Google Inc. is one of the leading providers of internet-related services and products in the global market. The firm was founded in September 4, 1998 as a privately held company by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University while pursuing their PhD program (Gedde, 2014).These two scholars started a project of developing search engines that can rank results based on how frequent a question is asked and how often a web page is visited. In what they called Page-Rank, Larry and Brin developed algorithms that can determine the relevance of a given websites to any person who is online.
The search engine would rank the results based on the relevance and how frequent a given site is visited. The two realized that their project could be commercialized and in 1998, they started commercial operations. Since then, Google has grown to become the most popular search engine in the world. It has expanded through acquisitions, and currently it offers numerous products and services to clients all over the world.
According to Balu, Google currently employs over 57,148 people from various parts of the world. Its top engineers and other experts are located at the firm’s headquarters (Balu, 2015).Other experts and marketing officers are stationed strategically in various countries in Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America to address critical issues that may affect the normal operations of the firm and distribution of its products.
This company, according to Balu (2015), has been keen on identifying talents and hiring them to promote innovation in product development and marketing. The top management at this firm has been keen to develop a unique organizational behavior to help in its normal operations. Its open-door policy enables junior employees to share their unique ideas with top managers to help promote efficiency and innovation. The firm has developed mechanisms meant to promote positive attitude at work and employees’ motivation as a way of maintaining an enabling workplace environment.
The world is changing in various respects and technology has been at the forefront in influencing this change. Firms such as Google are at the centre of technology as a unique industry that influences all other industries. These technological firms are under great pressure to remain innovative as a way of managing competition in the market. To them, understanding what customers need is no longer an issue. Their concern is to understand and start developing what customers will need in future, while still offering what is currently needed in the best way possible. The experts at Google must always think of the future while still living in present.
Achieving this require a unique workforce that is willing to work for longer hours to get results that others may think is unachievable. This has forced the management to develop organizational behavior that can help inculcate a unique desire among the employees to achieve more even when that seems to be impossible. In this analysis, the researcher will focus on two areas of organizational behavior where this firm has achieved excellence.
Emotions and Moods
Gedde (2014) defines emotions are short-lived feelings which are caused by known environmental factors. On the other hand, moods refer to prolonged feelings whose point of formation may not be clearly understood. It is important to understand that moods and emotions may have direct impact on the quality of work environment hence the output of employees. Emotions and moods can either be positive or negative based on their triggers. Negative emotions can slow work progress and quality of output from the affected employees at a given time.
When such negative feelings are not put into control, they may develop into moods. It is easier to deal with negative emotions by eliminating the stressors than dealing with moods. The figure below shows a team of happy and highly motivated employees. Maintaining that happiness among the employees is one of the secrets to achieving success in the workplace.
At Google Inc, the management has created an enabling environment where employees can express their feelings freely without any fear of intimidation. The top management has created a policy that encourages equality and respect for all employees irrespective of one’s position at the firm. When an individual feels that he is dealing with an emotion caused by a trigger within the firm, there are clear channels that he can follow to address the issue. Such an employee is allowed to seek intervention of the top managers to address pressing issues that may affect their operations. For instance, the firm has created a system where employees can review their immediate supervisors based on the nature of relationship they have with him and other factors.
The review is not meant to intimidate the supervisors. In the contrary, it is meant to create a two-way review system where employees review their supervisors and supervisors also review their employees to ensure that any issue that may bring misunderstanding within the firm is addressed in the best way possible. According to Gedde (2014), the firm also promotes the need to address negative stressors as soon as they are detected before they can affect the employees negatively.
For instance, employees outside the United States were once concerned that the firm was ignoring the need to support innovativeness in their countries. The management acted swiftly by creating incubation centers at various regions in Europe, Asia, and Africa to support innovation at these regional headquarters.
According to Gedde (2014), one of the most common causes of negative emotions and moods is poor decision-making by the management. When the junior employees feel that they are not involved in making decisions that affect their work environment, they may become stressed or even angered by the management. This firm has been keen on avoiding such circumstances. The management currently involves its junior employees in decision-making processes. A good example is in the development of the firm’s marketing strategies. The top managers always encourage the junior marketers to make their opinions known to the senior officers. The senior officers will then develop marketing strategies based on the opinions given by the employees.
