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Google Company’s Self-Directed Teams Empowerment Case Study

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Updated: Jul 30th, 2021

An overview of the present-day global IT market will reveal that the latter is obviously dominated by Google, Inc. While it would be wrong to claim that the rest of the nonetheless significant companies scrape the bottom of the barrel, Google clearly has the assets that other entrepreneurship do not, and the model of self-directed teams coupled with employee empowerment as the basic HRM strategy is clearly the most efficient tool used by Google to achieve the increased motivation rates and outstanding performance.

By using the principle of self-directed teams and employee competence, Google complies with its key mission, according to the company’s mission statement (Google, Inc., 2015) and manages to satisfy the key stakeholders, i.e., the staff by providing them with enough room for professional and personal development, and the customers, who receive the products of enhanced quality owing to the strategy adopted by the corporation. It should be noted, though, that the Google managers make sure that the freedom of choice provided to the staff should not turn out binding and should not turn into a burden as opposed to being a liberating tool.

Judging by the current state of relationships among Google, Inc., staff, the approach adopted by the company works perfectly for the benefit of both the organization and its members. One must give the Google leader credit for being rather careful with lifting the limitations on the freedom of choice for the employees. Instead of foisting the entire weight of decision-making onto the employees, the company managers allow the staff to make choices only in the domains that the staff is entirely proficient in and regarding the issues that the specified employees are ultimately responsible for. As a result, the employees feel appreciated and valued because of the significance of the decisions that they make, whereas the company’s success does not hinge on the specified decisions and, therefore, the risks of the staff making a mistake are reduced greatly.

Naturally, the redistribution of the decision-making responsibilities presupposes a serious shift in power, which the leader of Google, Inc., understands well. However, one must mention that the company has never been famous for its rigid hierarchy; therefore, the flexible approach that the firm has been adopting in the delegation of responsibilities serves as a perfect foil for practicing the specified approach. As far as the exact changes are concerned, the role of managers has been altered significantly, the employees having been given significantly more power in terms of managing the production process (Sosik & Jung, 2010).

At present, the strategy that Google, Inc., adopts in order to promote the concept of self-directed teams among the staff is flawless; it could be suggested, though, that the boundaries of the team’s responsibilities should be identified in a more precise manner as suggested by Garvin and Collins (2009)—in other words, giving the people employed at Google, Inc., too much of creative liberty may turn out to be disadvantageous and even disastrous to the company.

It is recommended, therefore, that Google should alter its company structure towards a more rigid one. At first, the given approach may seem somewhat excessive, yet the incorporation of the above-mentioned strategy into the work of the company may lead to a range of problems having serious consequences for the company. First, the threat of power abuse must be mentioned; it may jeopardize the success of the company and reduce the performance of Google to the lowest common denominator, depriving the organization of the innovativeness that it has been so famous for. In addition, the abundance of power may confuse the staff. Finally, the increasing amount of responsibilities amassing in the daily schedule of the employees may trigger a subsequent drop in performance due to the conflicts associated with the slackening of the production process. Speaking of which, the unusual and uncommon set of responsibilities that the policy of self-directed teams presupposes may lead to a range of conflicts between the teams, as well as within them. In other words, the coordination of the staff’s actions is still an essential element of the company’s operations, and it must not be dismissed for the sake of testing a new strategy.

The significance of self-sufficiency and self-directed decision making cannot possibly be overrated; it is important that the staff could be able to make decisions on their own, which the managers at Google, Inc., understand very well. However, the company leader also realizes that giving the staff too much of creative liberty will ultimately lead to their inability to hold up to the standards established by the company, which is why the corporation has adopted the strategy of self-directed teams. As a result of the application of the specified approach, Google, Inc., managers foster the sense of personal and professional responsibility in their employees, which is essential for the organization that needs to maintain a consistently positive reputation in the global market.

Reference List

Garvin, D. A. & Collins, E. (2009). RL Wolfe: Implementing self-directed teams. HBS case collection. Web.

Google, Inc. (2015). Google, Inc. Web.

Sosik, J. J. & Jung, D. I. (2010). Full range leadership development: pathways for people, profit, and planet. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

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