Jill E. Kinsey
University of Houston-Victoria
Google’s Background In 1998, Google was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page who at the time, were both doctoral students at Stanford University in California. Page and Brin were able to raise $26 million from investors and in 1999 moved Google to new headquarters in Mountain View, California. Google started out unlike any other business by incorporating unique ideas into the office. A few examples of these ideas are using exercise balls as chairs, allowing employees to bring their dogs to work, and providing free meals prepared by chefs to all employees. Google was successful right out of the gates, and in late 2001, Google was profitable. Google went public and raised $2 billion in 2004, and by 2012, the market capitalization was close to $230 billion.
Organization and Culture Google has built a solid reputation of a great place to work where good ideas are celebrated and the authority they have earned is from the respect of their peers. Google’s hiring process was “data-driven” (Garvin, 2013, p. 3). Once the applicants have passed the first phase, they were then scanned for attributes/traits that Google deemed important. Such traits that Google deems important are having “initiative, flexibility, collaborative spirit, and evidence of being well-rounded” (Garvin, 2013, p. 3). The hiring process was considered a major factor in the success of Google. Employees at Google are treated to many perks. Perks include the following, but are not limited to these:
Generous compensation packages
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
The culture thrives on creativity and being able to share ideas freely. “Decision-making was described as “census driven,” and the organization was very flat” (Garvin, 2013, p. 2). A flat organizational structure is defined as a place that does not place emphasis on hierarchy which promotes teamwork. “Flat structures work best when a company’s main point of differentiation is innovation (Wirthman, 2014). Below is a list of eight cultural characteristics that make Google a great innovator:
An innovation-oriented, change-prone culture
Competent and committed employees who are passionate about innovating
Leaders who demonstrate a high degree of trust and see their role as to empower, coach, and remove obstacles
A non-bureaucratic organization
An innovation-oriented recognition and incentive system
An attitude and body of people dedicated to continuous learning
Top leadership that is similarly committed to being innovation-oriented and change-prone
And a belief that new and good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere (Caccamese, 2012).
Since Google’s launch, they have been at the forefront of innovation. “Innovation…is directly proportional to the attitude of senior management” (Heskett, 2007). Google started off with 3,000 employees and by 2012, they had grown to over 35,000 employees which consisted of mainly engineers. This is a result of employees having the same titles, 5,000 managers, 1,000 directors, and only 100 vice-presidents (Garvin, 2013, p. 2). Founders Page and Brin hired Laszlo Bock in 2006 to oversee Google’s Human Resources. Bock implemented “People Operations” which is a sophisticated employee-data tracking program (Garvin, 2013, p. 4). One of the functions of the People Operations was to help manage the performance review process and to manage and interpret the Googlegeist survey (Garvin, 2013, p. 4). The Googlegeist survey is a “comprehensive assessment that was completed by over 90% of employees and evaluated hoe they felt about career development, perks, and benefits, as well as company culture” (Garvin, 2013, p. 4). Laszlo Bock decided to hire Prasad Setty in 2007 to organize another group with members that were already part of the People Operations. This new group was given the name “People Analytics.” Setty wanted his