Promoting positive emotions and moods is one of the best ways of improving quality of employees’ output. Google Inc is one of the firms that have been keen to promote positive organizational cultures amongst employees as a way of motivating them. According to a Forbes survey conducted in 2013, Google was ranked one of the best employers in the United States (Miller & Pellen, 2014).
The level of employees’ motivation was above the market average. Most of the graduates at various institutions of higher learning within the country also noted that they would prefer working at Google after their graduation. They cited a positive working environment at this firm where interests of every single employee are taken into consideration regardless of the position one holds. Managing emotions and moods of the employees require deep understanding of the cultural differences of the workforce, especially for a firm that operates in the global market. Google Inc’s management is very flexible when it comes to dealing with these cultural differences. Although the firm has a unique organizational behavior that it is promoting in all its branches, it is also conscious of the fact that some areas may require special treatment based on the exceptional local environmental forces.
Robbins (2013) defines emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to perceive emotions in the self and others, understand the meaning of these emotions and regulate them accordingly in a cascading model. Google Inc. has invented a unique program they call ‘Search-Inside Yourself’ Leadership program to develop emotional intelligence for their employees.
This unique program teaches people how to be more conscious of their emotions, more sympathetic towards others and capable to form sustainable relationships and share peace and harmony in workplace. Furthermore, it converts complicated concepts into extremely realistic and approachable concepts (Giang, 2015). The following figure shows the emotional empathy process which leads to emotional intelligence.
Tan has created a team of professional leaders who are specialized in attributes such as mindfulness, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, which have contributed to make SYI a success at this firm. The main framework of the program uses the five factors of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and leadership skills (Siyli, 2015). SIY program is divided into three steps:
- Attention Training: It involves having the ability and skills to concentrate and set your mind to a place which is calm and clear, and this is the foundation of emotional intelligence.
- Self-Knowledge: As soon as your mind is calm and clear, you will be able to create self-awareness which could be developed over time and it grows into self-proficiency. The more you know yourself gives you the ability to control your emotions.
- Creating Mental Habits: To think about a mental habit that you want to experience with people. Kindness is a good example; when you look at every person thinking that you want her or him to be happy. As soon as it becomes a habit, you will feel that’s a natural feeling that you don’t have to think about.
During the SIY program, two instructors support the participants to reach the goal of the course. The first, who should be a neurologist, provides a scientific research and the other instructor delivers practical guidelines. The neurologist concentrates on what’s happening in one’s brain, demonstrating how twirling thoughts link with the battle of hormonal impulses produced from development. In the workplace, this concept has helped managers and supervisors at Google to know how to handle junior employees under various contexts.
One of the techniques which are applied in this program is to feel compassion. In a practical context, a trainer would ask two employees to sit facing each other. He will create an impression that the individual sitting opposite to you is in need of serious help to help him lead a normal lifestyle. This drill helps people to value one another at workplace (Baer, 2015). As positive results of emotional intelligence, you can acknowledge great habits in people with high emotional intelligence that leads to success.
The program trains employees to always focus in the positive side without neglecting the negative part. This way, they concentrate on what they are capable of and search for resolutions to a problem. They avoid negative thoughts and surround themselves with positive ideas, because they can affect people’s productivity with their negativity. They should set borders and should always be firm when necessary. Employees at Google Inc have embraced this concept. They are very understanding to any situation they go through, and are always keen to handle it with calmness (Deutschendorf, 2014).
Someone would question, why a leading company like Google would invest in emotional intelligence. The top-secret component to a remarkable leadership is connecting with people. That’s why it is very essential to develop emotional intelligence inside the workplace. Google spent a great investment in emotional intelligence which is reflected on their employee’s performance and its success as a multinational technology company.
