Analysis of Organisational Culture at Google
Analyzing an organization is no more than studying first its genesis its mottos and beliefs and the future it holds for the society that it resides in. For most companies, an organization is neither a science nor an art; it’s an oxymoron. It is not a result from systematic, methodical planning but, shaped more by politics than by policies. However, perceiving an organization from a critical point of view would overshadow all the development and technology that many organizations have contributed to our society. In the words of Walt Disney co-founder of the Walt Disney Company states that “Whatever we accomplish is due to the combined effort. The organization must be with you or you don’t get it done… In my organization there is respect for every individual, and we all have a keen respect for the public”.
The author has chosen to talk about the Google culture from an Interpretivism perspective as she worked as an Ad Words Representative for the organisation.
2. Organizational Background
Google Inc an American public corporation earns its proceeds primarily from its advertising which is related to its Internet search, e-mail, online mapping, office productivity, social networking, and video sharing. Google is not a conventional company and with no intention to become one either. Throughout Google’s evolution as a privately held company they have always done it differently, where the emphasis is laid on the creativity and challenge of its people which has resulted in providing unbiased, accurate and free access information for its users.
The genesis of this organization begins with its co- founders Larry Page and Sergey Bin alumni of Stanford University where it was incorporated as a privately held organization on September 4, 1998 and then was moved to public ownership on August 19th 2004. The organization is globally spread across starting from the Head office in Mountain View California, with some of its subsidiaries being India, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Czech Republic, Poland, South Africa, etc. With approximately 20,000 employees working for this organization it has been voted by Fortune Magazine as ‘The Best Company’ to work for the second time in February 2008.
3.1 Data collection
The analysis of the organization is done with respect to the Indian subsidiary that is geographically located in the south of India- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The author worked as an As Words representative for the organization. The data collection for this analysis is based on a subjective and objective perspective, the subjective data being the author’s observations, perceptions and experiences, and the objective being that which is communicated and believed within the organization over the years. The author relates the analyses to the one year work experience, work relationships, work climate and culture, training and evaluation methods which was gained and undergone at the organization. The author also takes into count the strength of the workforce and the significant department in concern in which the author was a count for and worked for. The strength of the workforce noted to be an exact number of a 1000 employees for the year 2007- 2008 who worked for this subsidiary handling the Online Sales Operation for Asia Pacific, with Ad Words being the main revenue generating product other than that of Ad Sense.
3.2 Theories applied
The analysis of the organization has been done on the transformational factor, Organizational culture, with a correlation to that of the author’s paradigm on Burrell & Morgan’s Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, Heinemann, 1979 . Geert Hofstede’s ‘Cultural dimensions theory’ has been used as the main model of analysis, however, to move beyond the national culture dimension and towards the organizations levels of culture Edgar Schein’s ‘Three levels of culture’ has also been applied.
Burrell & Morgan’s Sociological Paradigms gives an outlook of the author’s quadrant of perception on the company. Furthermore, the focus of study is from a radical humanistic point of view, the author falls under this paradigm believing that change begins with individual. The below given study also covers the founders view of organizational culture which is supported by the interview with Fortune Magazine.
Organizational Perception & Interpretation
4.1 Burrell & Morgan’s Sociological Paradigms
Understanding that the paper necessitates a more focused and specific analysis Burrell & Morgan’s Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, Heinemann, 1979 paradigms has been applied as this synchronic model makes sense, which it places to time dimension on the study and understanding of organizations. It can be comprehended that a paradigm is a lens through which we perceive the world, each lens giving their own meaning and assumptions about the nature of the world and the way it is ought to be made sense of. There are many different lenses, which exist for viewing and understanding the world, and what follows will be a necessary simplification of a complex and constantly shifting set of boundaries that define the current paradigms (Penny cook, A. 2001). Explaining Burrell & Morgan’s Theory it is developed by a 2?2 matrix scheme to help classify and understand existing sociological theories based on four major paradigms. The matrix was structured based on the four main debates in sociology, which was then further consolidated into two fundamental issues that form the axis of the 2?2 matrix.
Functionalist Paradigm (objective regulation): Individuals in this paradigm rest upon the premise that society has a real concrete existence and a systematic character and is directed toward the production of order and regulation. The social science enterprise is believed to be objective and value-free. This paradigm possess a pragmatic orientation, it is concerned with understanding society in a way that produces useful, usable knowledge. (Craig & Paul, 1991)
Interpretive Paradigm (subjective regulation): From this perspective, social reality, although possessing order and regulation, never realizes an external concrete form. Instead it is the product of inter-subjective experience. The goal of this paradigm is of developing a purely ‘objective’ social science is a specious one. (Craig & Paul, 1991)
Radical Humanist Paradigm (subjective radical change). The perception in this paradigm shares its assumptions with that of the interpretive paradigm that everyday reality is socially constructed and maintained. Theorists in this paradigm are mainly concerned with releasing social constraints that limit human potential. They see the current dominant ideologies as separating people from their “true selves”. (Craig & Paul, 1991)
Radical Structuralist Paradigm (Objective Radical change): This paradigm believes that social reality is considered to be largely independent of the way it is socially constructed. It has an external existence of its own. The social world is featured by intrinsic tensions and contradictions; these forces serve to bring about radical change in the social system as a whole (Craig & Paul, 1991).
The paradigms correspond to theories of organizations, that which coexists symbolizing and expressing confirming and contradictory views about what and organization is and what it is ought to be and how could we go about acquiring such knowledge.
Figure 1 Sociological Paradigms