The culture of every organization is defined by the values and ethos that dictate its conduct in the business world. Like every person is different from the other, every organization is also distinct in the way it conducts business, prioritizes customer needs, and rewards its employees. Other factors making up the organizational culture include: broad principles, practices, and processes that define the overall conduct of the organization. Like others, Google started off as a search engine and developed its organizational culture gradually. Many factors are responsible for this process. One of the basic factors defining Google’s organizational culture is its mission statement: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Since the culture largely defines the success or failure of the organization itself, companies like Google have turned it into one of their most important competitive advantages.
Three most important values lie at the heart of Google’s culture: don’t be evil, technology matters, and we make our own rules. These guiding values have been used as a beacon to help drive the business processes and practices of the organization. Since Google is in a business where it can exercise tremendous power over the kind of content that users find as search results, ethical considerations are meaningful in ranking pages for incorporating advertisements. It is important not to let the advertisement money become the only determinant of ranking information. In other words, Google should not be up for sale. This underlying principle has helped it always keep the users’ interests at the forefront by ensuring that they get only what they are looking for. Other factors, like money, should not affect the basic purpose of the organization. Since technology is the backbone upon which Google has established its services, it is important to realize its significance in helping the organization achieve its goals. The company continues to invest in information technology infrastructure to provide seamless and fast service to its users. This has been one of the most distinct aspects of Google as its pages load with unmatched speed. The third value actually defines the reason behind Google’s dual class governance system and the lack of proper hierarchy at the top level. Staying true to the credentials of being an unconventional organization, Google has defied the traditional norms and has vowed to make its own rules. However, the management has pledged to provide enough information required by law to ensure that investor interests are safeguarded. Otherwise, the company is steadfast to deny any sort of window dressing to sooth the Wall Street investors’ nerves. Google simply wants to work its own way rather than be dictated by someone else.
The three corporate values combined together define the organization’s philosophy: never settle for the best. In fact, the best point is the starting point for people at Google. The employees should always look for improvement as the best is not the ending point. This mirrors in Google’s achievements such as AdWords and AdSense, which were introduced even though the industry already had some best applications in place. It is, perhaps, this philosophy that has led Google’s foray into other initiatives without refining its core competency, i.e., research. The organization has successfully introduced user friendly applications in the software category in the form of Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps etc. At the same time, it has created one of the best advertising-supported search business-models in the history without compromising upon the interests of its users. The rumored upcoming payment solutions application has made the e-commerce giants like eBay nervous. Even though it makes Google look like a horizontal portal with all these initiatives, the fact is that it has always remained true to its nontraditional approach. All these achievements highly speak of the unique, healthy and invigorating culture of Google Inc.
The Influence of Google’s Organizational Culture on Knowledge Sharing and Innovation
The knowledge sharing and innovation have been the drivers behind successful launches of different applications and products that Google has introduced over the years. The way meetings take place and information exchange occurs is very effective. The process of sharing weekly activities with the entire group is helpful in keeping everyone up-to-date with new ideas. It also helps individuals compare and learn from others at the same time. The process of sharing ideas regarding car parking and other small things ensures that everyone cares. The seating arrangement is also important in determining the effectiveness of communication between employees. The accessibility between people from technical and commercial sides ensures that everyone is on the same page. Apart from all this, the bottom up approach has been the key factor behind innovation. The small team structure ensures that not only new ideas are generated, but they are also implemented in a timely fashion. Since Google followed 70/20/10 rule in allocating resources, it highly encouraged new product and application development. This has been the motivating factor behind innovation at Google which encouraged employees to take risk even where the success probability was very low.
The Influence of Changing Business Goals and Core Competencies on Google’s Organizational Culture
Every organization changes over time and so does its organizational culture which actually evolves with the organization. However, the prevailing values and principles are highly correlated with the core competencies and business goals of the organization itself. If Google changes its direction and sets new goals, then it would have an effect on the way it conducts its business as well. The present mission of Google to provide world’s information to its users is largely responsible for the priorities and standards that the organization has developed to be used as guidelines in conducting business practices. If the mission changes, then the organization’s priorities might change as well. However, as long as the organization stays in the field of technology and focuses on adding value for the end user, the overall culture of Google is expected to remain healthy and intact.