Google: Organizational Behavior and Teamwork Effectiveness


Building a productive team of specialists who are able to cope with the assigned operational tasks efficiently and demonstrate high productivity is a crucial goal of both large and small businesses. Adequate leadership, quality incentive practices, strategic planning, and several other factors are valuable in achieving this perspective. This report aims at evaluating the performance of the multinational Google corporation in terms of the organizational behavior principles promoted in the company and the impact of skills that can either stimulate or inhibit teamwork. As an organization with extensive human resources and financial assets, Google promotes innovative approaches to employee interaction and creates conditions for the free professional growth of each employee. By using its example, current theories and management practices will be examined to evaluate the nature and success of the measures taken by the company to enhance performance. The progressive philosophy to which Google’s management adheres allows the corporation to maintain successful personnel-oriented internal policies, which increases the productivity of teamwork and positively influences organizational behavior by enhancing employee loyalty and commitment.

Stages of Team Development and Their Impacts

Team development is a critical process, and its sustainability and productivity largely determine the performance of the entire team working towards achieving common goals. Vaida and Șerban (2021) consider different frameworks designed to interpret algorithms for improving team efficiency. As a well-known and generally accepted concept, the authors analyze Tuckman’s four-stage model, first proposed in 1965 and largely defining the theoretical background of work in the study of team performance (Vaida and Șerban, 2021). Traditionally, as Super (2020, p. 554) notes, this framework includes four main stages: “forming, storming, norming, and performing”. However, according to Vaida and Șerban (2021), within a few years after the publication of his model, Tuckman added another stage – adjourning, which is based on reasoning about the potential factors accompanying team separation. All of these stages characterize teamwork, but their impact on individual development is also essential to consider to understand the influence of the model on employees’ personal performance but not only on their joint activities.

The first stage, forming, is the phase when no agreements or collaboration influence the work process. Employees have no experience of interacting with one another, and personal skills are the key differentiating factors. At this stage, as Vaida and Șerban (2021) note, individual strengths are manifested because each employee is guided by their own motives for joining the group. The vision of the team’s needs is reflected in the perception of the skills that a worker possesses, and during this period, employees tend to demonstrate those attainments that distinguish them from colleagues. Consequently, the forming phase is the step at which individual skills are manifested with an emphasis on each employee’s personal strengths and knowledge.

At the next stage of storming, employees are required to prove their individual skills by entering power struggles. The team has not yet been built, and, according to Vaida and Șerban (2021), conflict situations are possible. By following the stated goals, each worker expresses personal motivation, which is realized through applying individual skills and knowledge. Therefore, this phase largely determines how much the potential of employees is revealed.

The phase of norming is characterized by a more favorable microclimate in the team and better understanding among colleagues. Moreover, Vaida and Șerban (2021) remark that at this stage, clear leadership principles are formed, and employees can focus on specific personal skills instead of demonstrating all the attainments available to them. Thus, workers’ individual strengths are called upon to address specific goals and objectives but not the entire set of operating procedures.

At the stage of performing, the tasks of team members are assigned, and each employee has personal activities to perform. At this phase, individual skills are implemented with an emphasis on the professional attainments of each worker. There is no need to involve a wide range of performers for different tasks since all the strengths of the employees have already been determined. As Vaida and Șerban (2021) state, the delegation of authority allows utilizing labor resources rationally. As a result, super-efforts are not required to be shown because each worker is involved in individual activities.

The stage of adjourning is focused on analyzing the team’s success, and individual skills should no longer be enhanced. According to Vaida and Șerban (2021), the initial tasks have already been achieved, and workers’ attainments may be only assessed instead of distributing specific roles. Therefore, while taking into account the peculiarities of each stage of the model, one can note that employees’ individual skills are demonstrated distinctively during each phase.

