Google’s Organizational Structure & Organizational Culture (An Analysis)

Google organizational structure and organizational culture characteristics, online advertising, cloud computing business management case study analysis
A Google Street View camera car in Athens, Greece. Google LLC’s organizational structure and organizational culture are aligned to support the company’s competitive strength in the global market for online display advertising, information technology, Internet services, and consumer electronics. The company’s case is an example of the benefits of strategic alignment between corporate culture and corporate structure. (Image: Public Domain)

Google LLC’s success is linked to the effectiveness of its organizational structure and organizational culture in supporting excellence in innovation. In theory, a company’s organizational or corporate structure is the arrangement of components and resources based on the overall design of the organization. In contrast, a company’s organizational or corporate culture is the set of beliefs, values, behavioral tendencies, and expectations among employees. Google’s organizational structure is not conventional because of its emphasis on flatness. In relation, the company’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 corporate structure and corporate culture can lead to higher chances of success. This benefit is manifested in the case of Google’s information technology and Internet services business, which continues to expand in the global industry. The company’s 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 innovation. Innovation contributes to the brand image, which is an essential strength identified in the SWOT analysis of Google LLC. The alignment between the corporate culture and corporate structure helps develop the company’s competitive advantages to address strategic challenges linked to multinational firms like Apple, Amazon.com, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Snap Inc. (Snapchat), and Twitter. The case of Google is an example of aligning and effectively using corporate structure and corporate culture to achieve strategic objectives in developing competencies for business growth. This alignment promotes human resource competencies that are essential to business development toward the fulfillment of Google’s corporate mission and vision statements.

Google’s Corporate Structure

Google has a cross-functional organizational structure, which is technically a matrix corporate structure with a considerable degree of flatness. This flatness is a defining structural feature that supports the company’s growth and competitiveness. The main characteristics of Google’s corporate structure are as follows:

  1. Function-based definition
  2. Product-based definition
  3. Flatness

Google’s corporate structure uses function as a basis for grouping employees. For example, the company has a Sales Operations group, an Engineering & Design group, and a Product Management group, among others. The business also uses products as basis for grouping employees. For instance, the company groups employees for developing Pixel devices. Google LLC also maintains groups for other products. In addition, the company’s corporate structure has considerable flatness. A flat organizational structure means that Google’s employees, teams or groups can bypass middle management and communicate directly with higher management. Based on the flatness of the corporate structure, employees can meet and share information across teams.

Google’s Corporate Culture

Google’s organizational culture is not typical, partly because of the effects of the company’s organizational structure. In essence, the structure and the culture interact to influence the capabilities and cultural characteristics of the organization. Google’s corporate culture has the following primary characteristics:

  1. Open
  2. Innovative
  3. Smart with emphasis on excellence
  4. Hands-on
  5. Supports small-company-family rapport

Openness involves sharing of information to improve Google’s business processes. Openness is achieved through the matrix organizational structure. Within the context of Google’s organizational culture, employees feel free to give their ideas and opinions, such as in meetings with managers. Also, innovation is at the heart of Google LLC. Every employee is encouraged to contribute innovative ideas. In addition, this corporate culture pushes for smartness among Google’s employees. The aim is to motivate workers to strive for excellence. Moreover, the company supports employee involvement in projects and experiments, which are implemented to test new ideas. Google’s organizational culture creates a social ambiance that is warm. Warmth is a factor that facilitates information sharing and employee satisfaction. The company’s organizational culture maintains a small-company-family ambiance, where people can easily share ideas with each other, including executives like Larry Page. Thus, Google’s corporate culture supports excellence in innovation through the sharing of ideas and the capability to rapidly respond to the global market for information technology, cloud computing and Internet services, and consumer electronics.

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