Management Theory and Practice: Organizational Culture
Culture is the behaviors, values, and beliefs shared by a group of people or an organization. Culture is symbolic and it is used by a company to unify its employees (Bijur, 2001). Some people might mistake culture with the ideals, mission, or vision the company has laid out to market its products, however, culture is expressed in the daily practices, beliefs as well as communications, and for a culture to be strong it should be internally consistent, clear and widely shared (Schein, 2001).
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Organizational culture applied in Google Company was established by the founders of the company, Page, and Sergey, they wanted to create a company that was fun to work from (Chaynes et al, 2009). This led them to recruit young employees in the Company; the two set their employees free by allowing them to come with their pets at work and constructing recreational facilities for them at work. This culture grew strong in Google and was common among employees.
In any organization, culture is streamlined by the leaders of the organization and the purpose of the company. The organizational culture is established in a setting that has high leadership values and high-performance expectations (Schein, 2001). After establishing the first culture, a company can choose to alter it by designing it according to its variables, experiences, style on management and leadership (Schein, 2001). During culture development, it can be influenced by a company’s integrity, effectiveness and sometimes its competitiveness.
Looking at Google’s culture, it is seen that the culture is influenced by innovation and mission as well as its call for fun; this is seen through its artifacts such as values, management style, organizational structure, and Googleplex. By including creativity in its culture, Google has managed to maintain its competitiveness in the market; this is because Google operates in an industry that is dynamic with changes being recorded each day (Chaynes et al, 2009).
Its choice to include mission and fun has helped the company to attract young people from universities and colleges who are intelligent and whose mind is still creative; young people enjoy having fun and as they work their creativity puts Google as a company on top. All its success is owed to the success of the company’s organizational culture created by Page and Sergey. The Company’s culture should help an organization to improve its relations with the community and other companies (Chaynes et al, 2009). This has been demonstrated by Google Company culture by emerging as a communal organization with a high level of solidarity and sociability.
Google’s culture focuses on a comfortable working environment for the employees; a company with employees that are free to express themselves and are involved in the Company’s decision making produce more results and are always committed to their work. Google Company has a culture that is well understood by its employees; this culture gives each employee a comfortable working condition by allowing them to arrange their offices according to their taste and preference (Chaynes et al, 2009). This freedom that is given to them leads to their increased performance and hence the success of the company. The employees at Google are also given the freedom to work on the project of their choice, making them deliver better results; this is attributed to Google culture.
The way a company rewards its workers is another aspect of organizational culture; this aspect does not include the company’s reward and recognition programs but includes the reason for rewarding employees. The things the company pays more attention to choose people who they feel deserves a reward; this aspect is different from what the company says or strives to do (Giles, 2000). Employees who are appreciated are vibrant and always work hard towards the company’s mission.
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In the case of Google Company, it offers financial rewards to its employees, and this has helped the company to retain its employees and shield them from its competitors (Chaynes et al, 2009). Following the reward imposition, the Company’s employees do not think of leaving the company; they concentrate more on working towards the mission of the organization. Talented employees from other companies such as Microsoft leave their companies to join Google; an example is Microsoft Executive, Kai-Fu Lee who joined Google from Microsoft.
Companies should also understand that a good organizational culture includes good leadership practices. A company requires a leader that is strong and understands the company’s goals and objectives and has the power to achieve the desired results (Borgatti, 1996). A leader can only achieve this through modeling the desired behavior in others, and instill in others, values that direct them towards realizing the set vision; motivate others to work towards a company’s mission; create an environment that encourages sharing of strategies and ideas that are directed to achieve the required results; present to others goals that are clear and unambiguous and ensure constant communication (McNamara, 2001).
Goleman proposes six different styles of leadership, which positively influences the company results. These leadership styles include coaching, pacesetting, democratic, authoritative, affiliative and Coercive. Google utilizes an affiliative style of leadership; it has created an open atmosphere where each employee is free to communicate and share his or her ideas with the other employees (Chaynes et al, 2009). This style of leadership has increased the flexibility and productivity of employees. Google also utilizes authoritative leadership; in this style of leadership, Google leaders give employees the freedom to develop new ideas, innovate and test and experiment on the viability of their ideas, but leads them towards the company’s vision (Chaynes et al, 2009).
