Sergey Brim and Larry Page together founded this company whose name has become a synonym to the word search and is there on the most viewed pages on almost every browser. The company with the mission statement - "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" is none other than "GOOGLE". This name originated by playing around with the word 'guggol' which means 1 followed by hundred 0's and was only established when Sun's co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim gave a $100,000 check for this entity.
It was founded on September 4th 1998 and has its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Since then it has only grown and multiplied its product range. They have created a new definition for search engine. Their different outlook towards the definition of a search engine is what made them different. In the words of Larry Page "A perfect search engine is something that understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want." With offices across the globe they now have around 30 products in their basket each of them successful and adding profits to the parent group.
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The success of Google is rooted on its exceptional and outstanding organizational practices and core competencies. Fortune has defined Google as the best place to work for. Google in their organization maintain a casual work atmosphere. They have a 'flat' hierarchal structure which shows their decision makings which are relatively democratic in nature. Google does not have a large middle management even the teams are made in a way that each member has almost equivalent authority so as to maintain a certain level of autonomy in the company. In the words of Karen Godwin, The Office's Online Sales and Operations Manager "We are a highly collaborative culture, there is no top-down hierarchy."
Larry Page and Sergey Brin still play a very active role in the company's day to day activities. But the leadership is more over democratic in nature. A corporate culture has been created that deeply believes in delegation. Individual employees are encouraged to speak what they think and decisions that are normally classically reserved for the management like hiring, are also done through a collaborative process. They are a classical example of a loose-tight company where there is autonomy amongst the employees with regulations established through the company's single unifying philosophy.
Innovation is very important in Google and is thus very critical to its work force as well since it entered the global environment in 2003. They have realised that managing in the global environment requires managing the ability to manage change through innovation and creativity. They also have strong belief in teamwork. Google attributed most of its success to it. The teams are given freedom about their working hours and the process they want to follow while the restriction only exists for the time of submission.
As googlers hail from all walks of life and speak multiple languages and reflect the global world that google is functioning in. Thus, Organizational communication is one of the main factors that make Google what it is today. It helps serve four major functions in the organization - control, motivation, emotional expression and information. Googlers communication process is free and open. Through this potential ideas are discussed which in the future might create changes. It also helps maintain values and relationships that are necessary to keep the organization united. Everyone in the organization including upper management like Larry and Sergie are involved in making it a success.
These googlers function in multiple small groups or teams that have a project manager assigned to them. Each group is independent. It is as iff there are many start ups within the start up. This is because of the philosophy of the founders to keep the entrepreneurial culture on within the organization. They implement what they know works while using the founder's success as their template to promote entrepreneurial spirit that in turn promotes innovation. They also feel that these entrepreneurial teams when they focus on only one problem can bring out a lot better solutions than when multiple problems are brought into frame. These groups are overlooked by committee's that bring these solutions or innovations out in the market. However, with these tiny work groups comes responsibility tand the need for creativity There is also free movement of employees from one team to another. Thus if a Googler wants to work with another team he or she can do so without the need to take permissions.
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Google also boasts of certain unique cultural aspects. These factors are a great influence to making google the best company to work for. They provide employees with both intrinsic as well as extrinsic rewards. As they have understood that employees are not always encouraged by pay incentives alone. Aspects like TGIF- thank god its Friday their weekly hands on meetings where there is free flow of ideas make an integral part of their culture, employees are empowered to directly ask questions to Larry Page. Google I/O a two day event where all the google employees meet and have a chance to migle with each other. Employees are encouraged to consider office as their home where they are even allowed to bring their pets along with them. There is a free flow of food for the employees from chips to gourmet cooked meals, they are provided facilities like bed, washing area etc as well and all of this doesn't cost a penny for the employee. They are given flexibility in their working hours and sometimes even given the option to work from home. Employees along with this are also given a small portion of the company's shares every year. Googlers also pursue interests after work hours which are fully encouraged by google ranging from cycling to bee keeping. Google employees enjoy a comprehensive benefit package that includes, health, dental, tuition reimbursement, child care center, adoption assistance, on-site doctor etc. All these factors have caused a strong loyalty in all the employees towards the organization.
Google has come up with these unique proposal that has changed the whole facet of organizational culture where they have empowered their employees to give 20% of their working hours towards working on their own projects or projects of their interest. Encouraging a lot of personal time and growth opportunities to the employees. The only condition to this is that it should enhance google in some way. It has been observed that a huge portion of google's innovations and ideas have come from this 20% of time given to employees.
To top it all up Google has hired a Culture Czar, Stacy Sullivan. Her job profile comprises of only one thing which is to make the Google employees happy.
Page and Brin while creating the organization had kept in mind that they did not want an organization with a lot of drama, backstabbing, neediness and general discord amongst employees and have till a great extent been successful in achieving so.
However shiny the picture of Google work seems it is not all rainbows and stars there are some negative aspects to it as well. The absence of a core management structure is leaving a lot of employees without a definite working pattern which has sometimes led to organization conflicts. The presence of immense amount of diversity in the organization has caused all these rifts as each employee has different values and experience for different situations. The lack of organizational structure also forces google to constantly review job descriptions, positions etc.
Another problem is the complains that have risen from contractual employees that unjust treatment is taking place. The problem with google is problematic employee relations and work ethics. The contractual employees which comprise of 30% of Google's employee work force are not given any employee benefits. To tackle this problem Google has made certain alterations in their hiring process and also reduced the required working hours in order to reduce stress. Due to the presence of flexible working hours It has been observed in most Googlers that's they are unable to reach on time or maintain time constraints and are infact generally late for appointments. A negative effect of the layed back culture google propagates.
In my view point the way Google functions has given them the competitive advantage as compared to other firms. However, this might not hold true in the future, as with different leaders comes different leadership styles which in turn changes the culture and functioning of the organization. There is also the fact that the competitors of google are watching the moves of google very closely. A new and constant innovation is what will keep google on the top and keep the employees highly motivated. Work culture enhancement and catering to employee needs as and when they arise will help them retain
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All these problems created by the organizational culture are very minimal and have had no real impact on the organization in all the employees are very satisfied with their company and the company is believed to be one of the strongest companies in terms of work culture. The employees here are self motivated and engage in minimal amount of politics but have a one set mind to work for the betterment of the company as well as themselves. Each employee is encouraged and taught to work efficiently in a team and while individual growth is encouraged team development is held very closely to the heart in Google. There is a harmony in the working style even though there is a multi-cultural presence within the organization and effective and encouraging leadership skills have empowered google to very easily work towards growth and managing global changes.