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  1. 1. Laetitia ChaynesTiphaine L.Alexandra L.Tim F.Pierre J.Daniel P.Tristan S.27/02/2009
  2. 2. 1°) Analyze the organizational culture at Google and how it contributed to the success of the company.To analyze the organizational culture at Google, it seems that first we should ask “What isOrganizational culture”. If we refer to Edgar Shein, organizational culture is “a pattern ofshared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems that has worked wellenough to be considered valid and is passed on to new members as the correct way toperceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems1."In a simple way, we could say that it is the workplace environment formulated from theinteraction of the employees in the workplace. Organizational culture is defined by all of thelife experiences, strengths, weaknesses, education, upbringing, and so forth of the employees.While executive leaders play a large role in defining organizational culture by their actionsand leadership, all employees contribute to the organizational culture. It can be seen as theidentity of a company.Let’s now have a look on Google’s specific organizational culture and try to understand howit has brought the company to this world-known success.First of all, let’s say that from the very beginning, the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brinwanted to make Google a fun place to work. When they were students, both of them enjoyedmaking roller skater2. They decided to keep this young and dynamic spirit within theircompany. So, they organized roller skater hockey matches for employees, allowed people tohave their pets in the work place, provided recreational facilities (workout gyms, assortedvideo games, pool table…).This aspect of Google’s culture has became very popular among employees and all over theworld. Larry Page and Sergey understood well the fact that good work conditions result of agood harmony among employees, and allow better result. The fact that people are allowed toarrange their office exactly as they want, all the freedom given to them contribute to Google’satypical culture and also to its success. Indeed, a good work environment is a key factor for acompany’s success.As said in the article “Leadership that gets result”, written by Daniel Goleman, the“organizational climate is the only driver of performance, economic conditions andcompetitive dynamics matter enormously” 3. What does the term “climate” mean? The authordefines 6 key factors that influence an organization’s working environment: flexibility,responsibility, standards, rewards, clarity, and commitment. This organizational climate1 Edgar Schein, Organizational culture and leadership, 20042 Goleman, Daniel (2000) Leadership that gets results, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, vol. 2, p.80 2
  3. 3. accounts for a third of the result of the company. In fact, Google’s culture could be seen asone of the main factor of Google’s success. In increasing the freedom given to the employees,giving them idealistic work conditions, let them opportunities to work on project they like,giving them autonomy and so on, Google increased its own success.One important point in Google’s organizational culture is the fact that its ethic has neverchanged since its creation. This is a part of the specific culture of Google. The spirit of thecompany has remained simple, and even after it went on the stock market, which is very rarefor such companies. But this spirit is also emphasized by the fact that both Page and Brin hasdeveloped, also from the beginning an open communication across the organization.Indeed, they believed in the fact that people should be able to discuss without any restrictionswith the top manager of the company. Moreover, communication was encouraged betweenthe different department of the company, to allow people to learn and improve on their skillsand knowledge. Everything is made to create a strong team spirit, commitment for Google: byoffering great cafeteria where googlers can meet googlers from various departments, makinggooglers work by team on different projects…Then, putting the person in the center of attention is also part of Google’s culture. Indeed,there is no management structure, because they don’t want to have someone telling peoplewhat to do or not to do. Leadership at Google’s is rotating among team members, no one ismanaged. The fact that at Google everybody is the boss, that people can take initiative is agreat part of Google’s Culture.So we can say this organizational culture with open communication and wellbeing is the keyfactor of the Google success. If we referred to an old theory described by Elton Mayo, we cansee the link between this organizational culture and this success.Mayo went further in the Taylor theory called “Scientific management”. Taylor explainedhow to improve productivity without take care of the labor conditions. Mayo studied effects toadd advantages for employees in the Taylor system. After many experiences, the Hawthorneworks is the most famous; Mayo proved that the productivity of workers improves when wetake care of them4. This is a thing that Sergey and Larry understood pretty well and theyapplied this method in their company.4 3
