The culture of an organization has become an integral aspect of that organization especially where its performance is concerned. Coupling with leadership style, the success of an organization is heavily dependent on the two features. Each organization bears a different culture which offers a positive or negative result. Schein states that “culture is an abstraction, yet the forces that are created in social and organizational situations that derive from culture are powerful. If we don’t understand the operation of these forces, we become victim to them” (Schein, 2004, p.3). Culture could be described by the existing set of values within an organization. According to Bauer et al, “even though culture may not be immediately observable, identifying a set of values that might be used to describe an organization’s culture helps us identify, measure, and manage culture more effectively”( 2011). This has necessitated the need for organizations to evaluate clearly their desired goals and ensure the culture upheld produces the required results since the dynamism associated with culture sometimes requires sacrifices. Google is one such organization which has continued to excel despite all odds by strictly adhering to its culture. In this paper, culture questions on Google are tackled and the impact of it on its performance is examined.
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Google’s organizational culture
Organizational culture is described as the values, beliefs or norms representing an organization’s distinct behaviour. Any person joining that organization is expected to adapt to the new culture by acting, perceiving and believing in those values (Schein, 2004, p.p 373-374). It could be shaped by changing the employee relations, framework and tactics.
To determine how organizational culture and leadership style causes a variation in the results of a company and employee trust, loyalty, commitment, satisfaction and respect, the organizational culture profile (OCP) is used. It consists of 7 cultures based on innovation, stability, people, team, detail, outcome and aggressiveness.
Innovative cultures allow employees to try out new ideas and information in coming up with a variety of products for the market. Google promotes innovativeness by letting its employees come up with projects of their own to ensure diversity from their core function as a search engine (Bauer et al., 2011). Examples of other products developed by them include Google earth and Google maps.
Team oriented culture
In any organization, team work is essential for its success. No employee can work alone and cooperation among them ensures a positive result and relationship are achieved. In Google, team work is strongly encouraged. It ensures collective decision making process whereby teams handle and influence one another on issues arising. In addition, an open office policy has been built to ensure team work (Bauer et al., 2011).
People oriented culture
Culture involves human behaviour. People deserve utmost respect and to be treated with fairness in every aspect of life or work taking part in. This translates to loyalty, commitment and low rates of absenteeism among employees in an organization. Google’s culture is person oriented since its employees are treated well and most of them are allowed to expand their knowledge by tackling various problems within the organization.
Detail oriented culture
Paying particular attention to customer needs ensures customer satisfaction, praise and frequent use of an organization’s product or service. Google adheres to this by putting users of its search engine first by constantly improving the users experience and not focussing greatly on money making aspects of marketing and advertising (Bauer et al., 2011).
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Outcome oriented culture
Many organizations are outcome oriented. These could be in terms of the achievement or results obtained. The quantity of revenue generated from sales determines the success of an organization. Accountability is required in such cases. Google does not base its results on the revenue it generates but focuses on user satisfaction by putting the user as the first priority (Bauer et al., 2011).
In a dynamic environment where innovativeness and risk taking is high, a stable culture may not be very applicable since it prevents fast action. Google does not have a stable culture because of its flexibility in encouraging innovativeness.
Organizations with aggressive culture put much attention on competition among various players in the same field. Google does not possess an aggressive culture since its mission requires them to put users first.
Factors influencing the culture at Google
Google has been thriving and was voted the best company to work in by Fortune magazine due to its culture (Bauer et al., 2011). For any organization to thrive, the leadership style must go hand in hand with the culture. The maintenance of its original principles and mission has made its culture be effective.
Effects of culture on Google’s performance
An organization’s performance is directly attributable to its culture. Employees’ behaviour and attitude greatly influence how an organization performs. Positive employee attitude increases their output and productivity, their willingness to stay in the organization and their eagerness to make it succeed. All these increase the financial value of the organization. Positive attitude is developed depending on an organization’s treatment of its employees. Employees who are treated with respect and given space to prove their skills usually perform better than those who are not treated in the same way.
Google has tried to maintain and keep its employees satisfied and happy by providing them with extras such as free meals, gym services, doctors, child care, video games, maternity and paternity leave. This has cultivated a positive reaction among its workers and in turn resulted in increased productivity. Furthermore, the encouragement for innovativeness and risk taking has made more employees grow (Bauer et al., 2011).
Protection of Google’s culture
Culture has to be protected to ensure that the performance of an organization does not deteriorate. Changing an organization’s culture can be an uphill task but when the existing values and norms do not yield the desired results, a shift in the culture is mandatory. Google protects its organizational culture by ensuring that during employee recruitment, selection is done based on the maintenance of its values. Any new employee has to have the same values as its employees and easily fit into the new environment. Moreover, the individual should be a risk taker, cooperative and agile (Bauer et al., 2011).
Organizations usually experience slight or massive change in their culture when different directions are taken, for example, when it moves from being a private organization to a public one or vice versa. In such cases, organizations are sometimes required to change their cultures to fit the statutory requirements (for a shift from private to public).
Since a strong foundation on the organizational culture has already been laid out at Google, it is unlikely any future challenges might change its culture. With its rigorous hiring process, excellent treatment of its employees and principle of maintaining its mission of keeping users first, nothing can stop this organization from achieving its goals and ability to tackle any arising problems in the future.
Google is one of the biggest organizations that have continually performed well due to its strong culture and unique qualities. Its adherence to its mission statement of putting users’ first and good treatment of workers besides encouragement of innovativeness has enabled its achievements to soar. Team work is a key component for success and Google has ensured employees are team work oriented and decisions are not only based on the top management but every single person is involved. This has led it to be ranked highly as a good and comfortable place to work in by the Fortune Magazine.
Bauer, T. & Erdogan, B. (2011). Organizational behaviour: Flat World Knowledge. Web.
Schein, E. (2004). Organizational culture and leadership. (2nd Ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.