The employees are put in groups where they work with complete freedom; this style of leadership makes employees feel useful to the company. Google also encourages collaboration by allowing employees to share ideas on the development of new products. Google also use the democratic style of leadership; the company involves its employees in decision making concerning goal achievement and other issues that are not sensitive (Alon et al, 2005). This kind of leadership employed by Google Company is directed to improve the working conditions of employees and increase their performance, and with this leadership, Google expects permanent growth.
Culture is dynamic; it is sometimes effective and ineffective under certain circumstances; there is generally no good culture. Google Company has demonstrated this through its subculture; the culture of this company is considered to be strong and praised for its flexibility (Chaynes et al, 2009). However, Google’s culture deviated from this fact; in 2004, Google’s director of operations filed a complaint: he was fired unjustly. His dismissal was based on the reason that he was not in-line with the Company’s culture when he claimed to be one of the youth.
In this case, Google was following its culture of having employees that are young and creative (Alon et al, 2005). On the other hand, the director of operations was right because the culture was discriminating against employees in terms of age, which is wrong according to the law, and if the case is filed in court he would win the case. Google created this culture to achieve its goals; however, the culture was going against human rights and fight against discrimination. Following the incident, there is no doubt that this part of Google’s culture needs to be changed.
Recruitment of employees has always raised issues in a company, and for a company with good relations with its employees and the public, it should employ an organizational culture that encourages a transparent recruitment process. Google considers its employees as special people and when recruiting, they simply take the best. Google focuses on the intelligence of recruits; they leave out emotional intelligence claiming that the candidates can gain emotional intelligence while in the company (Alon et al, 2005). Google believes that through open communication which is incorporated within the company’s culture the employees will gain and maintain emotional intelligence (Chaynes et al, 2009).
A candidate who has high or average emotional intelligence has skills that are necessary for leadership and each level in an organization requires leadership. Google has taken care of many issues in its organizational culture; however, the issue of recruitment of employees has not been adequately handled (Chaynes et al, 2009). Google should understand that analytical intelligence is just a part of one’s intelligence, employees should also be in a position to manage their emotions as well as cope and understand fellow employees’ and customers’ emotions; therefore, this part of intelligence cannot be overlooked.
Google should consider incorporating emotional and cultural intelligence in recruitment instead of focusing only on analytical intelligence. Google employs leadership styles that create a good working environment, thus impacting the Company’s performance, this is a great move because other leadership styles such as Coercive and pacesetting impact employees working environment negatively (Chaynes et al, 2009). However, for Google to maintain its good leaders and leadership styles it should support emotional intelligence; this is because leadership has different components and for successful leadership leaders should have most of these components (Alon et al, 2005). These components include emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence analytical intelligence as well as motivation.
Google’s recruitment process creates doubts about the kind of leadership used in the company; the question is that “is the leading healthy?” The leadership of Google, allows managers to discuss issues with their team, however, each employee deals with the problems individually; this means that each employee is his or her boss and no reference is made to the boss (Chaynes, 2009). Since the beginning of the company, employees worked in teams, with each team member being equal when it came to making decisions concerning the company.
This increased levels of innovation and product varieties and led to the success of the company. The open atmosphere was highly encouraged among employees and management structures were overlooked and the company still focuses on improving working conditions in teams with each member having the same influence (Goleman, 2000). Google has used teams to create and invent new thoughts, and this idea was established by the founders of the company. This developed to be a strong organizational culture; Google led the way and other companies followed (Alon et al, 2005).
Google Company is known to be a powerful company, and its future is predicted to be more powerful. Google has been increasing its benefits year after year; it has never been turned over by other companies because of the loyalty of its employees (Chaynes et al, 2009). The company poses an important artifact: Googleplex; this gives employees free food, sports, and pleasure, and since most of Google employees are young they enjoy such services. All these advantages makes Google the company to be more successful.
However, according to the critics of Google, the company’s culture and leadership can contribute to its downfall if it is not changed for the better (Chaynes et al, 2009). The culture of free employees has made the Google employees to be disrespectful; they come late for meetings, disrupt presentation by talking. The free culture has also made them to be more arrogant.
According to the critics, Google advertises itself by painting a good image but in the real sense, its image is not good. Its recruitment process, despite ignoring emotional intelligence, it also ignores applicants’ experience; they only focus on the academic records and ranks (Alon et al, 2005).
Google’s organizational culture is strong and it helps the company to achieve its goal and improve its performance, however, Google is challenged to improve on its leadership and change its recruitment process. The future might change and if its culture is not flexible enough, then all its success achieved over the years might go down the drain in one flash.
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