Google Organisational Structure and Culture

What are the main factors/HRM procedures that have contributed to the success of Google? Organization’s success is gauged by its performance and performance of organization by its employees. We can see that an individual and the organization are inter-related and interdependent. The link between individual and organization is HRM and managers. Hence, the performance of organization depends on the people it recruits and the managers who diffuse work to teams to produce positive outcomes that contributes towards the success of organization.

Figure:1 Illustrating the Interdependency and Inter-relation. The factors that have contributed to Google’s success are: Attraction Selection Attrition (A. S. A): The point to be noted in the following explanation is the inter-relationship between A. S. A and IQ & Big 5 traits in employees. Google while hiring its employees is very selective and attract candidates who have performed well academically and have good scores on SAT, GMAT or other competitive exams which proves*(Gottfredson L. S. , (2003), quoted in Robbins S.

P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 4-45) that their IQ level is high. The reason Google considers it important is because it is proven that these tests test the intellectual abilities of a person. A few dimensions for intellectual ability have been identified, which include number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual speed, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, memory*(M. D. Dunnette, (Chicago:Rand McNally, 1976, quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 45) obviously not all dimensions are needed to be intelligent for example a software programmer hould have the ability to identify a logical sequence in a problem and then solve it, hence, the dimension he needs to essentially possess to perform well in his field is inductive reasoning.

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Google hires people with diverse skills and qualities, so that they could use these diverse skills to their benefit, in this case innovation. Google being an innovative company prefers fresher from college with good educational background rather than experienced employee. It is said that intelligent people are better job performers*( W. M Coward and P. R. Sackett,(june 1990), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T.

A 12 ed. , p. 45), more creative, are able to learn jobs more quickly, are more adaptable to changing circumstances and are better at inventing solutions that improve performance. Hence we can conclude that A. S. A*(Schneider B, quoted in BHM399, Organizational Behavior, p. 112) is adapted by organization to achieve performance. Interestingly while intelligence is a big help in performing a job well, it is not correlated with job satisfaction. Hence, it is important to match ability to job which is also know as ability-job fit and the effect of personality on performance or personality-performance.

Performance is inter-related to job-satisfaction. Studies*(Ability-job fit, Person-job fit, Motivational theories) show that: Personality: IQ and Big Five Model As Google hires through A. S. A, Googlers have IQ and possess some or all the qualities of OCEAN*(Landrum G. N, (1993), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 109). The applicable theory for the personality traits/ personality is Big Five model (OCEAN & IQ). Personality of the employee is directly related to his/her performance. This can be explained by person- job fit theory*(Holland J. L, (1997), quoted in Robbins S.

P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 130). However, person-organization fit*(Schneider B, (1987), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 132) and the relationship between a person and his work environment (group) needs to considered as well. They most certainly possess Openness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, as employees are open to new ideas are very comfortable with their work relationships and very cooperative and trusting with one another, this can be seen in the trust the top management has on an individual employee to do his work without being managed respectively.

