The Google Case: Aiming For An Evolutionary Advantage

2028 words - 8 pages

Culture can be defined as “A pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid, and therefore to be taught to the new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems”. Schein (1988)

Organizational culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. It includes routine behaviors, norms, dominant values, and a feeling or climate conveyed. The purpose and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhance their performance.

Cultural Artifacts:
The process of culture formation essentially begins with targeting the three elements of organizational culture—observable artifacts (physical structures, rituals/ceremonies, stories and language), shared (espoused and enacted) values, and shared (implicit and explicit) assumptions.

A. Physical Structure (design of physical space, work environment and buildings)
The physical structure artifact includes physical space, work environment and building.
Googleplex is the new Google’s headquarters located in Mountain View, it was built with an informal culture and referred to as a rambling corporate campus by Eric Schmidt during his inaugural meeting. It has exercise balls which were re-purposed as movable office chairs; desks which were made out of wooden doors; and dogs that were permitted at work. In addition, top chefs were hired to provide free meals for all employees. Others are on-site health and dental care, free use of swimming pools and work-out facilities, office hallways lined with video games and football tables, and free classes to all employees.

B. Stories, legends and myths
“Questioning Authority” to Google’s engineers is an innovator’s imperative and is constantly reinforced throughout the company. Googlers are trained not to do something just because someone said to do it.
Innovation, creativity and risk-taking were the founding pillars of Google, which accounts for what is constantly reinforced and rewarded throughout the company. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, computer science PhD students at Stanford University, as they developed an algorithm that ranked Internet search results based on which sites had the most links directed at them. Early users were impressed with the search results, and in 1998, Page and Brin raised $1m from angel investors to turn the idea into a company. By 1999, the software was responding to 500, 000 search queries each day, and the company raised $25 million from two leading venture capital firms to start scaling the business. The success story goes on from there. Also, the way Google was being run by the “triumvirate” of Eric Schmidt (as CEO), Sergey...

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