Google: Organization Structure

Introduction

Google is the most used search engine in the world today. Google search engine is known for its ability to offer easy search for information in the internet. Although there are other search engines used for searching information, none of them is widely used and spread as Google. There has been a question on the reasons behind Google’s success. Although other factors could be quoted, Google’s organization structure is thought to be the major drive towards this success. Google organization structure and culture is very different from other organizations’ structures. The organization is owned by many stakeholders who have a say of the daily operation of the company. The organization is also know for it informal workplaces and unique culture.

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Organization structure

Every organization has an organization structures that helps in operations of the organization. The organization may be formal, well laid down or informal but whether informal or informal, the structure is very important. The organizational structure determines the duties of all stakeholders, chain of command and communication channels (Griffin, 2009, p 79). The ownership of the organization, management and other issues are also defined by the structure.

Many organization structures are used in organization today. The most used structure that is used by many organizations in western countries has been the hierarchical structure. In this structure, the chain of command in the organization is well defined with every individual in the organization knowing his or her roles and expectation. Despite of such organization structure that defines strict formal operations, some organizations have adopted informal structures for their operations (Griffin, 2009, p67). The structure of an organization is very influential to success or failure of an organization. A wrong organizational structure may interfere with smooth operations of the organization leading to failure. On the other hands, a good organizational structure may lead to great success in an organization.

Overview of Google

Sergey Brin and Larry Page formed Google, the leading search engine company, in 1998. As the company was formed, the two founders were students at Stanford University but had very ambitious ideas (Scott, 2008, p 56). The two believed that with creativity, one would get just riches by use of just ways. In twelve years, Google have grown from a company started in a garage to a successful multinational.

Currently people working for Google have grown to over twenty thousand and Google cyber cafes are spread all over the world (Farber, 2005, par 2). The mission statement of the company clearly suggests the kind of business that Google intended to be involved. As it is in the case of its founders, the mission statement emphasize on the need for creativity (Scott, 2008, p 56). All along its life, Google have lived to this mission by having much innovation on internet communication and search engine. In fact, the company is named as the most innovative company in the world for their ambitious innovations.

Google Organization structure

Google’s organizations structure is different from organizational structures in many other companies. The organization has many shareholders in many different levels all over the world. This makes it hard for the Google to work at the company levels. Larry and Sergey are the main owners of the organization. To be able to run the large organization, Larry and Sergey have structured Google in an ambitious way (Hernandez, 2008, p 61). For example, voting in the company is structured in a dual-class, giving Larry and Sergey a prime decision-making authority in the organization.

The organization structure in Google could be termed as flat when compared to the size of the organization. The structure has four main levels in the hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy are the organization main owners and founders, Larry and Sergey. Second in the hierarchy are the organization’s vice president, then middle managers and lastly individual workers. The founders make major decisions in the company while other decisions are distributed to middle managers and individual workers and teams.

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Besides the top management in Google, the daily operations of the organization are run by departmental managers. There are three major departments based on function: products, sales and marketing and supports. The organization’s engineers are given the responsibility of developing new product under different categories (Hernandez, 2008, p 71). There are product managers who head various products in the organization while providing leadership to product teams.

Sales in the organization are divided according to regions. Sale managers head sales in these regions. Other support roles such human resource, finance, legal issues and business strategies are also headed by managers. A t the lower level, staff in Google are organised into teams. Employees are assigned a team depending on projects but sometimes employees choose the team that they would like to work in. Work teams includes individual from different backgrounds and diverse skill. This creates teams with great potential for innovation and creativity.

Google have applied unique features in its structures. The organization uses different features to how its employee conducts themselves, how they are organised and evaluations used for their work (Farber, 2005, par 4). Google workplace is unique; employees are allowed to conduct themselves in non-formal way. Clothing in the organization is mostly casual, employees are allowed to carry over their unique personal lives into the workplace and casual communication is common (Hernandez, 2008, p56). For example, employees are allowed to go along with their pets to work; a trait that is uncommon in other organizations. Google’s founders heavily influence the organization culture. Since the founders were young individual as they started the organization, they created a culture that would fit with their lives.

Google organization culture take care of the not only the psychological needs of the workers but also social and other higher needs. There is no formal structure on the way to conduct besides being able to deliver on expectations. The employees can carry snack as they go to work, wear casual cloths. Lunch and even dinners are sometimes offered in the workplace. The employee also have access to facilities such as work-out gyms, ping pong tables, pool table or even watch movies right at the workplace. Unique characteristic create a feeling of fun to Google workers as they work for the organization.

Besides the casual work environment, the workflow is structured in a unique structure. Workers in all Google cyber cafes are organised into teams while work is structured in projects. Each team works on an individual project for certain duration. Each team manage itself with leadership in the teams moving from one team member to another (Hitt, 2008, 47). The team is responsible for the projects assigned to it. Individual workers in the organization are transferred from one project to another with aim of increasing creativity. Although team projects are emphasised, individual employees are allowed at least twenty percent of their time for individual projects.

