Google started by 2 Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin Beginning in 1996, where they built a search engine called “BackRub” that used links to determine the importance of individual web pages. By 1998 they had formalized their work, creating the company you know today as Google.
Since then, the company based on a simple approach to search has become a leader in IT and one of the big companies in the world having ranks in top 100 best places to work in and highly profitable IT web-based and development companies.
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Google started with 20 employees in 1988 and since then, the company has grown to more than 20,000 employees worldwide, with a management team that represents some of the most experienced technology professionals in the industry 2000.
Google attraction was not just its innovative technology in web browsing or it is the lucrative return on employment that engineers and other people sow, it was a culture that the founders has created, embraced and emphasized as a unique way of working and producing efficiently, they have created a new working environment that is now a culture called the Google Culture.
What is this culture that is praised by many and citizen by others?
Culture refers to an organization’s values, beliefs, and behaviours. In general, it is concerned with beliefs and values on the basis of which people interpret experiences and behave, individually and in groups.
Usually, in most cases, a company is a reflection of its owner and later on its shareholders but in our case, it is a pure reflection of Larry Page and Sergey Brin and how they wanted their company to be and their working environment to look like. So, they have both adapted and created a series of steps that eventually create this Google culture that is based on.
The company is based on the core foundation of emotional intelligence & organizational culture where work is not a duty as much as a free space to express your intelligence and a culture that it belongs to you as you belong to it.
They created an accommodating culture for engineers “geeks”, a society of creative brains where their behaviours are common among others since they are usually regarded as outcasts and allowed their creativity to run freely with great self-esteem.
Also, Google concept and vision motivated innovation and this it has to rely on the challenge engineers need for achievement and the power it enables them when they feel accommodated, comfortable and in power over their creativity. Thus, they created a system of core values for their staff and what they also believe in through their contribution to Google. It is a culture of shared beliefs where each has the right to integrate freely and join in as they like.
It is again a culture that is unique to Google since the founders wanted to enjoy a loose working environment, create enabling environment where creativity and innovation come out as a result of no pressure, at comfort.
Here I can also relate to our study slides by in identifying how Google created such culture and why by adding that Google created this organizational structure (culture) based the productivity and motivation that produces a max output of creativity by all staff. HR capitalizes on its Human capacity by developing further comfortable working environment for engineers “geeks”.
Also since elephant can dance, but an elephant can be creative within the right environment that results in growth so they created an organizational structure that is flexible, quick, decentralized (no bureaucratic) and autonomous- flat project and product-based structure.
As an overall result, Google founder founded also a new culture that perfectly suits their high calibre elite, hand-selected engineers in their dynamic competitive and flexible hybrid structure of flat and structured culture so they can enjoy a great sense of belonging and affiliation from others. This is called the Google culture.
“Inspiring Culture- Inspirational Leadership individually and teamwork – Creating a Culture for Innovation- Competitive Culture- Kaizen Culture – a new concept of a teamwork culture.”
“Culture refers to an organization’s values, beliefs, and behaviours. In general; it is concerned with beliefs and values on the basis of which people interpret experiences and behave, individually and in groups.”
2- To what extent is their organisational culture going to facilitate/constrain their future growth? Assume that Google plans to continue growing at pre-recession rates. Your recommendations/opinion part should cover the changes that Google will need to make in their organisational culture to cope with the future size of their organisation?
Google has reached a high level of innovation, uniqueness and differentiation from other companies in the way they do business, innovate, and in the way their culture is. Growth has been a good friend to Google and the company has made tremendous amounts of money in the recent year taking into consideration that their operations are 40% outside the USA. Google pulled in $5.37 billion in revenues last quarter, and $1.25 billion in net profits (nearly ten times what Yahoo made last quarter)
“Google has 17,000 employees with about 40% based outside the US. The workforce is multicultural, diverse and spread across the globe. “Continuous Innovation” has been the motto of Google and that has permeated across all divisions at Google”
Google will still realize growth and its uniqueness will still be there but it will not be able to maintain such growth rate with maintaining the same working environment and the Google culture. With growth, there are challenges especially when you become large in human power and your working culture lack professional discipline.
As we all know, as a company grows, its spectrum of business growth and therefore it will have to face growth challenges. For Google, growth means more staff and more expansion into international arenas where the Google culture might not be welcomed as it is in many countries.
Also, the working behaviour of managers cannot be also kept as it is now with a loose environment.
As a matter of fact, goggles started hiring more managers to manage the big number of staff and group them into product, project teams. This shows that the starting outlook of this Google culture will have to eventually change and rules and regulations must be put forth to meet the highly competitive challenge and completion from other companies.
Schmidt has realized the challenge ahead and has commented by saying even though our culture is still embraced and adapted by the founders however with growth comes changes and traditional especially that this structure and culture is in a way chaotic and random based on just fostering innovation but not management from the ground up. Now engineers have to be managers and this means management skills, discipline professionalism.
The challenges they are facing now that could alter their culture and set more managerial rules are: Slow Decision making- Ensuring Visibility as per the founder vision- Guaranteeing International Consistency with expansion and change of cultural working backgrounds- Strategic Diversification – Driver for future growth
“Schmidt once described “small innovative technical teams” as the source of virtually all Google’s strategic initiatives. Google tries to maintain an entrepreneurial culture by forming small teams that act like individual startups. The founders believed that the groups tend to become more traditional as they grow larger.” ibid
Nonetheless, Google now faces a new challenge which is employees defect to another IT giant. So the Google culture is not the major attraction to Google anymore. This explains the new strategy they have to adapt while still maintaining their originality in their Google culture.
In my opinion, Google will need to organize their management and operating style within their Google culture way which is not easy since it might not be totally acceptable to switch from loose and super confortable to more structure and management oriented by project approach.
This will cause some sensitivity among staff who got used to being independent and now their growth will have to impose a new style of management that is more or less dependent within polices , rules and regulations.
Having said that, Google HR has a difficult task to maintain the vision of the founder within the new structure and new business approach since other big it companies are attracting some of their staff.
In addition, Google will have to have a shared common vision and management across all its divisions and geographical locations otherwise it will also create waste and gaps and this was also evident in many projects being duplicated due to complete independency in other countries.
“Googley” culture has been attributed to risk-taking/experimentation, design for the world, engage beginners and attract experts, focus on human touch, flexibility and pragmatism. As long as Google can maintain control, competence, collaboration and cultivation of customer enrichment values, the diversification of businesses may not affect the reputation and the innovation culture as it exists now. Retaining rigour and discipline, leading from the top and embracing the spirit of venture capitalist are very critical to Google.”
In the end, Google will eventually need to change internal procedure and project a more business professional standards since now they are hiring more managers that engineers and engineers are becoming manager, the world of innovation is lead and driven by management standards and this what Google need to infuse into its culture to maintain and meet new growth dimensions otherwise, there will be restrains to their growth.
Chap 3- slide 3
Ibid Sld 12,13
Ibid – Sld 16,19
sld 4,5 Chap 4
Ibid sld 7,14
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