Job-Satisfaction: Job satisfaction depends on various factors like ability-job fit*(explained and quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 48), person-job fit* and person-organization fit*; these are three different levels (individual, group and organization). The relationship between people their work environment (including peers) is also linked to job satisfaction. The applicable theory for the level of job-satisfaction in Google is Two-Factor theory also known as Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene theory*(Herzberg F et al. ,(1959), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 89, also quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 133-134). This theory assesses the level of job-satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Two-factor theory* proves that Googler’s have high job-satisfaction because the motivator and hygiene factors being met. Explaining the same by the table. |MOTIVATOR FACTORS are met hence, leads to satisfaction. |HYGIENE FACTORS are met hence, leads to no dissatisfaction. | |Achievement: The sense of achievement is high as millions of |Company policy: The open door policy of company makes employees | |people use what the employees develop for Google. feel worthy, important and heard by anyone they want to approach. | |Recognition: Google employee is recognized & respected socially. |Supervision: Leadership style is transformational. This keeps the| |In the company, they feel recognized & rewarded^ for their work. |work environment energetic, as employees are highly involved in | |Eg: When an employee innovates he gets to lead the team, this |work and encouraged to think innovatively. | |could be emotionally rewarding with a feeling of advancement in | | |position. | |Note: ^Rewards need not be materialistic rewards, it could be | | |emotionally rewarding as well. In this case emotional. | | |Work: Work at Google is very creative and employees are given |Relationship with boss: The informal culture, transformational | |personal time to work on their projects. Hence, employees enjoy |leadership style and open door policy makes sure that employees | |working at Google. feel comfortable to express their views. | |Responsibility: As there are no project managers, all engineers |Work conditions: There are no set codes for the way employee | |are project leaders where leadership is on a rotation basis. |wishes to work at Google, hence the employee can make his work | |Also, if something isn’t right in a product that has gone public,|conditions as comfortable as he wants to. Eg: He can even get | |teams fix it without asking anyone. Hence, employees have the |pets to work!

If he feels he can work better with his pet next to| |freedom and responsibility for their product. |him. | |Advancement: When an employee comes up with an innovation and |Relationship with peers: One of the main emphasis while | |he/she can back it up, they are given an opportunity to head the |recruiting is, team goals above personal goals. Assuming that | |project. |there could be minimal-average repercussions if any (assuming as | |Eg: Google News, developed by Krishna Bharat in Oct 2002 |nothing has been mentioned on case study). | Motivation:

Before discussing about motivation, it is note worthy that individual motivation and group and organizational motivation is inter-linked, this is done by providing the right environment for the employee to perform better. Motivation plays a key role in the performance of an individual. Motivation could either be internal or external, self-motivation and inspiration and encouragement by external forces respectively like co-workers, managers or organization in form of its values, culture, rewards and recognition etc. The applicable theories for motivation in Google are, Expectancy*(IL)(Vroom

V. H, (1964), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 208, also quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 134-135) Job enrichment*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 136), Job Characteristic Model*(JCM)(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 137), EI Initiatives*(Provided by Organization) (explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 141-142). Eg: The employees are motivated to work at new ideas (20% of time is given for their self-directed projects), once the idea is successful they get to lead the project.

Hence, Leadership: Before starting Leadership styles, Big Five model*(OCEAN, R. R McCrea, (June 1992), quoted in Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. , p. 110, Judge et al. , (2002), JAP, quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 232). At a Group Level (GL) employees at Google are benefited by the leadership style, which is Transformational leadership*(Bass, 1985), quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 243) and People-oriented*(Fiedler’s Contingency Theory, explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 236-237).

Transformational leadership style inspires, motivates and stimulates the intellect of employees. Situational Leadership*(Hershey & Blanchard’s Situational Theory, explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 237-239) is used in Google, as there is no management structure, Wayne Rosing (VP) for engineering, lets the teams do their work. Hence, Rosing is using situational leadership with the engineering teams as she trusts them and lets them work on their area of expertise. Eg: Through EI Initiative (sparrow program) management could motivate and stimulate the intellect of employees to innovate new ideas.

This also helped the job design greatly as every employee got 20% of their time for self directed projects, this helped in job enrichment. Through sparrow employees had skill variety, task identity, task significance (if the idea was selected), Autonomy and feedback on it by other employees at Google. Hence, JCM is used in Google as one of the motivation tools to keep the Googler’s involved and satisfied with their job. Organic structure: Culture of an organization plays a very important role in shaping up of an ndividual working for an organization apart from creating right environment to work for, which ultimately impacts on performance. Even if organization spends huge amounts of money and time in selecting the right people, if it cannot provide right environment to work in, it would fail in its objective to succeed as a company Culture-Organizational Performance* (explained in chapter 17 of Robbins S. P and Judge T. A 12 ed. ,). At an Organizational Level, Google provides an informal and Organic structure*(explained and quoted in quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 72) to its employees, which gives them freedom to manage their work the way they like, ultimately to give outputs that matches with the company’s requirements. Google’s Organizational structure is placed in a way that it is organic in structure however, it borders a bit towards Boundary less organization*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 272). Out of the 7 different types of power Expert power*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 314) is very predominant in Google, employees have this power, this can be seen as a motivator factor for employees.

