadership to base on the high concern for relationship and people but low concern for task achievement. The participating leadership will facilitate Ma Huateng to share ideas with his subordinates, give people more chances to participate and assist the decision making (Bolman & Deal 1997). In another word, employees in Tencent may have more chances to show their ideas to their supervisors and Ma Huateng, which will give the upper management more chances to understand the real needs of people on their jobs. And facilitating people to participate decision making will improve their sense of belonging and make them work more meaningful rather than only for money.

4.2.2 behaving more ethical

Business ethics becomes so important for all the stakeholders of an organization to evaluate the business practices of this organization and it is also one of the criteria for the whole society and customers to judge the performance of an organization (Trevino & Nelson 2007).

Ma Huateng is recommended to actually realize the innovation in Tencent instead of copying others’ works. Although in China, there aren’t so strict laws to regulate the copying actions, people and the society have higher awareness on the unethical behaviors of piracy and many of them even begin to resist such behaviors (Li 2009 & 2012). Thus, if Ma Huateng plans to make Tencent become a classical internet service provider with high fame, depending too much on copying or stealing others ideas can’t realize this dream (Li 2009 & 2012). On this part, Ma Huateng is recommended to lead Tencent realize the innovation by itself.

4.2.3 Modification on organizational structure

Till now, 60% employees in Tencent work for product research and development, which may not be fit for the real situation (Tencent 2012). Ma Huateng is recommended to make some modification on the organizational structure of Tencent to make its structure be more fit for the real needs of the market such as increasing the number of marketing people and human resource staffs to support Tencent to develop more healthy and strategically ( Li 2009 & 2012).

5.0 Reference

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Chao, L 2010, “China’s Tencent Buys Stake”, The Wall Street Journal,

Derue, D S, Nahrgang, J D, Wellman, N & Humphrey, S E 2011, “Trait and Behavioral Theories of Leadership: An Integration and Meta-analytic Test of Their Relative Validity”, Personnel Psychology, Vol.4.

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Trevino, L. & Nelson, K. A. 2007, “Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right”, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken,

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Zaccaro, S J, Kemp, C & Bader, P 2004, “Leader Traits and Attributes: The Nature of Leadership”, Sage Publications, Canada,

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