The Organizational Culture in Google, Inc.

The working environment in Google Inc. is different from many companies. It tends to foster innovation, loyalty, and creativity amongst employees and cultivates open communication. With subsidized massages, company gym, basketball courts and bowling alleys, afternoon volleyball breaks, and free chef-prepared dishes, Google has been the best company to work for, for four consecutive times according to Fortune magazine (Steiber & Alänge, 2013). The working environment in Google has been influenced greatly by the organizational culture cultivated therein. Organizational culture is the collection of values and beliefs that determine how employees conduct themselves in the workplace, how the organization handles its workforce, and what the working environment is like. Google Inc. has built an open organizational culture that permits full transparency and free flow of information as well as a working environment that supports innovation, creativity, and flexibility (Steiber & Alänge, 2013). As a result, the company has developed some significant products with an emphasis on innovation such as Picasa, e-mail, Google Maps, and social networking, among others.

Structure of Google

It has a flat structure which minimizes the number of middle and upper-level management. Reduction of middle and upper managers eliminates unnecessary oversight, which can limit employees’ productivity thus being intimidating. As such, the structure allows employees to exercise their discretion in decision-making, enhancing creativity, and lessen micro-management. To encourage problem-solving skills and innovation insights among employees, the company disposed of its project managers in 2001. It then reinstated a few to provide guidance and support to the employees. The flat structure utilized in the company permits every employee to air their input; even the new hires can communicate their ideas without discrimination (Steiber & Alänge, 2013).

Furthermore, the open culture in the company allows a free and real-time sharing of information and ideas throughout all levels of the company. To develop and sustain the open culture, the company has a forum known as TGIF meetings every Friday, in which top executives and founders meet with all employees. During these meetings, employees are encouraged to ask any question as well as share their opinions and ideas. This technique gives an employee confidence when performing their assigned projects. To facilitate real-time sharing of information and ideas, the company has an open-door policy to any office as well as an open line of communication through emails and meetings (Hill, Jones, & Schilling, 2014). Such a policy allows the employees to undertake personal projects, utilizing the company’s resources.

Data Collection

The analysis of Google’s organizational culture is conducted at its head office in Mountain View, North Carolina. It has over 40,000 employees around the world with 20,000 of them being full-time employees. In addition, the head office has over 200 employees. In the current paper, the researcher collected the data about the company’s organizational culture through observation, previous studies on the same subject, and interview. Out of the over 200 employees, the researcher interviewed a sample size of 20 employees. The questions asked of them pertained to the organizational culture in Google on the premise of values, artifacts, and underlying assumptions in the company. Moreover, the researcher collected the data on work relationships, atmosphere and culture, office outlays and decorations as well as the training and evaluation methods in the company.

 

Analysis

  1. Artifacts

Artifacts include what a company considers important and meaningful. Observable artifacts are the company’s beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. According to the responses of 10 senior employees who have worked at the company for more than eight years, the company applies visible artifacts to define its organizational culture. They concur that in over 70 offices worldwide, there are decorations and murals which dignify the resident nature of the different offices, yurts, and joint cubicles as well as whiteboards for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming. Apart from that, previous studies reveal that Google has consistently characterized its culture through the quality of the services it offers. Through its investment in human resource, the company has been considered over time as the leading advertising entity (Hogan & Coote, 2014).

The researcher’s observations indicate that there is a belief in the company that it is not a must for one to be in a suit to be treated with respect. Dress code in Google is not a subject of concern, as the company insists that the work itself is what matters (Hogan & Coote, 2014). It is also evident that employees have a cordial working relationship and positive work atmosphere majorly created by the management. A perfect example that illustrates this is the company’s statement concerning their culture which indicates that the design of their offices and cafes encourages interactions across teams and facilitates conversations about work and leisure time (Hogan & Coote, 2014).

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  1. Values

Through the influence of its founders, Google is known for instilling confidence in its employees. Management strives to serve as an example to employees by modeling the values expected in the firm. All the interviewees agreed that this aspect is emphasized in-depth by the management. Apart from each employee being given their own booklet containing the detailed code of conduct, they also participate in training sessions to ensure they fit in the company’s values. From the previous studies, the researcher was able to disclose that Google regularly communicates these core beliefs to employees through company newsletters and in-office posters (Hogan & Coote, 2014). This trend indicates how the company believes in its values and reinforces them.

Furthermore, the researcher observed that to deliver high-quality services, Google values its customers greatly. This point is proven by their tagline for product development, which states that the developer should focus on the user and everything else will fall into place. There is another popular phrase in the company that seeks to motivate employees to aspire for greatness. As per it, “Great just isn’t good enough” (Hogan & Coote, 2014). Thus, it can be deduced that it is bound to boost confidence and motivation in employees as well as the belief that they can achieve more, that they have done well, but there is still room for improvements. Another classic example to illustrate how values are regarded in Google is the company’s weekly TGIF meetings, which provides a platform for employees to enquire about all issues the company from the founders demonstrating humility and transparency as a core value.

  1. Underlying Assumptions

These are determinants which underlie an organization’s thoughts, actions, attitudes, and processes. However, people are usually unaware of their influence and take them for granted. Despite that, values provide an unspoken sense of security in various aspects of the workplace (Hogan & Coote, 2014). Since they are not something tangible, it was hard for the interviewees to respond about them clearly. However, the reported exciting and fun working environment in the company points out to certain underlying assumptions. For instance, previous studies indicate that Google has appropriate, friendly, and rewarding training and evaluation methods, which, in turn, requires certain underlying assumptions and values. The researcher observed that the statement from “Ten Things We Know to Be True”, that great just is not good enough, indicates that there are particular beliefs taken to ensure that the company’s constant dissatisfaction drives them to get further than they expected (Hogan & Coote, 2014).

Conclusion

In comprehending the organizational culture of Google, the researcher acknowledges that the data collected in some instances could have been influenced by the researcher’s observation inadequacies as well as those of the respondents and previous studies. Despite that, it can be concluded that Google Inc. has an organizational culture that makes it a dream employer of any candidate, as it allows employees to exercise their freedom and judgment with minimal supervision. What makes this culture positive is that it regards being great as a starting point rather than an endpoint (Steiber & Alänge, 2013).

 

References

Hill, C. W., Jones, G. R., & Schilling, M. A. (2014). Strategic management: Theory & cases: An integrated approach. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Hogan, S. J., & Coote, L. V. (2014). Organizational culture, innovation, and performance: A test of Schein’s model. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1609-1621.

Steiber, A., & Alänge, S. (2013). A corporate system for continuous innovation: the case of Google Inc. European Journal of Innovation Mana