The sustaining culture at Google is due to A. S. A, Top management (their approachability, principles/values and attitudes) and socialization among Googlers and top management is very informal. The Culture Development*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 341) at Google due to the above factors resulted in Organic structure and informal culture. Eg: Google does not have any management structure, which allows the employees to work and behave flexibly, respond quickly to changing and unusual situations by taking responsibility of their project/product.

Note: Informal culture has worked Google so far, but with growing employees and the attitude change in employees there is possibility it can pose as a problem in future. Will discuss this in the negative aspects of Google. Reflexivity and Team Effectiveness: Reflexivity and team effectiveness*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 200) are inter-linked to performance of a team on a GL*. Teams are more innovative and effective when they reflect on their objectives, strategies, processes and environments from time to time.

They need to then adapt/improve their working style to achieve their task. Eg: A discussion is held every Friday to review the new ideas, feasibility and user-friendliness (team objectives/vision is set after selecting the ideas). While project is being headed team strategies and processes are analyzed and tested (tested among Googlers) before launching the product. As a conclusion, we can say Google was successful in sustaining a zero attrition rate when most of the companies suffered from attrition during the dot. com boom and this was possible because of all the above factors.

Describe some of the negative aspects of Google’s culture. Do you think Google needs to change its culture – and, if so, in what ways? Every organization has a culture, which has positive and/or negative influences on its employees. We know that work culture affects us on a day-to-day basis. Organizational Culture is given importance because it has the power to influence, motivate/de-motivate, mold or shape up the attitudes of employees. It also sends a message across to employees about the working standards of a company and how employees are expected to work in a company.

Google’s informal culture has positive and negative aspects to it. Negative being it lead to arrogance and laziness among employees and positive being work freedom, which encouraged creativeness, in Google. Negative aspects of Google are: No Management Structure: Google has no management structure (due to organic structure design of organization), which is very evident from the case study. Management structure is inter-linked to the attitudes of the employees as well the informal culture. No management structure could lead to organizational conflict, as there is no status consistency.

In Google every engineer was given the title as project manager, this leads to confusion about control and decision making power which could further lead to process loss*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 193). The theories applicable are Organizational conflict*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 316-320) and Process loss*. Further, with a diverse workforce in Google and no formal leader there could be a lot of politics and time taken for a team to go through stages*(Tuckman’s Five-Stage Model of Group, explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 92) could be longer at a GL and this will ultimately effect the ability of a team to perform better. We can also point out the effect this will have on employee attitude, as there is no formal leader everyone would try to dominate the other spoiling the work environment. This might also lead to arrogance in employees. Google has branches all over world this means that the employees from different branches have to interact with one another at some point, if diversity*(UNESCO, (1999), quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 95-197) is not taken with a positive attitude it cause hindrance in terms of effectiveness and creativity, affecting performance. Informal work culture: Google has a very informal and open culture, Googlers can bring pets to office if they want to can approach anyone they want to, in Google’s case in relation to performance it has worked but failed in shaping employees responsible and respectable behavior. Googlers are known to come late for meetings and don’t pay attention to the meeting, which shows poor respect and carelessness towards clients. This shows negatively on the organization.

Sergey backed this behavior by saying that they were working around the clock and hence were not prepared for the meetings. The theory applicable for this is attributional bias*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 115) Fundamental attribution error*. Sergey attributed the late coming and careless behavior to external attribution because they had to work round the clock. Treatment towards contract workers: 30% of Google’s employees are contract workers. These employees are not given any benefit, stock options, nor do they get company’s intranet access, meetings or social events.

