Organizational Culture Of The Google Company
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
During last few years many organization leaders, manager and scholars have shown enthusiastic interest in understanding the role and nature of the organizational culture. One of the main causes for rise in interest is, to understand the organizational culture was to understand how it affects the organization changes: for a time it was seen as secret obstacle to success (Fulop & Linstead, 2004). According to Martin (1992), the understanding of the organizational culture is to help understand organizational life more, that’s why understanding the organizational life is important because the organizational culture has influence the company’s performance (Denison, 1990; Kotter & Heskett, 1992; Truskie, 1999; & Schein, 2004). The main aim of this essay is to provide, importance of understanding the organizational culture, mission and vision of the Google along with its culture strategy. In addition, the essay will discuss in depth of the company’s management function in culture and its effectiveness, the essay will also discuss the issues related with the case of Google and in last providing the recommendation to a company. The information is mainly based on the secondary data such as, information from the internet, books and journal articles. The essay will first provide the background of the Google Company and then it will discuss how the company deals with culture.
Google was first founded in 1988 by two PhD students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page from Stanford University. They developed an innovative way of searching the internets information later on it grew very quickly. Hence, it has extraordinary growth and success in the market place (Towers, 2006). In 2005, the company had a turnover of $5 billion and hence worth more then Ford and General Motors combined (Towers, 2006). Company mission is to organize the worlds information and make it universal accessible and useful (Google, 2010). As a business, Google generates most of the revenue from advertising by offering advertisers the measurable and cost effective advertise. It also develops the web application such as Gmail, Google calendar and Google docs to help the people to share information and communicate more easily (Google, 2010). Along with this company also provides the facility and services of Google maps and YouTube to find the location and watch videos from the mobiles (Google, 2010). Because of all this offerings and benefits, it has reached to tremendous success. Company has maintained its same old culture as it was in 1998, company says that they have maintained a small company feel. During the lunchtime, all the employees eat in office café, by eating on the same table where they sit from the opening and enjoy the conversation with Googlers from different team (Google, 2010). Company believes that the innovation depends on the comfortable of everyone by sharing ideas and views (Google, 2010). Therefore, the four cornerstone of Google culture are mission, innovation, fun and reward (Towers, 2006).
In addition, the essay will discuss the importance of understanding the organizational culture. It is very necessary to understand what is mean by organizational culture before discussing the importance of culture. The culture of the organization refers to the unique configuration of norms, values, beliefs way of behaving and so on that characterize the manner in which groups and individuals combine to get things done (Fulop & Linstead, 2004 pg.99). According to Anthony (1994), the term culture is conceptual and general concept that is used, to include many aspects of the organization. Therefore, many researches have carried out, how culture is important to organization, to find out the link between the organizational effectiveness and culture (Denison, 1990; Kotter & Heskett, 1994). As the cultures exist within all the organization, it makes sense that some organization has better culture then other; however, according to Kotter and Heskett (1992), the successful culture is often thought, when the employee’s goals are aligned to the organizational goals.
Further, looking toward one of the element of culture, that is Leadership. leaders can exert a powerful influence on the culture of their organization, especially if they are the founders (Fulop & Linstead, 2004). In case of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page is the founder of the company and therefore they act as a leader for the company by role modeling, coaching, mentoring and teaching the criteria for selection and rewards. Moreover leadership is defined as “the ability to develop and articulate a vision of the future for the organization or a unit of the organization, to motivate others to buy into that vision and to get it implemented” (Rice & Beamish, 2008). Kotter argues that leadership involved three key skills such as setting direction for the organization, aligning the people with the direction and motivating and empowering people (Rice & Beamish, 2008 pg.384). In case of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have got all these three skills. They have set the direction by having a mission to make information accessible to the world, aligning the employees with the direction by motivating and empowering employees. Google has created successful and creative employee environment that is visible manifestation of the culture, by providing the services like gym, pool tables, massage rooms, washing machine, video games and table tennis (Towers, 2006). Along with these facilities, company also provides free snack such as carrot, yoghurt, fresh fruits, gummy bears and M&Ms, it has also got reputable cafeteria providing coffee. Therefore Google has gone beyond basic physical needs to their employees such as financial advisor, doctors, dentists and massage therapist to get free from the stress of the work (Towers, 2006). For this reason, the company created an organizational culture that is of high levels of sociability. In addition, looking towards the motivational issue that has been identified by some of the authors, one of the issue is described by Kanter (1989), he believes that motivation is linked with culture with the five sources of motivation such as mission, agenda control, and share of value creation, learning and reputation (Towers, 2006). Looking towards the Kanter (1989), theory link of motivation to the culture the employees has very high level of motivation in the company.