Engineers and other workers at Google are encouraged to spend twenty percent of daily time in the organization while working on projects that interests them (Hierling, 2008, 23). This culture make specialist working for Google to be happy in their work and create an innovative culture that is important to keep Google in business. About half of the new products that come from Google originate from individual projects.

Analysis of Google organizational structure

Google’s organization structure can be viewed as an innovative organization structure that borrows much from functionalist perspective of work. The socials need and support are offered through the work teams. The structure of the organization is relatively flat for such a large organization (Hierling, 2008, p 45). The few hierarchical level of the structure leaves more power for decision making in the organization to be decentralized to individual centres and program teams. The flat structure increases the span of control in the organization. This has led to most decision in the organization to be distributed over the organizations.

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The flat structure allows project teams and individual in the organization to work under very minimum supervision (Weber, 2008, p 51). As in most flat structures organization, the major decisions in Google have to be made by the owners. For example, decision such as hiring of workers in flat structured organization is usually made by owners or top management (Hernandez, 2008, p 67). Similar observations are observed in Google. For example, the founders or top managers interviewed most of the new employees in Google.

Use of goal setting theory is evident in Google organization structure. Workers are motivated by the projects and goals. The organization is relatively young and technical. The organization operates in a fast changing complex environment that requires a lot of creativity. The operations of the organization are distributed and the structure is not very formal. For decisions, the organization rely more on expert advice rather than individual opinion.

The structures can be termed as highly organic for the dynamic and informal element in the organization (Hierling, 2008, p61). Coordination in such structure as in Google is mostly supported by frequent communication between stakeholders. In Google, departmental managers and working teams allow a channel for communication within the organization. Teams in the organization are organised around markets or products while members of the teams come from different functional areas of the organization.

Benefit of Google Organization Structure and culture to Its Operation

Google mission, to organise people’s information, defines its actual business. To be able to accomplish this mission, Google requires a lot of innovation and creativity. The organization structure and culture supports this as is evident in diverse new products originating from Google.

The flat structure with less hierarchical levels and bureaucracy allow decision making to be decentralized and distributed across the organization. Individual managers and team leaders are allowed to make major decisions that concern their areas or products. This allows decisions to be made relatively fast as required by Google business operation. Teams organised on products allow for individuals that are interested in a certain area to work together, increasing the level of commitment and enthusiasm (Weber, 2008, p 43). Emphasis to individual project has very positive contribution to Google’s operations. Individual projects increase level of creativity and independence as well as increase royalty to the organization (Hitt, 2008, p32).

Google casual organization culture has also led to great benefit to the organization. The culture represents a change in workplace culture in the twenty first century. The culture creates an impression that work in Google is more than just work but fun. This feeling is very important to the nature of work at Google. The feeling increase the level of happiness, royalty and motivate creativity.

Future organization trend in Google

Currently, Google organization structure is highly based on human relation. The flat and less formal organizational structure in Google has been supportive to its growth in a technically demanding environment; however, as the size of the organization continues to grow there would be need for change. The functionalistic approach that is dominant to Google’s organization structure may not be supportive in the future.

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As the company matures, radical approach will be the best approach. There could be need for the organization to be more structured with well-defined chain of command and responsibilities. In the future, the organization is likely to adopt more mechanistic structures and explicit rules and responsibilities (Griffin, 2009, p81). The balance between innovation and structured form is likely to be the major challenge to the organization. Formal structures reduce independence and lower increase communication time that may affect creativity in the organization. As the average age of employees in Google increase, there is likelihood for the casual Google culture to change.

Conclusion

Google has one of the unique organizational structures and cultures among successful organizations. Google organization structure is highly flat. The organization has less hierarchical levels. The founders, Larry and Sergey are top in the hierarchy followed by a vice president, middle managers and then individual employees. Middle managers constitute regional managers, departmental and project managers.

At the lower level, Google staff is organized in to teams that work on various projects. Cloths used are mostly casual, employee are allowed to carry pets, snacks and other personal thing while the organization provide recreation facilities such as work out gyms. Goals setting theory is evident in team and individuals projects. The organization structure takes care of higher humans needs leading to highly motivated workers. The flat organization structure and informal organization culture in Google have allowed innovation and creativity. Many of the innovative Google products result from team projects as well as individual projects. As Google increase in size, there will be need to the organization to adopt more structured forms.

Reference List

Farber, D 2005 “A View into Google’s inner workings”, ZDNet. Web.

Griffin, W 2009, ‘Organizational Behaviour: Managing People and Organizations’, New York, Cengage Learning.

Hernandez, C 2008, “The Organization Culture that exists within Google”, Business and Finance. Web.

Hierling, H 2008, ‘Organizational Culture and the Case of Google: What is Organizational Culture and how it Can Influence the Performance of a Company’ New York, GRIN Verlag.

Hitt, A 2008, ‘Strategic management: competitiveness and globalization: concepts & cases’, New York, Cengage Learning.

Scott, V 2008, ‘Google: Corporation that changed the World’, London, Greenwood Publishing Group.

Weber, S 2008,’ Organizational Behaviour – Google Corporate Culture in Perspective’, GRIN Verlag, New York.

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