Path-Goal Leadership Theory: Application and Performance

Among the wide variety of leadership concepts used in different organizations, individual models are designed to create a productive environment for increasing productivity and strengthening employees’ organizational behavior. One of such approaches is the path-goal theory that, as Phillips and Phillips (2016) argue, refers to situational models and is designed to influence colleagues’ motivation by stimulating their satisfaction with the work environment. The feature of this concept is that it does not seek to create a system of subordination. The theory is aimed at explaining the nature of the relationship between the leader and the subordinate in the process of achieving the assigned tasks (Phillips and Phillips, 2016). Employees’ personal interests are put above leaders’ ambitious goals, and the team works effectively if each of its members can develop their individual professional potential effectively, without experiencing discomfort. In such an environment, motivation increases significantly, and conflicts are rare since employees’ interests are comprehensively addressed, and the level of their organizational behavior is high. Thus, to maintain a favorable microclimate and stimulate productive collaboration, the path-goal theory is a convenient methodology to implement in the leadership process.

Employee motivation is the key objective to achieve by applying the path-goal concept. According to Bickle (2017), this goal is realized through three significant criteria: subordinates’ personal characteristics, leadership behaviors, and environmental characteristics. At each of the levels, relevant factors should be taken into account. For employee characteristics, perceived ability and locus of control are important; as leadership behaviors, supportive, achievement-oriented, participative, and directive approaches are relevant; for environmental characteristics, the work group and task structure are essential (Bickle, 2017). All these factors shape the basis of the path-goal theory and determine how motivated employees are to perform immediate tasks as productively as possible.

To assess how essential the above criteria might be, the analysis of the path-goal theory can be performed within the framework of the organization in question. Google is known for its democratic approach to communication with subordinates and effective motivational principles that stimulate employees’ high professional performance. As Kim, Lee, and Connerton (2020, p. 2) state, “successful Google teams have five elements in common: psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning, and impact of work”. The authors pay particular attention to the factor of psychological safety and note that organizational behavior largely depends on how comfortable employees feel in the team (Kim, Lee, and Connerton, 2020). While taking into account the specifics of Google’s business based on the development and implementation of digital innovations, the transparency of work and relative executive freedom have a positive impact on subordinate performance. The leadership of the company promotes the ideas of engagement and emphasizes the importance of each employee in the work process. These approaches are the crucial components of productivity and correlate with the high organizational behavior of the corporation’s personnel.

Concepts of Organizational Behavior

The productivity Google’s employees is the hallmark of the company, and the corporation is an example of an organization that applies effective principles of motivation and leadership. However, the organizational behavior of employees can be negatively affected by several factors that are barriers to sustainable and high-performance work. An example of a situation is the activities of the HR department of the company, where recruitment programs drawn up by responsible employees affect different individual factors of the applicant. Organizational behavior, in this case, depends on subjective evaluation criteria, and some barriers may appear due to biased approaches to assessing.

Perception, Stereotyping, Individual differences, and Empowerment

Prejudice can be accompanied by such a constraint as selective perception. Griffin, Phillips, and Gully (2016) analyze this barrier and view it as an approach associated with the personal interpretation of a specific issue outside the general context. With regard to the situation with the assessment of job seekers’ applications, this constraint manifests itself in HR specialists’ individual views on the professionalism and personal qualities of applicants. Stereotyping is a similar barrier that also involves personal views based on individual beliefs and not objectively judged. According to Griffin, Phillips, and Gully (2016, p. 138), this constraint implies “categorizing or labeling people on the basis of a single attribute”. HR employees, despite their professionalism, can be guided by personal criteria when assessing applicants’ personalities or skills. Such an approach to hiring is unacceptable; this is a barrier to high performance and violates the basic principles of organizational behavior when individual bias is unacceptable.

While analyzing the topic of barriers to high team performance, one should take into account individual differences. In Google, workforce diversity is valued highly, but if HR specialists are guided by general hiring principles and ignore specific approaches to each job seeker individually, the company risks missing out on talented employees. Griffin, Phillips, and Gully (2016) emphasize that individual differences can relate to distinctive learning styles, flexibility, and other personal criteria that are crucial to consider when building a stable team. Empowerment, being a frequent phenomenon in organizations, including Google, can be a valuable approach to productive teamwork. However, this practice can be associated with challenges and worsen organizational behavior. As Griffin, Phillips, and Gully (2016) remark, empowerment implies giving more freedom to employees. Nevertheless, if HR specialists in Google stop monitoring colleagues’ performance, this can lead to a shift in operational prospects and poor performance due to the lack of clear instructions. Therefore, to prevent the deterioration of organizational behavior, the aforementioned barriers are essential to take into account.

