Decision Making at Google

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Decision Making at Google Inc.
Google defines itself as a non-conventional company which intentionally avoids the traditional management models. “Google has been managed differently in an atmosphere of creativity and challenge.” That said by Eric Schmidt, CEO, who also affirms that the business is driven according what Peter Drucker understood as a way to manage the “knowledge workers” in 1959. The idea was first described in his book 'The Landmarks of Tomorrow'. "We know now that the source of wealth is something specifically human: knowledge. If we apply knowledge to tasks we already know how to do, we call it 'productivity'. If we apply knowledge to tasks that are new and different we call it 'innovation'. Only knowledge allows us to achieve these two goals." (Drucker 1992 p263)

“The most valuable assets of a 20th-century company were its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity."(Drucker 1999, P135) 

According Drucker, knowledge workers believe they are paid to be effective. Those that succeed managing knowledge workers will attract the best performers and will secure competitive advantage. Google seeks that advantage, by drawing management on good ideas caught in many distinct sources and creating a few new ones, which leads to the ten key principles used at Google to make knowledge workers most effective. Principles 7, 8 and 9 are directly related to the decision making process: * 7th Strive to reach consensus

* 8th Don't be evil
* 9th Data drive decisions
The 8th principle also turned to be the informal corporate motto. What are the implications of this motto for the decision making process at Google Co.? One example of its impact on the decisions made as a corporation is the China case. By 2010, when Chinese government decided to push Google to apply censorship technology on the company’s services operated through the Chinese domain in Beijing (, a polemic was created around the subject of Google’s decision to attend or not the governmental impositions, which could be in conflict with the corporation’s mission and values as declared on the company’s website: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible & useful” Information is not universally accessible when censorship policies are applied. Regardless of all the generated discussion, Google decided to remain operating the services under Chinese government inspection at the domain .cn and also apparently assures free operation under the domain .hk (Hong Kong), with the aim to grow market share in that region. In a 2004 interview with Playboy magazine, Google co-founders Brin and Page were questioned directly about the implications of the “Don’t Be Evil” motto for the decision whether or not to enter China. The reporter asked: “What would you do if you had to choose between compromising search results and being unavailable to millions of Chinese?” Brin had replied: “These are difficult questions, difficult challenges. Sometimes the ‘don’t be evil’ policy leads to many discussions about what exactly is evil. One thing we know is that people can make better decisions with better information.” Diagnostic & Analysis

According Daft (2007, p.298), organizational decision making is formally defined as the process of identifying and solving problems, in two stages: problem identification and problem solution. Its complexity can be categorized as programmed – when a set of rules drives decisions, and nonprogrammed – when there is uncertainty about whether a proposed solution will solve the problem. Those decisions involve strategic planning, because uncertainty is great and decisions are complex. Managers and organizations are dealing with a higher percentage of nonprogrammed decisions because of the rapidly changing business environment. At Google, where high technology plays a...
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