Google Inc. is a multinational technology company that offers a variety of Internet services. The company produces software, web browsing, applications, cloud computing, advertising, and many other services. With just below 90,000 employees, Google offers “dozens of technological services and products(…),all dedicated to making customers’ lives easier and more efficient” (Sisodia, Sheth & Wolfe, 2014, p.228). After only eighteen years Google has become an icon of success in the technology sector. Continuous innovation and improvement were crucial factors in Google’s success. With this strong impact, Google has a unique way of operating internally to make sure that its innovation, product development, and brand awareness progresses.
The hiring process is rigorous, Google makes sure all of their employees are the most talented and motivated in the industry. Once employees are hired they go through extensive coaching and development training. The most important part of their immersion training teaches new employees about the company culture.
On a regular basis, the workplace is very flexible, from adaptable hours to project freedom and informal work attire. Employees are able to spend part of their time on their new projects. “Google’s 80/20 program allowed employees to pursue their passions in their jobs. The company lets employees spend 80 percent of their work time on their traditional jobs and 20 percent on projects that they think will help the company.” (Zennine, 2014)
In general, employees at Google receive above-average salaries and multiple benefits. Out of the conventional benefits that employees receive in multinational companies, Google offers out of the ordinary perks. Some of these perks are fitness centers, gourmet dining, rest areas, personal trainers, free haircuts, laundry, etc.
Structure and Work Values
The organization structure is flat with a 360 review process. Most managers have several employees under their scope. Employees do not only rely on their manager but also on themselves and their peers. Reviews are taken seriously, they are submitted a few times a year with a 360-degree manager, peer, and direct view. At Google, everyone is part of the team. Important decisions are not taken without the overview of a large team. “For important decisions we discuss the issue with a larger team appropriate to the task. differences are resolved through discussion and analysis and by reaching consensus.” (Colquitt, LePine, & Wesson, 2017, p.383) said Larry Page, Google’s CEO.
Google tries to implicate the idea that work revolves around life. They implement this idea by providing all these key things in the workplace. Where one does not just come 9 to 5, but one who lives life in the workplace and work on their own time. Not only these perks change the culture in the workplace and style of work, but they also tried to improve employees’ quality of life. This culture also drives for more of a community environment that sparks innovation. “…free meals that bring employees closer together to discuss projects and have fun over a hamburger or full course.” (Sisodia et al., 2014, p.200)
Theories and Models of Leadership
From understanding the internal operations of Google we can see that it relates to a facilitative model. The leadership style seems to gear towards clan and adhocracy. It shows these traits because of the following: high regard for human relations, mentoring leadership, and innovation focus.
Some may argue Google has a Market Value behavior. However, the company culture shows the primary objective is hiring A class employees. With a clan environment, Google hopes to change for the world with the innovation from these individuals. CEO stated that “shareholders are better off in the long run when the company is doing good things for the world even though they might have to let go of some profits in the short run (…) We will optimize for the long term rather than trying to produce smooth earnings for each quarter.” (Sisodia et al., 2014, p.198). The quote illustrates the long term investment from Google to their employees.
Theory vs Practice: Main Differences and Outcome
The facilitative model promotes interpersonal relationships and collaboration. Google follows this model, with some exceptions. There is a lack of visibility due to their 80/20 program. While employees are working on their own project there is a tendency to be independent, instead of collaborative. “(…)We might have multiple people working on the same thing. We run the risk of reinventing the wheel(…) It can be difficult to figure out who is working on what- particularly when it comes to how engineers are spending their 20% time.” (Colquitt et al., 2017, p391) Brian Axe, product management director at Google, comments.
The general Facilitative model is a working model for google with one issue. It shows to be successful generally with the Google 80/20 program “Some of Google’s newer products (e.g., Google Mail, Google News) originated during the 20% time” (Colquitt et al., 2017, p.388). However, the 80/20 program has limitations, for example it causes productivity loss. This 20% lost does not make sense with the Facilitative model. Collaboration is a key element in the model which is lost in the program.
Zennine, M. (2014, December). Dailymail. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2869148/Looking-best-place-work-Google-Search-giant-rated-company-America-employee-satisfaction.html