Google's culture is what defines its leadership style, power structure, motivation theories, and its employees' commitment to the company. Google states on its own website "though Google has grown a lot since it opened in 1998, we still maintain a small company feel. At lunchtime, almost everyone eats in the office café, sitting at whatever table has an opening and enjoying conversations with Googlers from different teams. Our commitment to innovation depends on everyone being comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. Every employee is a hands-on contributor, and everyone wears several hats. Because we believe that each Googler is an equally important part of our success, no one hesitates to pose questions directly to Larry or Sergey in our weekly all-hands (“TGIF”) meetings – or spike a volleyball across the net at a corporate officer" (Google, 2010). In order to understand how the culture of Google affects the aforementioned leadership, power, motivation, and commitment, a closer examination is required.
Google's leadership style is not top-down. Based on their flat organization style the company is more democratic than autocratic in its culture. According to Karen Goodwin at Google, "We're a highly collaborative culture... There's no top-down hierarchy" (Yung, 2007 p1). The founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin are still active in the day-to-day operation of the company. For a couple of billionaires it is interesting they are still so passionate about the company considering all the other options they have with such accumulated wealth. However, they created a company culture "that deeply believes in delegation. Individual employees are encouraged to speak their mind from the first day, and even decisions classically reserved for management, such as hiring, are done through a collaborative process" (Johansson, 2010). It can easily be seen that the leadership style of Google is to promote a robust open communication environment where all employees are encouraged to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. Power
The source of power at Google rests within the employee base at large. There are no managers setting employee agendas, but rather employees are expected to do so without supervision. In Building a 'Googley' Workforce Sara Kehaulani Goo states of Google's approach to innovation that "generous, quirky perks keep employees happy and thinking in unconventional ways, helping Google innovate as it rapidly expands into new lines of business" (Goo, 2006). Part of Google's business strategy is innovation and it recognizes that innovation comes from every employee, not just the top management. Greg Johansson states in his article "organizationally, Google maintains a casual and democratic atmosphere, resulting in its distinction as a 'Flat' company. The company does not boast a large middle management, and upper management is so hands on, it’s hard to qualify them in a separate category. Teams are made up of members with equal authority and a certain level of autonomy is maintained" (Johansson, 2010). This shows that the source of power is disseminated throughout the organization and that at every level employees are empowered to make decisions that at many companies must come from the upper management. This departure from the typical top-down power structure is one of the reasons Google can and does innovate so quickly since every member of company has an open forum to express new ideas and thoughts about how to improve things.
The motivation of the employees of Google is the easiest thing to see in the company. The company encourages its employees to plan their workday thus allowing for a freedom for each employee that allows them to find their own personal best motivation to do their job to the best of their ability. An article at Blogs.Reuters.com about an interview with Nikesh Arora, Google’s President of Global Sales Operations and Business Development...
References: Google. (2010). The Google Culture, Retrieved December 3, 2010, from http://www.google.com/corporate/culture.html.
Rudegeair, Peter. (2010), Google 's Culture of Yes, Retrieved December 4, 2010, from http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2010/11/19/googles-culture-of-yes/.
Johansson, G. (2010), Google: The World 's Most Successful Corporate Culture, Retrieved December 4, 2010, from http://www.suite101.com/content/google-the-worlds-most-successful-corporate-culture-a242303.
Yung, K. (27 August). Engine for change: Head of Google 's Ann Arbor office works to build business that can boost state 's economy. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, Page 1. Retrieved December 6, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Complete. (Document ID: 1325995971).
Wright, A. (2008). At Google, It Takes A Village To Hire an Employee. HRMagazine, 5356. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.
Goo, S. (2006). Building a 'Googley ' Workforce, Retrieved December 5, 2010, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/20/AR2006102001461.html.
Strickland, J. (2010). How Google Works, Retrieved December 6, 2010, from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/google6.htm.
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