  4. 4. 2°) Analyze the leadership at Google and how it contributed to the success of the companyTo become a good leader in the today business’ world it is expected more than just to showthe direction of the company. Leaders should motivate, build a culture, solve problems, setstrategies and overall, they are responsible for the outcome of projects or the businessworkflow.In our Case study about “Google´s Organizational Culture” it is illustrated that Google’s kindof leadership is different compared to other companies. With over 20.000 employees thecompany needs a good working leadership and organization.To achieve this enormous growth and permanent innovations of their products and featuresGoogle uses a mixture of distinct leadership styles.Referring to the article “Leadership that gets results” by Daniel Goleman the authordistinguish between six different leadership styles: Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative,Democratic, Pacesetting and Coaching leadership. These styles have a big impact on theclimate and the result of a company. 5Through the open communication across theorganization which implies e.g. open office doors and a huge cafeteria, the employees get thepossibility to talk and discuss directly with the top management. It also enables to create arelationship between the people who work in various departments.This kind of style represents the “Affiliative style” which “creates harmony and buildsemotional bonds”. By creating the open atmosphere in the company, Google profits fromemployees who communicate. According to this they share their ideas and concepts. As aresult this style increases flexibility. People don’t get under pressure and can work in the mosteffective way. The positive environment makes people happier; there is more harmony andloyalty between the people. This supports the communication and finally, labours are moreproductive. 6Another important style that Google uses in its leadership is called “Authoritative style”. Herethe leader gives employees a lot of leeway to develop their own ideas and the freedom toinnovate and to experiment. The leader mobilizes the teams towards a clear vision. Withinthis vision he expects to get feedback from the people where all kind of responses arewelcome. Google implements this style by forming teams who are allowed to act freely and to5 Goleman, Daniel (2000) Leadership that gets results, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, vol. 2, p.806 Goleman, Daniel (2000) Leadership that gets results, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, vol. 2, p.84 Subhadra, K (2004) Google’s Organizational Culture p.5 4
  5. 5. handle their projects in a sense of complete freedom. This concept let people feel that they areuseful for the company and that their ideas lead to a part of the success.7By involving and encouraging the employees to share their ideas concerning new productdevelopments and features, Google creates a collaboration atmosphere. This Democratic styledrives up responsibility among the employees. They have a say in decisions and a realisticview of how to achieve a goal. 8To sum up, Google’s leadership is based on various styles which have the best climate andbusiness performance. In that way it makes it easy for the company to encourage theiremployees and get a permanent growth.For Google their employees are very special. In the recruitment process they only take thebest. However they are focusing very strictly on the analytical intelligence (IQ) of theircandidates. Emotional intelligence is ignored in the recruitment process. Although thecompany tries to create emotional intelligence among their employees by using opencommunication across the organization. Emotional intelligence consists of Self-Awareness,Self-Management, Social Awareness and no Social Skills which are important and necessaryskills. Leadership can be found in every level of the organization; sometimes you cannot seeit directly. This could be one problem of Google’s organization. Analytical intelligence isonly one part of intelligence. Analytical intelligence is not the only intelligence which aperson has. People have to manage and use their emotions, perceiving and understanding theemotions of colleagues and customers.9SolutionsIn our opinion Google should focus more on emotional intelligence (EI) and culturalintelligence (CI) than exclusively on analytical intelligence. We see that the environment isvery important for Google. Compared with our Leadership styles we can notice that Googleuses just Styles which have a positive effect on the company’s climate. “The Coercive Style”which drives to achieve and the “Pacesetting Style” which sets high standards forperformance are not relevant in the Leadership culture of Google, because they affect theclimate in a negative way.Otherwise should Google integrate a better understanding of peoples relationships throughsupport of emotional intelligence e.g. experience improves EQ. The interaction betweendifferent components of business leadership tends to company’s success. Therefore ismotivation, Cultural Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence and analytical intelligenceimportant.7 Goleman, Daniel (2000) Leadership that gets results, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, vol. 2, p.838 Goleman, Daniel (2000) Leadership that gets results, Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, vol. 2, p.859 Alon, Ilan; Higgins, James M.(2005). Global leadership success through emotional and cultural intelligences.Business Horizons, vol. 48 Issue 6, p501-512 5
