Engineers that work for Google have been uneasy about the managers since the foundation of the company. Despite this, the managers help the organization keep in one general direction and work as a team. However, the amount of managers is still small, which gives engineers freedom and responsibility. Google hires only the most skillful people that can think and act independently instead of many managers.
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Workers that did not trust the importance of managers did not respect the managers’ decisions, too. To study the value of managers, Google has made a range of different surveys. These studies revealed more information about the details of managers’ practice. Also, the significant role of their guidance was proved. Critical people at Google accept the results confirmed by data, so they changed their opinion about managers.
Oxygen Project was designed to find out the value or usefulness of managers. The researchers compared the data about managers with different levels of performance. The best managers’ results did not differ from the less productive workers by much. They are better at communication, express more empathy and interest in other workers’ career development, and know their company’s strategy well to use it in the team.
Data demonstrated the behavior of the best managers using the feedback from other workers. As a result, Google decided to promote such behavior and organized courses for managers. Also, more abilities for responding to their actions from stuff developed. Not all the workers approved the idea, but the company considered their views. The organization rewards the managers that achieve the best performance and correspond to Google’s new policy.
The influence of the Oxygen experiment was mainly positive: managers improved their skills, and engineers became happier with their performance. Google claimed that they are “not trying to change the nature of people” who worked for them but just gave them recommendations (Garvin, 2013, p. 10). The issue of the survey was that it does directly improve the productivity of the organization. Instead, better management enhances the internal structure of the company, makes its workers more united.
Garvin, D. A. (2013). How Google sold its engineers on management. Harvard Business Review, 1–10.