Head of Sales, Hong Kong, Korea & Taiwan, Corporate Solutions
Samuel Ma strives to make an impact on a company’s business performance so it’s fitting that he is on the service provider side at JLL, filling a key role in driving sales for the corporate solutions business.
“I am more results-oriented, rather than process driven,” he says.
Samuel began his career the firm with the Integrated Facility Managements business in 2008, when he was responsible for overseeing multiple client accounts, mainly in the banking sector, and consulting for clients who sought professional advice in facility management.
In 2016, he transitioned into a specific sector – education – which was in its infancy in Greater China and Korea from a facilities perspective at the time. Samuel and the team brought their knowledge of industry best practices into Greater China, which was a fruitful endeavour because the team was engaged by several international schools. Today, the international schools team manages over 10 schools in Greater China.
It was crucial for the team to quickly understand the nuances of the education sector and client needs, while securing the support of other geographies when JLL was new to that particular market.
“It was satisfying to have built this sector from the ground up and to engage wholly in business development. We are able to maintain autonomy while being given the guidance and support needed,” he adds.
In 2019, with a goal to challenge his assumptions, Samuel completed a six-year, research-based Doctorate in Business Administration from Durham University. His research topic was the “adoption behaviour of facilities information management systems at the feature level”, an investigation into how people adopt and utilise new technology from the employees’ perspective in a facility management setting.
“I wanted refresh myself and widen my vision, and to rethink what I had assumed to be absolute previously. All in all, we need to understand the technology from the user level, which is more practical and put human as a critical element for developing technology,” says Samuel.
“Our daily life is unpreventably affected by technology. Sometimes we need to look deeper and explore more possibilities.”
What did he uncover in his research? An employee’s attainment of his or her work goals and the level of self-esteem are crucial factors on whether a technology is evaluated to be relevant and important to him or her. Simply put, a positive experience further reinforces an employee’s positive evaluation of the technology, and in turn, continuous usage.
User-friendliness may be an element, although often not a main reason, Samuel says. Interestingly, Samuel’s study shows that employees may be significantly influenced by their functional supervisors who use technology. “Management should lead by example” to demonstrate the importance of the technology and its relevancy to an employee’s work settings, he says. Companies should provide a work environment that encourages an employee’s experimentation of new technology, he adds.
“Be mindful of your surroundings to inform your decisions. Challenge assumptions, and be willing to adapt and change!”
Dr Samuel Ma at Durham University.