For example, once the programming engineer was married in the morning and before going on his honeymoon in evening he work in afternoon in his office to make some changes to his project (Towers, 2006). This shows how the employee in the company is motivated to work for the company. Hence, the high level of motivation is not because of working environment and financial rewards from the company, if the Maslow’s hierarchy needs is measured, the company has gone beyond the physiological, safety, social and esteem needs. However, the unity between the employees and Google is further, improved by the empowerment of its employees and encouraging innovation (Towers, 2006). The Google has got 20% rule, in which the employees can spent time on whatever project they like, if the project becomes popular the employee can continue concentrating on that project as their main task (Towers, 2006). This 20% rule helps the employee to think outside of the box for innovating new products and this helps the Google to get success (Towers, 2006). Because of 20% rule the Google employee can spend 20% of their time in whatever project they like (Bytes, 2005). Google give the employee’s time to innovate new products and therefore the employees are more concerned in the organization. Therefore, it can be said that the structure of the Google is flat, as it provides their employees high responsibility to facilitate innovation (Towers, 2006). According to Edwards (2005), the empowerment of work to the employees and providing an opportunity to take decision and act upon those decision has provided Google employees to do innovate and do things quicker.
Looking towards the Denison (1990), views about culture, he believes that culture is integrated with the four factors such as involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission. The decision are made by involving the employees in the work, consistency implies the values and expectation are united in the organization, and hence the organization should be able to adopt its behavior, system and structure when ever it is needed, and in last the mission refers to existence of shared definition of purpose of the organization (Towers, 2006). Later Truskie (1999), refers to high performance organization culture that refers to the Denison (1990), work for the effectiveness of organizational culture. Truskie (1999), have got similarity with the work of Denison (1990), and he shows that four key elements exists for integrating the balance culture that is cooperation, consistency, achievement and inspiration (Tower, 2008). Truskie (1990), explains the four elements in different institutional groups, such as family, social institutions, scientific institutions and law enforcement. He believes that if these four elements combine together then the organizational culture can be more enriched. Truskie (1990), propose element of family with sharing and caring it means teamwork, this is summaries with the cooperation. Social institution refers to development and human growth this forms the inspiring part of model presented. Truskie sums up advancement and achievement that is positive element of scientific institution. And finally the law enforcement has efficiency and consistency this is summarized in the word consistency. Therefore, Truskie (1990), work is similar to Denison (1990), works (Tower, 2008). Further what Truskie (1999), refers to mission and Denison (1990) as inspiration, the employees in the Google truly believes that they are making difference to the world and the mission of the company is to organize the worlds information and make it accessible to the world (Towers, 2006). Therefore, the employees of Google have perceptive belief in the company’s mission and the opportunities they have at Google (Nelson & Quirk, 2005). This belief is because of high level of motivation in the employees, and the employees have strong belief because the values of the employees are aligned to that of the company (Towers, 2006).
Moreover the Kanter (1989), theory of linking motivation to culture include five forces mention above in the essay are linked with Denison (1990), and Truskie (1999), four forces and hence all these forces focus upon same universal ideas. Therefore, there is link between the motivation and culture, as the culture that is strongly integrated will frequently result in motivated employees (Towers, 2006). However, the Kotter (1992), and Heskett (1992), have recognized the idea of “culture fit”. The idea of culture fit is necessary to discuss the culture and performance because there is not “one best” culture (Towers, 2006). The best the culture fits, the best the organization will perform (Schein, 2004). Therefore, the culture is used as a mean to fix solution for organization to enhance its performance (Alvesson, 2002). Moreover, there are many studies carried out, one of is by Kotter & Heskett (1992), which describes the relationship between the organizational culture and its performance. The study shows that it is very important for the organization to understand its culture because the organizational culture has significant impact on organization long-term economic performance and therefore, it becomes more significant in the success and failure of the organization (Kotter & Heskett, 1992). Kotter and Heskett (1992), talks about the united culture, they say that the culture where the employees goals are aligned to that of the organizational culture are often thought as successful culture. In relation of link between culture and performance, Kotter and Heskett (1992), describe that there is link between culture and organizational culture they argues that organization should have high level of motivation in order to enhance the organization (Tower, 2008). In case of Google, the employee’s objectives are aligned with the company and this is the reason of success for the company. The founder of the company Sergey Brin and Larry Page have missionary keenness with regard to organize the worlds information and make is assessable to the world this permeates the organizational culture enthusing others in the Google mission, this mission is the center strength of the company (Edwards, 2005). Therefore, the employees of Google have a social bond to combine together in the company’s mission to make the world information accessible.
Taking an example of India, will show how the organization has maintained culture.
The company has roaming work environment that has lava lamps, massage chairs and beanbags chairs and along with this, it has the play area for football (Scott, 2008). Nevertheless the company was influenced by the Indian culture, but it has understand it properly and hence along with decors it is now also providing the free food such as chaat, Pringles, local fried snacks and Indian curries in the cafeteria (Scott, 2008). Further, it helps the company to easily transfer the Google culture in India because many of the Googlers working in the Mountain View Googleplex, were returned to India for further research in its new research center (Scott, 2008). Along with this, the company also provided the salary around three times more than its competitor, in addition the company believes that if the Googlers are well fed, relaxed, and comfortable then innovation and creativity are nurtured (Scott, 2008).
