Session 1. What makes Google Googley?
The case highlights how the strategy and business model of Google have been supported by various aspects of organizational behavior, such as structure, talent, culture, and leadership. In this way, it fits very well with the guiding framework of OB that we have adopted for the course.
The major aspects of the case concern the company’s unique combination of organizational elements and how this configuration has given the firm a strong and vibrant culture that is now threatened by growth. The doubling of the company’s size has put the entrepreneurial spirit and ethos of the firm in danger, and the narrative of the case, Kim Scott, joined in 2004 and ...view middle of the document...
• Long-hours culture – 14 hour days, weekends, yet morale was high because of high task significance.
• Organizational structure was deliberately kept in small units to increase agility and to increase commitment.
• Individuals were developed through challenging and engaging work assignments. Promotions however are problematic, with the process `opaque’
• Lateral moves and the encouragement of learning from mistakes.
• Training in cultural norms supported by coaching activity
• Decision-making is consensus-oriented
• Recognition awards for innovation
Review and reward
• The link between individual performance and reward is very clear
• SMART goals
• Semi-annual reviews
• Review of objectives every month
• 360 degree evaluation the norm
But since 2004, the workforce has doubled. Google needs to retain the sense of clarity and excitement and the ability to cut through bureaucracy. Some activities are used to be `bureaucracy-busters’ - `Avoiding Dilbertsville’.
But the problems with maintaining fast decision-making and also ensuring internal consistency remain significant issues.
In this case study, the key lessons are:
1. The linkages between the elements of the guiding framework
2. The strengths of a values-led organization
3. The problems of growth to the success of a business model and culture
4. The notion that organizations are concerned with fit between the elements of strategy, talent, relationships, and culture, but that flexibility is also essential, reflecting the dynamic nature of organizations.
NHS and Gerry Robinson
The film shows Gerry Robinson (GR) trying to `fix’ a hospital which has a waiting list of 3,500 people. GR knows very little about health but argues that `good management is good management’ in all organizations.
GR talks to key constituencies in the hospital – nurses, surgeons, managers – and finds a number of issues:
1. The hospital is a complex system of talent and interdependencies which does not seem to be working particularly well
2. The strict hierarchy and status differences encourage fragmentation and very poor coordination
3. The CEO is ineffectual and hides behind a mountain of paperwork rather than be visible
4. Poor utilization of the operating theatres
The case shows how organisations with good talent can often suffer process losses through poor coordination / utilisation of processes and through a culture of inertia and lack of challenge.
Three questions arise:
1. What is wrong with the hospital?
2. What is good about GR’s approach?
3. What would they recommend to help improve the situation?
The answer to Q1 is pretty clear from the film (see points 1-4 above)
Answer to Q2 would be:
a) He learns fast by speaking with relevant individuals / groups
b) He sets up the team meeting with key individuals and challenges them directly
c) He uses strong emotion to force the issue in the team meeting
d) He focuses on gaining a quick win by...