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Culture is an essential intangible asset of any organization and can be one of the primary sources of competitive advantage. Overall, the term refers to “a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that show people what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior” (University of Minnesota, n.d.a, para. 1). By affecting employees’ behaviors and job-related mindsets and attitudes, organizational culture influences the overall performance of a company. Considering this, the present paper will analyze the effectiveness of corporate culture at Google. It will aim to evaluate approaches that the firm used when creating the culture and assess its ability to generate competitive advantages in the long run.
The strength of a culture is measured by the extent to which organizational members share corporate values (University of Minnesota, n.d.b). Considering this, it is possible to say that Google has a very strong culture. For example, its strength is manifested in the way the enterprise recruits new employees and carefully examines their compatibility with the corporate environment and the team. In this way, Google becomes able to find those talents who naturally can live up to the existing corporate values and easily adapt their behaviors if needed. Cultural strength is also manifested in the overall manner in which work processes and professional communication are organized. The company created systems (such as non-monetary benefits) that support desirable behaviors in workers and encourage them to excel.
Noteworthily, strong cultures are more difficult to change than the weaker ones because employees may resist necessary changes in behaviors and ways of thinking (University of Minnesota, n.d.b). Thus, to make any changes in the current culture, Google may need to alter its organizing structures, such as HR practices and motivation systems, that align individual behaviors with the overall corporate goals and vision.
It is valid to presume that Google’s unique culture will be of tremendous help for the enterprise in the future not only because it helps attract and retain talents and but also because it suits the market in which the company operates. According to the University of Minnesota (n.d.a), “it is important to have a culture that fits with the demands of the company’s environment” (para. 2). It is apparent that the information technology industry is continuously advancing and, thus, innovativeness capabilities substantially define firms’ competitiveness.
Therefore, while many successful enterprises do not like to take unnecessary risks when everything goes well, Google benefits by maintaining a high research and development intensity and encouraging individual employees and decision-makers to take risks and be flexible all the time. Overall, with this culture, it is likely that Google will remain highly competitive in the long run.
Besides industry demands for innovativeness, the main factor responsible for Google’s culture is the founders’ values. For instance, from the very first day of the enterprise foundation, Google creators, Larry Page and Sergey Brin intended it to be a human-oriented company (University of Minnesota, n.d.c). They put the interests of users above financial profits and the human-orientedness of the firm is traced in the way employees are treated as well. It seems that the founders would like to stay committed to this business approach and generate maximum benefits for all stakeholders.
At the present moment, Google applies an objective and non-intuitive approach to decision-making. Employees do not just follow the gut feeling but present data that support their decisions (University of Minnesota, n.d.c). In addition, Google encourages teamwork and strives to reach a consensus on every issue. Such a cooperative, data-driven method seems to be efficient. Noteworthily, a greater level of employee decision-making autonomy and environments where individuals are challenged by their team members to come up with creative solutions and are supported by them is associated with greater innovativeness (Fay, Shipton, West, & Patterson, 2014). Since innovation is one of Google’s pivotal objectives, it is unlikely that the current decision-making approach will be changed.
In risk-taking cultures, there is always a big chance for errors that may lead to significant financial and non-financial losses. A poor outcome may take place primarily because of risk identification challenges. For instance, a threat of adverse outcomes increases when decision-makers do not communicate effectively about potential risks, are overconfident, have insufficient insight, and do not follow industry and organizational rules (Jackson, 2014).
Like any other business, Google may fall victim to these challenges inherent in risk-taking. However, since nowadays Google hires the smartest people in the industry and encourages them to apply objective, non-intuitive approaches in decision-making (University of Minnesota, n.d.c), it has a certain level of control. To maximize the benefits of the risk-taking culture, the enterprise should continue to implement efficient analytical and communication tools, motivate employees to be diligent and productive, and improve its systems and procedures further.
Human-orientedness and accent on innovation and risk-taking are the major features of Google’s corporate culture. While the former quality makes it attractive to many potential employees and customers, the second one largely defines the company’s overall competitiveness and success in the market. The analysis revealed that Google’s culture is very strong as the enterprise utilizes effective organizing practices, such as motivation initiatives and recruitment procedures, that increase the adoption of corporate values by employees and stimulate desired behaviors in them.
However, this culture may be extremely difficult to change and due to the emphasis on risk-taking, the company can bear some significant losses. Nevertheless, current cultural practices helped Google to create an appealing brand image and become highly competitive. Therefore, it can be argued that Google’s unique culture will remain effective in the long run.
Fay, D., Shipton, H., West, M. A., & Patterson, M. (2014). Teamwork and organizational innovation: The moderating role of the HRM context. Creativity and Innovation Management, 24(2), 261-277.
Jackson, P. (2014). Risk culture and effective risk governance. London, UK: Riskbooks.
University of Minnesota. (n.d.a). 8.3 Understanding organizational culture. Web.
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University of Minnesota. (n.d.b). 8.5 Creating and maintaining organizational culture. Web.
University of Minnesota. (n.d.c). 8.2 Case in point: Google creates unique culture. Web.