Google’s success is linked to the effectiveness of its organizational structure and organizational culture in supporting excellence in innovation. The company’s organizational structure is not conventional. Google’s organizational culture is also not typical because it emphasizes change and direct social links within the firm. Theory suggests that a strong alignment between a firm’s organizational structure and its organizational culture can lead to higher chances of success. This benefit is manifested in the case of Google’s businesses that continue to expand and prosper. Thus, the company’s current dominant position is attributable to the synergistic benefits of its organizational structure and organizational culture.
Google’s organizational structure supports the company’s organizational culture to maximize effectiveness of innovation.
Google’s Organizational Structure
Google has a cross-functional organizational structure, which is technically a matrix organizational structure with a considerable degree of flatness. Thus, the company’s organizational structure has three main characteristics:
- Function-based definition
- Product-based definition
Google uses function as basis for grouping employees. For example, the company has a Sales Operations team, an Engineering & Design Team, and a Product Management Team, among others. The firm also uses products as basis for grouping employees. For example, the company groups employees for developing Nexus devices. The firm also groups employees for its Fiber business. In addition, the firm’s organizational structure has considerable flatness. A flat organizational structure means that Google’s employees, teams or groups can bypass middle management and report directly to CEO Larry Page. Employees can also meet and share information across teams.
Google’s Organizational Culture
Google’s organizational culture is not typical, partly because of the effects of the firm’s organizational structure. In essence, structure and culture interact to influence the capabilities of the organization. Google’s organizational culture is:
- Smart with emphasis on excellence
- Supports small-company-family rapport
Openness is achieved through the matrix organizational structure. Within Google’s organizational culture context, employees feel free to give their ideas and opinions. Innovation is at the heart of Google. Every employee is conditioned to contribute innovative ideas. In this organizational culture, the firm also favors smart employees who strive for excellence. In addition, the company supports employee involvement in projects and experiments. The overall ambiance at the company’s offices is warm because the firm’s organizational culture maintains a small-company-family feel, where people can easily talk and share ideas with each other, including CEO Larry Page. Thus, Google’s organizational culture supports excellence in innovation through sharing of ideas and capability to rapidly respond to the market.
- Alvesson, M. (2012). Understanding organizational culture. Sage.
- Claver-Cortes, E., Pertusa-Ortega, E. M., & Molina-Azorin, J. F. (2012). Characteristics of organizational structure relating to hybrid competitive strategy. Journal of Business Research, 65(7), 993-1002.
- Google Inc. (2014). Google Inc. Form 10-K, 2014.
- Google Inc. (2015). Life at Google.
- Google Inc. (2015). Our Culture.
- Google Inc. (2015). Teams and Roles.
- Google Inc. (2015). What we believe – Ten things we know to be true.
- Smith, J. (2013). The Companies With the Best CSR Reputations. Forbes.
Case Study & Case Analysis, Google, Organizational Culture, Organizational Structure
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There’s a certain sense of pride that comes from graduating – whether it’s from high school or college, it’s a familiar experience for many.
You can see that very same pride in Walmart Academy graduates as they walk across a stage and are recognized for their dedication. They’ve not only set aside time to learn the best ways to serve their customers – they’ve taken advantage of an opportunity that can help set them on a clear path.
Ayreann Luedders, a senior director with the Walmart Academy program, gets to see the graduates’ transformation first hand. “When my team gets to the locations to help set up for graduation, at first the associates don’t know what to expect,” Ayreann said. “By the end they realize, ‘oh, this is a big deal,’ and you can see it on their faces. They are just so proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
To celebrate these achievements, each Academy location’s inaugural graduating class designs a pin that’s given to each graduating class thereafter. They commemorate everything from specific events to individual stores and their communities to pieces of Walmart’s past.
Here’s a look at a few of these pins and the stories behind them.
This Academy graduation’s theme was all about Walmart history, from serving MoonPies (Sam Walton’s favorite volume producing item) to the regional manager dancing in a hula skirt like Sam once did on Wall Street. This pin shows the Walton’s 5 & 10 as a symbol of where we started, and the words “Pathway to the Future” to show where their training will take them.
St. Petersburg, Florida
With this store just steps from the beach, this pin features the Florida shoreline and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This group’s graduation ceremony even included a massive sandcastle at the front of their store.
You might find a rocket scientist at this store – it’s less than 10 miles from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. To show off their unique location, they decided to use a space shuttle orbiting the Earth within the shape of Texas.
The elements on this pin showcase the history of their community. The triangle shape refers to Tracy’s location inside the three interstates that border the city, and the bear is a nod to their state flag. The train represents their more than century-long history as a major railway hub.
What makes this pin special is that it comes from the 100th Academy Walmart opened. To commemorate that milestone, CEO Doug McMillon came to speak, making it even more special for the graduates.
Using a simple backdrop of Virginia’s state flower, this pin represents a store that is anything but ordinary. It serves a diverse community, and over 80 native languages are spoken by our associates there.
“It was through the graduation ceremonies that I had this epiphany moment that we’re changing lives in what we’re doing through Walmart Academy,” said Tina Kurtz, a director with the Walmart Academy program. “It gave them an entirely new perspective on their jobs – understanding how doing things a certain way helps. It’s meaningful, life-changing work.”
I like the friendswood pin, being from Texas this is awesome!!