Facebook Inc.’s Organizational Culture Characteristics (Analysis)

Facebook Inc. organizational culture, corporate culture, characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, online social media, networking, case study analysis
The entrance to Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Facebook’s organizational culture supports innovation in the social media business. Its corporate cultural characteristics ensure flexibility and speedy problem solving. (Photo: Public Domain)

Facebook Inc. develops its human resources with the hacker organizational culture in mind. The company maintains its competitiveness partly through its organizational or corporate culture. A firm’s organizational culture defines the traditions, values and customs that influence employee behavior. In Facebook’s case, this culture translates to the way employees solve problems, as the organization’s social networking website and social media services evolve. Facebook Inc. also uses its organizational culture to promote creativity and innovation. As a global online technology company, Facebook Inc. uses its corporate culture to build competitive advantage and highly capable human resources.

Facebook’s organizational culture emphasizes creativity and improvement. This corporate culture facilitates innovation, which is essential in the social media business, as Facebook Inc. diversifies outside its social networking website.

Features of Facebook’s Organizational Culture

Facebook Inc. describes its corporate culture as a hacker culture, which pushes employees to strive for improvement. Such improvement focuses on Facebook’s mission and vision statements to emphasize making the world more connected. The company applies its organizational culture as a tool for supporting business resilience and competitiveness. Human resources are developed and maintained through training that ensures talent and skills for the company’s aims in creativity and innovation for its social media business. The following characteristics are the most notable in Facebook’s organizational culture:

  1. Rewards creative problem solving and decision-making
  2. Boldness
  3. Openness
  4. Speed
  5. Continuous improvement

Rewards Creative Problem Solving and Decision-Making. Facebook Inc. values creative problem solving and decision-making, which are embodied in the company’s organizational culture. This feature of the corporate culture pertains to the ability of employees to generate unusual ideas that enhance Facebook’s social networking website and related offerings. Rewards are provided through recognition, incentives and other forms that motivate workers to be more creative in contributing to the business. Through this organizational cultural characteristic, Facebook Inc. expects competence to maintain its competitive edge against other firms in the market, especially other social media companies that offer online advertising services.

Boldness. Facebook’s organizational culture facilitates boldness in employees’ activities. This cultural feature aims to maximize the company’s flexibility in addressing business issues. For example, the corporate culture encourages workers to tackle issues right away, instead of waiting for such issues to escalate to Facebook Inc.’s senior management. The company benefits from this cultural characteristic in terms of minimizing the negative effects of problems encountered in the social media business.

Openness. Openness significantly influences Facebook’s corporate culture. This cultural feature highlights the importance of effective and efficient internal communications. For example, Facebook Inc. has systems in place to facilitate dissemination of information critical to solving problems. In addition, Facebook’s organizational culture facilitates openness in terms of minimizing restrictions on employees’ activities. For instance, the company empowers workers to focus on the problems that they think are most important or relevant to the business. Through this characteristic of the organizational culture, Facebook Inc. supports employees’ problem solving abilities to enhance the company’s social networking website and online advertising services.

Speed. Facebook Inc. has the ability to easily respond to trends and changes in users’ preferences. This ability is partly based on employees’ speed in responding to problems in the social media business. Such speed is a significant feature of Facebook’s organizational culture. The company believes that it is essential for its human resources to rapidly react to new needs in the market. Facebook Inc. implements this corporate cultural characteristic through the use of small teams. Small teams are highly flexible and can move fast to support rapid product development processes.

Continuous Improvement. Facebook Inc. has an organizational culture that facilitates continuous improvement. The company adheres to the principle that improvement is a never-ending process. Facebook encourages its small teams to continuously iterate products. This cultural feature provides opportunities for the company to regularly evaluate its social networking website and related products.

Facebook Inc.’s Organizational Culture Implications, Advantages & Disadvantages

Facebook’s status as the world’s biggest social media company is partly founded on the company’s organizational culture, which is known as a hacker culture. An advantage of this corporate culture is its support for flexibility, especially in rapidly addressing issues and problems in the social media business. Another advantage is that the culture facilitates Facebook Inc.’s continuous improvement, which is essential in the context of online social networking, as the online environment changes rapidly. However, a possible disadvantage of this organizational culture is the difficulty in strictly implementing new mandates that impose limits on employees’ activities. This is so because Facebook Inc.’s workers are accustomed to a corporate culture where they are empowered to flexibly do their jobs.

References
  • Alvesson, M. (2012). Understanding organizational culture. Sage.
  • Büschgens, T., Bausch, A., & Balkin, D. B. (2013). Organizational Culture and Innovation: A Meta‐Analytic Review. Journal of product innovation management30(4), 763-781.
  • Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2005). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Company Info – Facebook Newsroom.
  • Facebook Inc. Form 10-K, 2015.
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