This obviously shows discrimination, which might lead to conflict, de-motivation, demoralization, and unrest among the employees, and if one is unhappy with his/her organization they tend to talk more about how unhappy they are with their friends and family, which might lead to bad reputation of the company. The leadership style towards contract workers can be explained through LMX*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 240-241). Wherein there is low quality LMX. 12 hr working day as the norm: With all the facilities provided at Google employees work for 12 hrs a day, which is a norm.

This could be good for the organization but not for an individual as this affects his personal life and health. This could also mean that Googlers are not utilizing their time efficiently, as their pet or other famous entertainments at Google distract them. Biases: In the case study it is mentioned that while hiring employees, Google prefers a fresher rather than an experienced person. This could be wrong as an experienced person might have abilities and capabilities that a fresher doesn’t possess. The theory applicable for this is perceptual bias*(explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 14). Recommendations: Lewin Theory*( Lewin (1951), explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 343-344) of change can be adapted in this case. As the organizational structure is organic it is not very difficulty to unfreeze the links. Also there was no mention of appraisals in the case study. Appraisals are one of the key methods to see to it that the employees perform well. It is also a method to motivate employees hence, SMART* (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goals should be set for the employees (explained and quoted in BHM399 Organizational Behavior, p. 140).

Word count: 2,495 words APPENDIX: Note: The appendix contains the explanation of all theories quoted in the above explanation of success and failure factors. Also note IL, GL and OL refers to Individual level, Group Level and Organizational Level respectively throughout the case including appendix. Theories on an Individual Level (IL): Personality: Big 5 Model: OCEAN and IQ OCEAN stands for Openness to experience: Extremely open people are creative, curious and artistically sensitive. Those at other hand are conventional and find comfort in the familiar. Conscientiousness: This dimension is a measure of reliability.

Extraversion: This dimension captures one’s comfort level with relationships. Agreeableness: This dimension refers to an individual’s propensity to defer to others. Neuroticism/Emotional Stability: this dimension taps a person’s ability to withstand stress. The Big 5 personality trait gives an insight into a person’s personality and organizations use ASA to see if the person is fit for job and organization. IQ: Intelligence Quotient Perceptual Bias: This is based on perceptions and perception is a process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret the input from their senses.

Schemas, motivational state, and mood all play a part in perception. The perception bias can have different effects, like, Primacy, Contrast, Halo and Similar-to-me effect. Attribution Theory: A group of theories that describe how people explain the causes of behavior. It can be attributed to internal or external. Internal attribution: Against the cause of behavior to some characteristic of a person like ability, personality, motivation, etc. External attribution: Against the cause of behavior to factors external to the person like, task difficulty, luck, etc.

Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency to over-attribute behavior to internal rather an external causes or vice a versa. Motivation theories: Two-factor theory/Herzberg’s Motivator-hygiene theory: Categorized factors into those led to job satisfaction and those that lead to job dissatisfaction. When Motivator factors are met, workers will be very satisfied; when they are not met, workers will not be satisfied. Similarly when Hygiene factors are met and not met, workers will not be dissatisfied and will be very dissatisfied respectively. Factors for each have been illustrated in the main text.

Expectancy Theory: A process theory about work motivation that focuses on how workers make choices among alternative behaviors and levels of effort. Valence: the desirability of an outcome to an individual. Instrumentality: A perception about the extent to which performance of one or more behaviors will lead to attainment of a particular outcome. Expectancy: A perception about the extent to which effort will result in a certain level of performance. Illustrated in the main text. Job Design: The process of linking specific tasks to specific jobs and deciding what techniques, equipment and procedures should be used to perform those tasks.

Job Enrichment: Increasing a worker’s responsibility and control over his or her work; also called vertical job loading. Job Characteristic model: The theory of the Job Characteristics Model is that the core dimensions impact critical psychological states, which in turn impact an individual’s work and personal outcomes. Individual differences and individual perception moderate the effects. An approach to job design that aims to identify characteristics that make jobs intrinsically motivating and the consequences of those characteristics.

