Google's Organizational Culture
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Case Code : HROB041
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1996 - 2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Google Inc.
Industry : IT
Countries : USA
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
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Google's Organizational Culture
Google had an informal work culture at Googleplex (its headquarters). Both Larry
and Sergey wanted to make Google a fun place to work. Reflecting their beliefs,
the Googleplex was decorated with Lava Lamps and painted in the bright colors of
the Google Logo (Refer Figure I for Google Logo).
Googlers were allowed to bring their pets in to the workplace, and were
themselves provided with free snacks, lunch and dinner prepared by a celebrity
chef Charlie Ayers. The Googleplex had snack rooms offering Googlers cereals,
gummi bears, cashew nuts and other snacks along with fruit juices, soda and
Sergey and Larry also focused on recruiting people with the right frame of
mind. They were themselves personally involved in the recruitment process.
In order to attract high performing candidates, Google posted top ten
reasons to work for Google on its website (Refer Table II).
Google recruited people with diverse skills and qualities (Refer Table III).
While recruiting, Google attached a lot of importance to academic excellence
as revealed in grade scores in SAT and other graduate exams. To get an
interview call from Google, a person had to be from a top-ranking
Innovations at Google
Google management also focused on encouraging innovation and
creativity at the workplace. It realized that to maintain its
growth, the company had to come out with new products/features.
However, the company faced problems on how to tap ideas that could
be turned into successful products. Said Silverstein, "We always had
great ideas, but we didn't have a good way of expressing them or
capturing them." To overcome the problem, Google set up an internal
web page for tracking new ideas...
A Critique of Google's Culture
Many analysts feel that Google's zero per cent employee turnover rate during the
dotcom boom, was a testament to its salubrious organizational culture. But not
everyone was convinced that Google had got it right in terms of its work
culture. They felt that company's culture was not set to manage its growth. A
12-hour working day had become norm at the company. Google's recruitment process
was also criticized by analysts.
It was pointed out that Google had become too narrow in its recruitment by
focusing only on the academic records and graduate ranks of the applicants
rather than on experience. Commenting on the recruitment process, one Googler
said, "If you've been at Cisco for 20 years, they don't want you." But the
management defended the recruitment process saying that they valued intelligence
and brainpower more than experience...
Exhibit I: Google Features
Exhibit II: Awards & Recognitions Won by Google