  6. 6. 3°) Analyze the relationship between organizational culture and leadership at Google.First of all, we can say that Google doesn’t use a traditional leadership like for example onemanager for a team. Normally the manager meets his team and discuss about differentproblems, but in Google the person are directly faced with their problems. There is flathierarchy, so they don’t need to referred to their boss because there are own boss. The twofounders defined a different way to work within the organization. The basis of their leadershipis that there is no manager but everyone is a manager. As it is said in the text case “You arethe boss. Don’t wait to take the hill. Don’t wait to be managed”.10Furthermore at the beginning of the foundation, Larry and Serguey, worked together as ateam without organization and hierarchy. Both of them were equal in decisions making. Thisled to a lot of innovations and product varieties.As they could see this concept drove to success and to the increase of their company. Theycarry on using an open atmosphere among the employees and avoid implementingmanagement structures.They still focus on a working atmosphere in teams where each team member has the sameinfluence of the project. Team work has always been an important an efficient way of creatingand inventing new thoughts. This has been the theory of the founders already from thebeginning of the establishment. In this case, leadership and organizational culture are strongly linked because this kind ofmanagement became their organizational culture. This way of leading became a referencewithin google organization and for other companies. 4°) Is this type of organizational culture and leadership a long term option for an organization? Can such an organization survive? Is it even possible to maintain such an organizational culture long term or is bureaucracy is inevitable? If yes, How? If no, why? Justify your stand. In on hand we thought that this kind of organization can survive in a long term periodbecause we saw that Google is a very powerful company and increase its benefits every year.Moreover, Google is the only company that did not experience any turnover because theiremployees love working for the company and so they don’t leave. And as everyone knows,10 Hammonds, Keith H., How Grows…and Grows…and Grows, Fast Company, April 2003. 6
  7. 7. it’s very important to keep the same employees for financial or productivity reasons forexample. Furthermore, the framework, Googleplex, is ideal. They have also lot of advantageslike free food, or many sport and pleasure area in the Googleplex. People who work inGoogle are young, motivated, clever, smart and sociable. The two founders want a funatmosphere at work and it works because the Googlers can do almost everything for thecompany and that lead to the success of Google that we know today. That’s why we can saythat this kind of organization could work. However, there are a lot of critics about Google organizational culture and leadership.A lot of people are septic about the future of Google. First of all, this kind of organizationcould work with very responsible and autonomous persons. In this case, the Googlers do whatthey want, for example they are late to the meeting, they play or talk during presentations…Maybe they are too free in their work, that’s why we can notice a lack of respect and toomuch arrogance from the employees. Google Company is very good at advertising giving a good image from itself butsometimes the reality is different. As it is said in the paper “Google’s organizational culture”,it is common for the employees to work 12 hours per day.11 Besides, the recruitment process is focus only on “the academic record and graduateranks of the applicant rather than on experience”.12 About bureaucracy we think that, in a long term period, no bureaucracy at all, is notreally possible. People need a minimum of structure to work well and in this case, theorganization is pretty fuzzy with a lack of hierarchy and a lack of unity of command at the toplevel. Many people are recruited by Google for the same work, and they have samequalification. So if we have to refer to too many persons at the same time it difficult to takegood decisions.13 We think that for this moment, Google is economically a huge success so they don’thave any problem with their organizational culture but it could be a problem if they do lessprofit one day. It is not good to have too much pressure, but we consider that some pressureand some behavior rules (for the meeting for example) are better if it’s correctly proportioned.Google started to realize that it gave maybe too much to its employees and maybe realizedthat it’s not a good way to work for its budget. That’s why some month ago they decided tooffer free breakfast and lunch but not free dinner anymore.1411 « Google’s organizational culture » by K Subhadra. P 712 « Google’s organizational culture » by K Subhadra. P 713 « Google’s organizational culture » by K Subhadra. P 814 2009/02/25 7