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From the onset it would seem that Google was destined for success and to do great things from the moment of its inception; there is no doubt that Google tackled and solved a critical issue in the information technology sector that has persisted for long in very ingenious ways.
It is this Google’s first ingenious innovation that would set the stage for its future successes in the years to come, which is an expectation that it has not failed to deliver. It is no doubt that the technological innovation of its revolutionary search algorithm is what provided it with the lucky break that it so much needed (Gladwell).
It is on this backdrop that we can best analyze the Company’s most influential motto and its business strategy in general that has positioned Google to become the present day multibillion Company that it is.
Google’s Motto: Don’t be Evil
Google’s motto of “don’t be evil” is best expounded in its corporate values that have greatly shaped the business ethics of the company and significantly driven its success in the industry. From the onset the founders of the company adopted and instilled strong and distinctive corporate values in every aspect of its business processes.
These values which formed Google philosophy have been integral to its success and this motto is one of the most integral corporate values tenets that drives the company which are “i) do no evil, ii) technology matters and iii) we make our own rules” (Edelman and Eisenmann).
These three rules amongst others have had a profound effect on the company’s actions and contributed immensely to its performance.
The principle of “do no evil”, which has consequently becomes the Company’s motto guides all the company’s core business activities which are mainly in advertising and search business; as a result of this motto Google for instance forbids the advertising of guns, hard liquor and pornography content on its sites (Google.com).
In addition, because of its motto, Google insists on ethics in its advertising business and does not engage in manipulating results to make a quick profit or misconstrue facts to gain a competitive edge which has served to maintain its integrity.
Its search engine is designed to show only relevant results that have not been manipulated; as a result of its integrity, Google searches are respected by users as the results are reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
It is no wonder then that Google’s share of the search business was approximated in 2010 to be at “65% in US and 90% in the rest of the world” (Edelman and Eisenmann).
Google’s unique motto and corporate values are also seen in other varied ways such as in the way that it claims to make its own rules and does not allow itself to be controlled by limitations placed by the industry (Edelman and Eisenmann).
Just recently in 2009 it would be remembered that Google opted to pull out of Chinese market rather than bend to pressure of government dictatorial laws that demanded that Google hand over personal data for some of its customers so that the government can monitor their communications.
Choices such as this and others where US federal government was also at one time demanding the same had only served to assert how Google takes seriously its motto of “do no evil”.
Google Success Factors
In general Google’s success factors can be comprehensively summarized in a range of four factors even though they are many and varied, these are; first rate technology, business innovation, core competence & integrity (Google.com).
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More importantly is the fact that Google has complimented its business model with an effective corporate and governance structure and sought the best human resource skills that it nurtured as the Company continued to grow.
Google’s unique organization and corporate structure is what enabled it to perform effectively because employees are not bogged down by the organizations red tape (Edelman and Eisenmann). Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has developed a unique and unconventional approach of managing the employees.
He developed the 70/20/10 rule of managing innovation in employees which stated that 70% of all their time and effort should be spent on the organization’s core activity which was search business and advertisement while the rest of the time could be used in designing personal projects (Edelman and Eisenmann).
This rule has not only been unique to most mainstream organizations, but is also the strategy behind Google’s success in producing very innovative products.
The 20% time spent by engineers on related projects has been the source of virtually all new and major innovations that the company has developed which include Gmail, Google Earth, amongst others (Edelman and Eisenmann).
The company acknowledges that most of its innovations come from engineers’ personal projects rather than from the company’s top management (Edelman and Eisenmann).
The company also operates small work teams as opposed to wide departments as is the tradition in large organization in the industry.
This is because of what the CEO describes as focused energy because few people working together offer several advantages which he cites as being “more productive and allow the company to pursue several hundred projects simultaneously” (Google.com).
Google’s has also done away with middle level management personnel which has served to cut bureaucracy and increases efficiency which is integral to its success of its projects (Google.com).
While it is clear that Google’s unique organization and governance structure as well as its corporate values have been a source of its distinctive competitive advantage, it also places severe limitation on the organization success.
The absolute control that has been placed on the three top executives demonstrates lack of an oversight body such as a board of directors in controlling and managing risk. Though the company has not undertaken any project that has resulted in a major loss, we cannot foretell if its smooth run will continue into the future.
A board of director that is especially skilled and independent is useful in advising and managing risk in a company but which Google has none, courtesy of its unique organizational structure.
Google’s unique corporate and management strategy is valuable in attracting brilliant engineers that aspire to work in an environment where they can pursue projects that they desire independently.
However, as the company grows and matures, its current management naturally becomes more engaged in social and family activities which mean they have less time to commit to the Company.
Thus, there is need to inject new management which is unlikely to happen under the present governance system that the organization has.
Edelman, B. & Eisenmann. “Google Inc.” Boston: Harvard Business School. 2010. Print
Gladwell, J. “Factors behind Google’s Early Success, 2011.” Web. <http://theideapost.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-are-factors-behind-googles-early.html>.
Google.com. “Play it safe, family-safe, 2011.” Web.