Motivating employees begins with recognizing that to do their best work, people must be in an environment that meets their basic emotional drives to acquire, bond, comprehend, and defend. There are many ways of motivating employees in the workplace. It is important to note that there is no single universal way of motivating employees. This is so because of the differences in personalities of different people (Aoife, 2014).
What are the strategies that Google Inc uses to motivate its employees?
The model of leadership that Google Inc uses goes beyond the traditional theories which only focuses on the need to deliver results at the expense of the employees. The firm’s work culture is deeply rooted in the following philosophy:
To create a happy and highly productive workplace for the employees
The firm needs to understand specific needs of its employees in order to ensure that everyone remains motivated at all times. Sometimes the task of identifying individual employee’s needs may be very challenging, especially to a large organization such as Google. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may be instrumental in understanding these needs.
Junior employees may have greater physiological and safety needs than the higher needs. The supervisors may require a sense of belonging and love from the fellow employees. Senior managers may have esteem needs. The owners of this firm may achieve self-actualization based on how they view their success.
Google uses many different ways to motivate its employees. One of these ways is transparency. At this firm, employees are the most important assets and the management is keen on ensuring that they are motivated in their work. In this way, the firm demonstrates to its employees that it trusts them with critical information that would otherwise be considered confidential. For example, the company has adopted a policy where all the employees are briefed about issues that have been discussed by the board of directors. This briefing takes place a few weeks after the meeting of the board (Martin, 2014). This was considered appropriate to ensure that all the employees are aware of the expectations of the board of directors.
Another approach that Google Inc. uses to motivate its employees is Unconventional Office Designs. Google is popular for its unique office designs that creates conducive environment for the employees. The designs are not only meant to create ambience but also an environment where top engineers can interact and share ideas with junior employees. This helps in idea generation and enhancement of maximum creativity while also ensuring employee happiness (Martin, 2014). The figures below shoes some of these unique office designs.
The figures above show some of the common designs at Google Inc’s offices in various parts of the world. The manner in which the firm uses other benefits to motivate their employees, especially benefits such as dental care services, insurance, tuition reimbursements and vacation packages, is also unique. These are some of the factors that have made this company to be very popular among its employees. They feel cared for at all times, and this motivates them a lot. Listed below are some examples of the benefits offered by this firm:
- Reimbursement for legal expenses of up to USD 5000.
- Fully-paid Maternity leave of up to of 18 weeks. The firm also has special perks for the new parents to help them cope with the new financial loads after the birth of a child.
- Lunch and dinner is available free of charge
- On-site car wash, oil change, bike repair, dry cleaning, gym, massages therapy and hair stylists are available at the company in amazing view (Terpstra, 1979).
Google is also very flexible with its employees as another way of motivating them. The management structure at the firm offers engineers opportunity to choose the projects they prefer to work on. Employees are always under minimal supervision, allowing them to use their own ways of addressing various tasks as long as they achieve the expected results. For example, employees can arrive for work at any time they like as long as they deliver on their assignments. These benefits have created a workplace environment where every employee is determined to deliver quality output as they make concerted effort to reciprocate the care and concern accorded to them (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959).
The management of Google Inc has been keen to provide both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. It believes that offering financial and non-financial rewards to its employees is critical in enabling them to improve in their service delivery (Martin, 2014). It is, therefore, not a surprise that most of the employees at this firm register high levels of satisfaction.
Attitude & Job Satisfaction
Loosvelt (2015) defines attitude as feelings and thoughts, which can be positive or negative, that one has towards something or someone. In the workplace, attitude plays a major role when it comes to job satisfaction. An employee who has a negative attitude towards a supervisor may not appreciate the efforts of the employer in trying to create an enabling environment. The way one feels and thinks towards a given task will always define his behavior when addressing such tasks. This explains why Giang (2015) emphasizes on the need to develop positive attitude among the employees as a way of promoting teamwork, efficiency, commitment, and desire to achieve success.
Google Inc’s Environment
The management of Google Inc has created an environment where employees feel more relax. The company offers a number of benefits to its employees to ensure that they lead a less stressful life both at work and outside their workplace environments (vault). One of the unique practices at the company is that there is career mapping to help employees define their future.
