Google is a search engine that identifies every web page relevant to query then ranks them.
When it founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in August 1998, Google Inc. had an informal organization culture, which promoted creativity, removed unnecessary managerial hierarchies and stripped away everything that got in the way of its engineers’ freedom to work.
Today, it still upholds the same culture that is hailed as the most successful blend of culture and technology in Silicon Valley (ICFAI, 2001)
This fact is in evidence in the following statement by the company’s co-founder.
“We try to provide an environment where people are going to be happy. I think that’s a much better use of money than, say, hundred-million-dollar marketing campaigns or outrageously inflated salaries.”
– Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, in March 2003.
A 2005 Newsweek article shows how far the organization is willing to go to uphold this culture. The company provides dining facilities, gymnasiums, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, and other services (Schmidt &Varian, 2005).
This culture is not likely to change as the company matures because this approach has worked so well. In fact, according to CEO Schmidt, they hold meetings every Friday with questions and answers, where management and workers stay in touch. The company promotes an unusually wide internal dissemination of information, and thereby suffers a minimal number of serious leaks.
The company maintains an informal communication structure, doing away with phone tag and e-mail delay by collocating team members within a few feet of each other.
The organization has remained true to its commitment to delivering the fastest and most relevant search results, refusing to join other search companies which have turned into media companies.
Internet advertising, a market dominated by Google, works by tying ads to search queries. The company made $6.07 billion in 2005 from this market. The $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube.com, an 18 month old upstart company, seeks to integrate home videos, personal photos and commentaries with the advertising platform at Google.
In 2001, Google’s search service had become the 15th-most-visited Web site in the U.S. This was despite spending nothing on marketing, its search engine has become., according to Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. (BusinessWeek, 2001)
Google’s revenue went from nothing in 1998 to $5 billion in June, 2006 (Hardy, 2006). In May 2006, Google had a 44.7 percent share of the US search market (Hardy, 2006) as compared with 12 percent in 2001 (Mills, 2005)
The newspaper industry has had a long standing issue with the search engines due to the fact that people have started reading their news on the Web rather than in the dailies.
Also, the newspaper industry is not in agreement with Google’s approach to these demands is to block information that governments report as inappropriate based on local laws. The newspaper industry believes that this policy promotes repressive governments.
The company has a lawsuit pending (from October 2005) in the US by major book publishers against Google digitizing and storing digitizing and storing library books without the permission of copyright holders.
Another case pending is that of the French news agency Agence France-Presse which sued Google in March 2005 for taking photos and stories from AFP subscribers’ Web sites and offering them to Google users.
The requests from these bodies are for financial reparation.
The company has been successful in its public relations because these incidents are being well contained and have not caused any damage to the organization’s image.
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Case Code HROB041, “Google’s Organizational Culture | Human Resource and Organization Behavior Case Studies Collection”, ICFAI Center for Management Research, Retrieved October 22, 2006 from http://www.icmr.icfai.org/casestudies/catalogue/Human%20Resource%20and%20Organization%20Behavior/HROB041.htm
Hardy, Q. (2006), The Google Industrial Complex. Forbes, 178(8) p. 108.
Mills, E. (2005), Google’s excellent adventure Google’s excellent adventure, CNET News.com, Retrieved October 22, 2006 from http://news.com.com/2061-10802_3-5767127.html
Newspapers Fight Back Against Search Engines (2006). TechWeb, CMP Publications, Inc.
Schmidt, E. &Varian, H. (2005), The Google Workout. Newsweek,146(25), p.E17.
Why they’re agog over Google (2001), Business Week, Sept 24(i3750), p.83.