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Topics: Strategic management, Strategic planning, Management Pages: 30 (7804 words) Published: December 3, 2013
Strategic Management » Manage Decisions

03/12/2013 17:12

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Strategic Management
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Wed 27 Oct 2010

Google & Innovation Culture – Challenges ahead
Posted by anil under Academic, Innovation, MBA, Strategic Management No Comments
As Google gets bigger, it is going to be difficult to manage and keep up the innovation culture as it keeps marching on its path to success. 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. 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 has a flat management structure but structured processes, managed bottom-up for innovation, culture of consensus, tolerance for chaos, and committees to approve projects, free food and best perks in the industry. Google has been successful in attracting great talent with “Googley” qualities – self-managed, self-motivated, risk-taking, highly passionate and creative minds with a tenacity to adapt to failures.

I believe that this culture can be sustained but may suffer if the management becomes rigid and prioritizes profits over innovation for the long-term. As evident from the case, Google is able to maintain coordination and teamwork across multiple functional groups – online sales and operations, product management, marketing and engineering divisions. There is no hierarchy, but as the headcount increased Google started hiring managers at middle level and there was growing fear of more bureaucracy, slow decision making, lack of visibility and loss of international consistency. Bureaucracy

With the enormous growth happening, Google may impose new policies and guidelines to actively manage the workforce and this may curtail the pace of innovation. Increased bureaucracy may be mandated since the diverse workforce may not be compliant with the Google vision and mission. It may need to reign in some of such elements through new procedures and policies thereby affecting the agility of majority of the other groups. Internal tools and the so called “Dilbertville” meeting may be impossible to do in geographically diverse locations and in some ways be not feasible. http://www.managedecisions.com/blog/?cat=7

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Strategic Management » Manage Decisions

03/12/2013 17:12

Slow Decision making
The culture of open discussion, consensus based decision making may not be feasible with large numbers of employees. The ability to critique, take risks and openly oppose decision making may not be entertained. Cross-functional decisions will be difficult to achieve and the innovative mechanisms may be stalled.

Ensuring Visibility
With employees spending 20% of their time on idea projects may lead to duplication. Since visibility is difficult to main across a multi-cultural workforce, there may be replication of effort, loss of productive time and the risk of reinventing the wheel. Establishing visibility may be difficult with an expanding workforce.

Guaranteeing International Consistency
Google may find it hard to attract the same “Googley” talent at global locations and inculcate the “Google culture” in the new recruits. Implanting or exporting the true Google culture may cause conflict with local cultures, tastes and perceptions. Finding a balance between cultural diversity and cultural homogeneity is difficult in an international context.

Apart from these there are other challenges such as censorship, trade restrictions and country policies which may dampen the...
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