Founded in September 1998 by Larry Page, the current president of the Products department at Google, and Sergey Brin, the current president of its Technology department – the company, Google Inc. is recognized as the leader of the Internet search technology industry (“Google Management,” 2008; “Our Philosophy,” 2008). In fact, Google happens to be the “world’s largest search engine” today, “an easy-to-use free service that usually returns relevant results in a fraction of a second (“Company Overview,” 2008).” Even its name, Google, is derived from a mathematical term, “Googol,” meaning “1 followed by 100 zeros,” signifying the high speed of Google technologies (“Company Overview”).
Fortune magazine described Google as one of the top one hundred companies to work for in the year 2007 (“100 Best Companies to Work for 2007,” 2008). The mission of the company “is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful (“Company Overview”).” Eric Schmidt has been serving Google as its chief executive officer and chairman since 2001. The company also has a Board of Directors, comprising Schmidt, Page and Brin among others; an Executive Management Group, also including these three individuals; and many other executives carrying out their responsibilities for seven separate departments, including Products, Technology, and Legal departments (“Google Management”).
Originally founded in the United States, Google is now an international business with approximately ten thousand employees working in its offices around the world, including in Europe and Asia. The management team of Google is said to comprise some of the best technology experts in the search technology industry (“Google Management”). Its search technology products include specialized search engines, for example, Alerts, Book Search, Desktop, Earth, Finance, Images, Products and Scholar. Google’s advertisement search engines include AdSense, AdWords and Analytics. Applications, Enterprise and Mobile are three separate categories of innovative products of the company. Applications include free e-mail service offered by Google, that is, Gmail. Video and YouTube are also included in this category of products. Enterprise products of Google include Google Earth Pro and Search Appliance among others (“Product Descriptions,” 2008).
Google does not only produce groundbreaking technologies, it also believes in a philosophy that seems to have worked wonders in helping the company achieve its competitive edge. Google wants to be “[t]he perfect search engine,” in Page’s words. It has ten rules to back this philosophy. Google believes that these rules are always true: (1) Its technologies must focus on the end-user, that is, they are meant to satisfy the end-user before the company hopes for increasing returns in business; (2) It is best to create specialized technologies; (3) Speed is superior to slowness; (4) The company allows users of its technologies to provide feedback, referring to this process as a democratic one; (5) Google’s search technologies may be accessed not only with PC’s but also wireless phones, PDA’s and other technologies; (6) Honesty and ethics are essential for a successful business, so therefore Google believes in avoiding all forms of unethical behavior; (7) The company believes in integrating more information than before to be searchable through its technologies, for example, by creating a searchable phone book on the web if it has not been created thus far; (8) Information must be universally accessible through Google’s technologies; (9) The employees at Google enjoy an informal environment; and (10) The company believes in going the extra mile (“Our Philosophy,” 2008).
Google’s Organizational Culture
Google has experienced employee turnover with a value of zero, mainly because the organization has removed unnecessary hierarchies in management. It employs only those people who have shown academic excellence in top-ranking universities. Once employed, Google makes them spend almost twelve hours each day on their jobs. Moreover, the founders of Google had always insisted on making their company a fun place to work. Thus, the workplace uses Lava Lamps for decoration, and is painted in the colors of the Google Logo – rather bright, indeed. The people of Google – referred to as the Googlers – are permitted to bring along their pets to the workplace. Charlie Ayers, a celebrity chef, has catered to the dietary needs of the Googlers. They are all served free snacks, in addition to lunch and dinner. In the Googleplex there are snack rooms for the Googlers, serving them gummi bears, Googlers cereals, cashew nuts, as well as other snacks. Fruit juices, cappuccino, and soda are also available, of course (“Google’s Organizational Culture”).
Thus, Google’s organizational culture is meant to be a source of comfort for the Googlers. Furthermore, all of them are given free rein in matters of creativity. In point of fact, innovation and creativity are highly valued at Google. In the past the Googlers did not have a convenient way of expressing or recording their ideas. Today, the company uses an internal web page to track new ideas. Undoubtedly, these ideas come from some of the most intelligent people in the workforces of the nations where Google has set up its offices. After all, the company values brainpower more than experience (“Google’s Organizational Culture”).
Lashinsky explains Google’s organizational culture thus:
Life for Google employees at the Mountain View campus is like college. It feels like the brainiest university imaginable – one in which every kid can afford a sports car (though geeky hybrids are cooler here than hot rods).
Here the shabbily dressed engineers always will be the big men (and, yes, women) on campus. “Hard-core geeks are here because there’s no place they’d rather be,” says Dennis Hwang, a Google Webmaster.
Another similarity to college: New Googlers (Nooglers, in Google parlance) tend to pile on the “Google 15” when confronted with all the free food (Lashinsky, 2008).
Although the employees of Google appear as happy campers, and the company does its best to produce technologies that would satisfy its customers, it does not interact very well with its customers when they approach Google with questions or concerns (“Our Philosophy;” “Does Google have a Customer Service Problem,” 2005). The vice president of the Sales department at Google says that his company would like to build a nearly perfect customer service operation. He also maintains that his company does its best to interact with customers as they expect it to. Nevertheless, it has been found through research that Google’s customer service operation is less than satisfactory (“Does Google have a Customer Service Problem”). Then again, Google is focused on serving its customers with nearly perfect search technologies. It is not part of its ten point plan to perfectly serve them beyond this (“Our Philosophy”).
My Person-Organization-Fit with Google
Undoubtedly, Google, Inc. is one of the best organizations to work for. Rich corporations typically have dress codes. But, Google allows its employees to be themselves. They may not only dress informally, but also enjoy a fun-filled ambience. The company is known to offer great food in its offices. Although theories of organizational behavior are turning things around in many firms around the world, Google’s focus on satisfying all of its employees would attract almost everybody searching for a job. Besides, the company places a high value on creative thinking. This, too, is a blessing for its brilliant employees. Gifted people are, after all, filled with great ideas that organizations should be willing to explore.
All of the above mentioned features of the organizational culture at Google make it the ideal company for me to work for. Nonetheless, I may not be the right person for Google because I am not the kind of technology expert that the company seeks. Of course, there are various departments at Google that I may join. Perhaps some of the business related departments would be right for me. Still, Google’s focus on technology makes me believe that almost everybody working at the company must be well-versed in search technologies. Even if I were to join the Sales department at the company I would have to possess sufficient knowledge about the technology behind its innovative products to be able to sell them.
So although Google’s organizational culture appears to me as rather impressive, despite the fact that the company does not serve its customers as well as they expect it to – I do not believe that I am the ideal Googler. Of course, it depends on my specialization and Google’s needs. Then again, even if I believe that I can perform a particular job at Google with excellence, my insufficient knowledge of technological products does not allow me to see myself enjoying a long-term employer-employee relationship with the company.