Career mapping offers a clear path for employees to define what they want to continue doing at the firm. This path is offering great ways to identify and develop one’s talents within the company. This is a unique practice as many firms around the world are yet to develop such frameworks that allow and help employees to find hidden talents that may not necessarily relate to their profession. In order to enhance employees’ talents and skills, the management has developed a system where employees can set their own goals which are then reviewed by their fellow employees periodically. They have to continue learning at all times in order to be more productive (Hein, 2012).
Google Inc is concerned with the wellbeing and happiness of its staff. A recent research by Reed (2013) reveals that Google as authorized its regional managers to send specific employees to the headquarters to learn various issues about project management, especially in areas that poses serious challenges. Such employees are taken to the firm’s business incubators where their skills are sharpened to make them more efficient. Such trainings are not only meant to improve their productivity but also to promote job satisfaction.
According to Loosvelt (2013), the more people love their jobs, the more successful they will be in tasks. In 2013, Google was ranked as the best company to work for globally because of the unique benefits it offers to its employees (Hein, 2012). The employees can be fully entertained within the premises of this firm without having to incur any expenses.
The company’s management is very democratic, always keen to listen to the views of all the stakeholders. As Kirk (2015) says, opinion of everyone counts as the firm struggles to achieve success. However, this freedom comes with responsibilities. Inasmuch as the employees have freedom to choose how they want to address their assignments, they must be aware that the firm expects them to deliver impressive results.
Conflict resolution is another factor that may influence employees’ attitude and job satisfaction. The firm has various forums for addressing different types of conflicts. Job training and seminars are regularly organized at the firm to promote job satisfaction by positively influencing the attitude of the employees. These strategies explain why Google Inc has remained one of the best employers in the world (Fortune, 2015). The table below shows the ranking of this firm from 2009 to 2015 in terms of employees’ satisfaction.
|Year||Google Ranking on 100 Best Companies to Work For|
It is clear that this firm has developed an enabling environment for its employees to influence their attitude and job satisfaction. The firm is keen on protecting the interests of its employees at all times. It is conscious of the fact that private lives of its employees directly influence their output.
According to Miller and Pellen (2014), creativity refers to one’s ability to have new ways of perceiving the world with the aim of finding unique solutions to common problems in the society. This definition brings out very important characteristics of creativity that have been witnessed at Google Inc. To be creative, one must strive to solve existing problems by perceiving the world in a new way, find patterns which might be hidden, and make relevant connections. This may seem to be a simple series of steps that one can easily follow, but Miller warns that creativity may not be as simple as some may believe.
One must first understand what should be achieved. In many cases, human beings easily conform to the environment. They adapt to the existing environmental forces to live in harmony with natural forces. However, creativity seeks to challenge these forces by making them embrace what human beings find comfortable. Sometimes creativity may involve defying existing environmental forces.
At Google Inc, the management understands the need to embrace creativity and innovativeness in its operations. The firm was created out of an invention by the two founders. They developed a product that did not exist at that time. The unique algorithm that could rank online searches based on their relevance to the clients was one of the biggest successes in the internet industry. However, the management knew that it was not enough to come up with this single product to a market that is highly dynamic.
It was necessary to continue modifying the product and developing other related products to maintain competitiveness in the market. That is why the firm developed incubation centers at its headquarters and in regional head offices around the world. These centers are meant to facilitate idea generation, testing, and possible commercialization if it is viable.
Creativity at Google is slowly moving from the incubation centers to the actual workstations of individual employees. The management has not eliminated the centers, but emphasis is now laid on the new ideas generated out of the work experience. The research by Walker shows that employees who interact with customers are in the best position to determine what their future needs may be and how a firm can meet such needs (Walker, 2011).That is what this firm is currently doing. Lorraine Twohill, Google’s vice president and head of global marketing, once stated that worth of an employee is determined by his ability to deliver results today and find possible solutions to future problems.
