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Organizational Communication: Google’s Organization Coursework

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Updated: May 31st, 2022

Introduction

Google’s organizational orientation, leadership approaches, management communication, and decision-making tend to be open, informal, and completely decentralized. As the driver of the company is constant innovation fueled by open access, Google favors a communication style that circumvents traditional management and bureaucratic structures. Google’s hierarchy tends to be flat, its chain of command flexible and accessible, and its communication networks relaxed and casual; this is not the case, however, for many organizations, including Google’s shareholders and several organizations in the enterprise market to which Google seeks access on par with Microsoft. Rather, many of these “large global enterprises [is] enterprises have bigger issues today. The reality is the majority of enterprises are running on ten-year-old technology and 20-year old management practices…the disconnect between the…hype on 2.0 and the reality [is] the long neck phenomenon, where ahead of innovators is separated from a body of practitioners” (Scupski 2009).

Google’s success goes without saying; success breeds power and the belief that if something is successful in one context, it must necessarily be successful in another. However, Google’s current communication strategy with its investors and in the enterprise market needs to deploy its trademark innovation to boost both access and profit.

Investor Communication

Google’s investor communication tends to be loose and slightly vague; its investors earn money, and at the end of the day that keeps the relationship intact, however in tough economic times communication with investors becomes paramount. According to Kelleher (2005), Google insists on “greeting Wall Street with a shrug. For now, Wall Street isn’t objecting. After all, who is going to complain about a company whose revenue more than doubled and whose profit grew sevenfold in its most recent quarter? Google has explicitly encouraged investors to take a long-term view. Yet its tendency to withhold information relevant to shareholders is a long-term concern. When a crisis hits…investors who have endured Google’s silence in good times will find it hard to shake off the feeling they’re not getting the full story” (Kelleher 2005). The unspoken attitude that investors understand in this type of communication is “trust us, we’re smarter than you,” which reveals a throwback to the kind of closed corporate hierarchy that Google’s organization rejects. It also puts Google at risk of losing investors to other companies that offer more transparency for the same return on investment (Keller 2005).

A strategy Google might employ to say more to investors without giving too much away is an invitation-only online tour of GooglePlex, with some of the products it has in development highlighted with revenue projections and potential markets displayed. These virtual tours would be short teasers designed to encourage investors to feel part of the innovation at the heart of Google. Google would be able to market its Willy Wonka appeal with minimal effort and the return would likely be more investors.

Communication in the Enterprise Market

Google’s organizational orientation supports achievement; it is action-based as opposed to role-based. Thus communication occurs freely across hierarchical structures, and management communication and decision-making are direct and highly collaborative, which partially explains Google’s strategy in the enterprise market. Perez (2008) writes that “Google is going about marketing to the enterprise market in a pretty ingenious way – they’re not. Instead, they’re bypassing the IT department…and marketing their suite on the sly directly to the employees themselves: Are the tools provided by your IT department too unwieldy to use? Is IT too slow to respond to your needs? Then forget IT and use Google Apps instead! This is a good plan for Google in the short term, but it’s not going to be good for them in the long run…especially when IT catches on to what their users are doing” (Perez 2008).

Google gets things done – that is one of its great strengths – however, in the enterprise market, large corporations require a certain structured communication approach. Google’s blog posts, though they appeal directly to the end-user, backfire somewhat as they reveal Google’s scant awareness of how the enterprise market functions. Valentino-Devries reports that in a recent post Google stated that “users probably already own Office 2003 or 2007…or maybe Office 2000…And to counter that, the company proposes that businesses use Google Docs in addition to older versions of Office” (Valentino-Devries 2010). While this is true, official communication statements such as these make Google appear naïve. Microsoft’s response to the blog posts was telling, and effective: “This underscores [that Google does] not understand the needs of businesses…This approach would require businesses to manage two systems and create a poor quality experience for workers. Not only does the approach decrease productivity, but it also increases costs” (Valentino-Devries 2010).

The strategy Google could employ to address this communication problem would be to employ the I.T. department as its advocate within the enterprise – give the golden ticket to the I.T. guys and let them do the rest. Send free samples of Google Docs to the I.T. managers of select enterprise companies, give them a brief yet private audience with Google’s elite and let them work the grapevine of their own company for free. This strategy would effectively allow access to the heart of the enterprise market, through the gatekeepers themselves – the I.T. department.

Conclusion

Google’s strength is innovation; its company runs on out-of-the-box thinking. Therefore Google’s current communication strategy with its investors and in the enterprise market needs only a few tweaks to become effective and garner access to the lucrative enterprise market.

References

K. Kelleher. (2005). Google’s grating silence. Web.

S. Perez. (2008). Google sites the next Sharepoint? Maybe not…why Google Apps could lose the enterprise market. Web.

S. Scupski. (2009). State of the enterprise market: Slow and unsteady. Web.

J. Valentino-DeVries. (2010). With Microsoft launching Office 2010, Google takes a swipe. Web.

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