Core job dimensions include skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Skill Variety: degree job requires variety of activities Task Identity: degree job requires completion of a ‘whole’ and identifiable piece of work Task Significance: degree job affects the lives or work of other people Autonomy: degree job allows individual freedom and discretion Feedback: degree to which the job gives clear information about performance Goal Setting: A theory that focuses on identifying the types of goals that are most effective in producing high levels of motivation and performance and why goals have these effects.

EI Initiatives: Describes those activities designed to increase the amount of information which employees receive about their organisation and to provide them with the opportunity to contribute to decisions – thereby increasing their commitment to the organisation’s success. Group Level Theories: Tuckman Stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning Forming: Norming: Performing: Adjourning: Process Loss: Is also known as social loafing. This happens when there is no management structure and everyone are expected to be responsible. One person akes it for granted that the other person will do the job and pretend to be busy when he/she is not. This leads to process loss. Diversity: Principles of human diversity as a life-enhancing condition; conflict as a normal process to be managed constructively; and social responsibility as the human capacity to reflect and apply ethical norms to personal and public decisions’. When group attitudes to diversity are positive – exploring and relishing difference – the synergistic effects of diversity on team performance, in terms of effectiveness and creativity are profound

Reflexivity: Teams will be more effective and innovative to the extent that they reflect upon their objectives, strategies, processes and environments and adapt these aspects of their task worlds accordingly . Team objectives/vision — appropriateness, value, clarity Team strategies — detail, alternatives, time span, effectiveness Team processes — decision-making, communication, interaction, meetings, feedback, support for innovation, conflict management Leadership trait: Explained by Big 5 model. Leadership traits are directly related to Big 5 model.

Transformational leadership: Leadership that inspires followers to trust the leader, to perform at a high level, and to contribute to the achievement of organizational goals. Situational/Contingency Theories Assumptions: This includes People oriented leadership where the leader is more people oriented than task. LMX: Low quality: A theory that describes the different kinds of relationships that may develop between a leader and a follower and what the leader and the follower give to and receive back from the relationship.

Managers develop different relationships with their subordinates, which very from low to high quality LMX Organizational Level Theories: Organic Structure/Boundaryless Organization: Organic model . This model looks a lot like the boundaryless organization. It is flat , uses cross hierarchical and cross functional teams, has low formalisation, posesses a comprehensive informational network ( using lateral and upward communication as well as downward) and involve high participation in decision making.

Expert Power: Informal power that stems from superior ability/expertise Organizational conflict: There are various types of conflicts in organization in googke we are concentrating on status inconsistency. The various types are: Culture Development: Culture development and sustaining depends on the following factors: Selection (also A. S. A) Socialisation: Social events in an organization brings togetherness and unity among employees. Top management: The top management plays a key role in developing a culture. Lewin Change Theory:

Force field analysis (Lewin 1951) is widely used in change management and can be used to help understand most change processes in organizations. In force field analysis change, is characterized as a state of imbalance between driving forces (e. g. new personnel, changing markets, new technology) and restraining forces (e. g. individuals’ fear of failure, organizational inertia). To achieve change towards a goal or vision three steps are required: •First, an organization has to unfreeze the driving and restraining forces that hold it in a state of quasi-equilibrium. Second, an imbalance is introduced to the forces to enable the change to take place. This can be achieved by increasing the drivers, reducing the restraints or both . •Third, once the change is complete the forces are brought back into quasi-equilibrium and re-frozen. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Organizational Behavior, 12 edition, by Stephen P. Robbins and Timothy A. Judge. BHM399 Organizational Behavior, Oct 2007, On Campus, Prof Robin Martin and Prof Michael West. ———————– ORGANIZATION INDIVIDUAL GROUP Effort = Expectancy Performance = Instrumentality Outcomes = Valence

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Google Organisational Structure and Culture. (2018, Jan 14). Retrieved from

Google Organisational Structure and Culture
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