The open-door policy at the firm is one of the most important ingredients of organizational behavior that has helped in promoting creativity at the firm. In the past, most organizations had rigid communication system where a junior employee had to communicate with the immediate supervisor even if the message targeted the top managers. In such cases, it was common to find that the message failed to reach the intended audience. In case it did, then it would be so distorted that its original meaning would be lost. Promoting creativity in such environments is almost impossible. At Google, employees have a virtual environment where they can share their ideas with relevant stakeholders who can help in its development. The barrier to communication that existed before between top managers and junior employees has been eliminated by this virtual environment.
According to French (2012), Google Inc is one of the few global firms that have embraced talent search in institutions of higher learning across the world. Talent search is common in the field of sports, especially football. However, firms have now realized that they also have to search for talents instead of waiting for them at their doorsteps. Google has bought a number of ideas from their original owners at impressive prices. Besides buying these ideas, the firm would employ the innovators to help in developing and commercializing the ideas. Academic excellence is what every student seeks to achieve at the college. However, Google looks beyond such excellence. The firm is keen to identify employees who can think of unique ways of addressing existing problems.
According to French (2012), creativity at Google Inc is best demonstrated by its unique products such as G-mail, YouTube, and Google map, among others. G-mail services came at a time when Yahoo’s mail was facing a number of problems in the market. This timing made this product to become very popular in the market. As Deutschendorf (2014) notes, many people are now migrating from Yahoo mail, which is considered slow and insecure, to G-mail. The product is simple to use compared to those offered by rival firms.
YouTube is another successful product that demonstrates the creativity of this firm in meeting unique customer needs. According to Martin (2014), YouTube is one of the most revolutionary social media that are in use today. The ability to share videos and audios in a social media platform was something beyond the wildest imagination of many people a few years ago. However, YouTube has made this possible.
This product is one of the greatest sources of income for Google Inc. Instead of using mass media, many companies now prefer using social media to advertise their products. YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms that firms are currently using to reach out to the target audience with relevant information. It is currently one of the most popular sites for entertainment. Google map is another product that demonstrates creativity of this firm. The product is popularly used by professionals such as engineers, surveyors, designers, architects among others.
Creativity: The Google Self Deriving Car
Google is known for its creativity and projects that are new and useful in this century. One of these new projects is the self-driving car which means it will have its intelligence to be on the road without a need of a driver (Fisher, 2013). This car is based on electrical power and using a driving software that is developed by Google and named as Google Chauffeur (Thrun, 2010).
Sebastian Thrun is the engineer responsible for this development and he is one of the inventors of the famous Google Street View. He developed the idea at his previous workplace with his team (Markoff, 2010). This invention will have massive impact in the motor industry, but it currently its use in some parts of the country may be restricted by law (Slosson, 2012). The completed design of the car, Google SDC, is expected to be resealed in the market in 2017 (Valdes, 2012).
The technology of this car is based on different components that are produced by various companies such as LG, Bosch, Continental, and ZF Lenksysteme. The concept is about sensors and map readers that will be provided to the car system by laser set, radar system and installed street maps for the world which allows the car to follow the path according to the reading from the surrounding environment. It also includes reading the traffic lights and can be managed and controlled remotely (Markoff, 2011).
The project is still in its developing. There are some issues facing Google that will have to be addressed before the project can be commercialized (Slosson, 2012). The firm is making deals with car manufacturers such as GM and Ford in USA, Daimler and Volkswagen in Germany and Toyota in Japan in developing the car (Knapp, 2011).
Google Inc is one of the largest firms in the world in terms of brand value and revenues generated out of its operations. One of the most important reasons why this firm has remained successful is its unique organizational behavior. The top management has created an enabling environment where junior employees can easily interact with their seniors to address issues that may affect the firm’s normal operations.
This environment has made it possible for the employees to be innovative in their respective workplaces making the firm very successful. The discussion above also reveals that employees at this firm are highly motivated by a number of incentives. It has been ranked one of the best employers in the world since 2009. Within this period, the firm has become one of the top brands and most used product in the global market.
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