Social Capital Theory and Contingency Theory

With regard to the work of Google’s HR department, one can speculate on the application of appropriate theories that influence the principles of interaction and human resource management in the company. One of these concepts is the social capital theory that, as Zhao and Detlor (2021, p. 2) argue, can “facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit”. The principles of this concept lie in the analysis of three significant aspects – relationships, resources, and network structure. Google’s HR department can leverage the power of its resource base and foster sustainable collaboration by implementing this concept in its recruitment program and assigning new employee responsibilities based on the needs of the company. As a result, organizational behavior can be enhanced due to this mechanism of distributing duties adequately.

By following the provisions of the contingency theory, Google’s HR department can introduce flexible and, at the same time, effective strategies for enhancing new employees’ organizational behavior. Mohsin and Hongzhen (2020) note that this concept implies taking into account various factors influencing the work process, including motivation, task difficulty, and some others. Applying the contingency theory is a convenient tool to create an environment in which different aspects are taken into account, and not one particular leadership style is promoted but flexible control mechanisms. In such conditions, new employees interviewing for a job in Google can realize their professional potential to the maximum by having sufficient accompanying incentive drivers.

Decision-Making and Conflict Management

Decision-making and conflict management are often considered together in the context of the topic of organizational behavior. The primary reason for this is that, according to García et al. (2017), effective approaches to finding adequate solutions are an effective mechanism for preventing and mitigating disagreements among colleagues. Therefore, these concepts of organizational behavior can and should be part of a leadership practice to monitor subordinates’ activities. In Google, where thousands of employees work, conflict management tasks are one of the areas of the HR department’s activities. Its specialists, in addition to assessing the current operating conditions, conduct analytical work and interact with new employees by implementing the necessary strategies for avoiding conflict situations. The clarity of tasks, an adequate reward system, the availability of resources, achievable goals and time horizons, and other principles are promoted as conflict management approaches. In terms of decision-making, HR professionals inform employees about the engagement policy promoted by Google. García et al. (2017) state that this practice is a convenient tool for enhancing organizational behavior and work commitment. As a result, effective approaches to maintaining a robust operating environment have a positive impact on productivity.


Google, as a progressive corporation, develops effective personnel-oriented management approaches, which contribute to enhancing organizational behavior in the company and increase team performance. Specific theories and concepts discussed in the context of Google’s HR department and its recruitment strategies help analyze both barriers to effective behavior and the drivers of its development. The value of adhering to the strategies for increasing productivity confirms the need to introduce flexible mechanisms of maintaining teamwork. The outcomes of the report may be utilized as a guideline to develop corresponding leadership practices and build an appropriate working philosophy.

Reference List

Bickle, J. T. (2017) ‘Developing remote training consultants as leaders – dialogic/network application of path‐goal leadership theory in leadership development’, Performance Improvement, 56(9), pp. 32-39.

García, A. B. et al. (2017) ‘Competent or competitive? How employee representatives gain influence in organizational decision‐making’, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 10(2), pp. 107-125.

Griffin, R. W., Phillips, J. M. and Gully, S. M. (2016) Organizational behavior: managing people and organizations. 12th edn. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Kim, S., Lee, H. and Connerton, T. P. (2020) ‘How psychological safety affects team performance: mediating role of efficacy and learning behavior’, Frontiers in Psychology, 11, pp. 1-15.

Mohsin, A. K. M. and Hongzhen, L. (2020) ‘Practice approaches to management of human resource and organizational performance: four international theories explained’, Paideuma Journal, 13(4), pp. 25-36.

Phillips, A. S. and Phillips, C. R. (2016) ‘Behavioral styles of path-goal theory: an exercise for developing leadership skills’, Management Teaching Review, 1(3), pp. 148-154.

Super, J. F. (2020) ‘Building innovative teams: leadership strategies across the various stages of team development’, Business Horizons, 63(4), pp. 553-563.

Vaida, S. and Șerban, D. (2021) ‘Group development stages. a brief comparative analysis of various models’, Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Psychologia-Paedagogia, 66(1), pp. 91-110.

Zhao, L. and Detlor, B. (2021) ‘Towards a contingency model of knowledge sharing: interaction between social capital and social exchange theories’, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, pp. 1-13.

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