Once on the interview Lary and Sergery were asked if they were following any particular management or they made if up by themselves, they responded, “We try to use elements from different companies, but a lot is seat of your pants stuff” (Scott, 2008). Google has very few layer of management and hence it is a flat organization, however the flat organization works better in environments that need to quickly produce prototypes, test them and then decide whether to expand or reject them (Scott, 2008). Google has the group culture and hence all the decision involves the group and after a long discussion, the group of 15 or 20 makes the decision, while the founder and CEO of the company makes the major decisions (Scott, 2008). However, the company has good strategy of involving the group members in the decision and hence it helps the company to reduce the numbers of managers (Scott, 2008). In addition, when the director of human resources of the company Sullivan was asked to characterize the culture of the Google, she responded that it is team oriented and collaborative (Scott, 2008). She says that the people are motivated to think nontraditionally, working with integrity for benefit of the company and good for the world (Scott, 2008). Moreover, this is the overall mission of the company to make information accessible to the world. Therefore, this characteristic of the company helps Google to become innovative and productive think tanks in the world (Scott, 2008).
Further, looking towards the theory of Martin (1992), he says the cultures where employee’s values are aligned to the organizational goals works more effective, therefore he refers to culture where workers are unified (Tower, 2008). He distinguish the essential values and assumptions are shared and performed by all members of the culture, therefore the members know what they do and why the do. In relation to the integrated culture he proposes two viewpoint of organizational culture. First is ‘fragmented’ while there is little agreement among workers and organizational culture, and secondly ‘differentiated’ while the organizational values are merely embraced in parts of the organization (Tower, 2008). Further, Martin (1992), views are similar with the cultural model anticipated by Goffee and Jones (1996), simplifying culture into two proportions, sociability and solidarity creating matrix using these proportions. “This proportion consists of four culture, that is ‘fragmented’ (low sociability and low solidarity), ‘mercenary’ (high sociability and low solidarity), ‘networked’ (high solidarity and low sociability) and lastly, cultures in which employees have a high level of sociability and solidarity are referred to as ‘communal’ cultures” (Tower, 2008). Therefore within communal cultures workers get the job done effectively and efficiently. Hence in both the model prepared by Martin (1992), and Goffee and Jones (1996), has likeness because the model distinguish that organizational culture do exist where employees values are united to the organization and where communication within the organization is effective (Tower, 2008). Further, organization still faces the problem of culture because every organization has subculture, where the subcultures often have different set of values to that of the corporate culture. Martin (1992), express this type of culture as ‘differentiated’ and therefore, this type of culture do not perform well because of they are contradict to the organization culture (Tower, 2008). Moreover, even organizations with strong culture have subculture but they always look for emphasizing its culture upon subcultures in an effort to discourage oppose and effort to encourage organizational cohesion (Tower, 2008). In addition, this is necessary because the organizations which are doing well in the marketplace generally have the corporate cultures cohesive with the subcultures (Anthony, 1994).
In case of Google, it provides free movies to their employees and their families, free ski holidays, and because of this social excursion it has created a social relationship with the employees. Along with this Google also provides free 25 days holidays in a year, nursery care for their children and sports facilities, this helps the company to encourage its employees to work hard and play hard (Tower, 2008). Because of these fringe benefits provided by the Google to its employees help the company to create a social cohesion between the employees and this is very crucial for the effectiveness of the organization. Further, it can be said that using the matrix of Goffee and Jones (1996), Google has created a social bond with its employees, which results in high level of sociability (Tower, 2008).
Further, the Google has one of the most brilliant employees and therefore it helps the company to support innovation and empowerment. According to Cohn (2005), company is very careful in enrollment and selecting the right employees for the company has help Google to maintain its culture. As the founders Brin and Page are very intelligent they are able to recruit the best employees by playing a key role in the selection process, that are best fitted in the Google’s culture (Tower, 2008). Further, the policies of Google are different from other organization because the work experience counts for not as much of the educational background. According to Day (2005), the company does not employ employees who have worked for more than two years out of University. But further looking towards these policies of the company it can be argued that experience is must for the employees other than theoretical knowledge, because there are many organization where experience is needed along with the theoretical knowledge. However, the companies don’t believe this and therefore it can also influence Google in future. Moreover, the Google cultures attract young and creative employees and facilitate them to promote and share ideas, this helps Company to continually increase innovation (Tower, 2008). For example, ones the operation director of the company Brian Reid was fired unfairly out of the company, because he was not well-matched with the company’s culture that is youth and energy (Lohse, 2004). However, looking to this issue it can also be argued nevertheless it is the policies of the company but still this can be considered as an unethical practice.
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