Management at Google
Google is one of the most popular search engines. The company is headquartered in Mountain view, California. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in 1996, which was then providing search engine services to a growing number of internet users. In 1998, Google received its first financing from an investor, Andy Bechtolsheim. Over the same period, Google received millions in investments from interested individuals enabling the company’s top leadership to grow the business. In 2000, Google began listing advertisements based on search keywords. The sale of advertisements proved much productive by generating revenue for the company. In 2004, the company made its first initial public offering, generating enough capital to support its expansion strategies. This purpose of this paper is to examine Google’s management, operations, and the overall management’s impact to the company from inception to the current day.
Key Changes in Google’s Management Style
One of the key changes in Google’s management style was in 2001 when the founders appointed Eric Schmidt as the company’s chief executive. Eric played a critical role in transforming Google from a small little known company into a multinational corporation. Eric’s role has primarily been tailoring products for the global market. His role has been instrumental in scaling to a global level various products such as the Android mobile operating system. The structure under the reign of Eric Schmidt has been largely a flat organizational structure (Steiber & Alänge, 2013). In a flat organizational structure, there are few middle-level management positions coming between the junior employee and the top management. This ensures that employees can easily reach the top management. The management style has been largely laissez-fair. In this management style, the leaders are more of mentors. Google is quite different from other organizations in that employees are allowed to play games or engage in other social activities during work.
A key change in Google’s management style came in 2015, when the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced a major restructuring. The restructuring aimed at creating a holding company, Alphabet Inc., which is a collection of companies, the largest being Google. The restructuring aimed at reducing the complexities of managing a large organization with multiple services and products in the market. Following the restructuring strategy, Google became leaner and focused on the core services. Other subsidiaries under Alphabet Inc. handle products and services that are not part of Google’s core operations (providing internet products), for instance, health services. Following the restructuring, Sundar Pichai became Google’s new chief executive. Under his reign, Google has largely operated based on a divisional structure (Price& Nudelman, 2016). Each division operates as a separate brand and handles unique products.
It is clear that Google has one of the best management structures. Since inception, Google has experienced high market growth and maintained a strong brand presence. It’s strong management has seen the company introduce a variety of products to consumers including Google Maps, Google+, Google Drive, Android mobile operating system, self-driving cars, YouTube, AdSense, and recently artificial intelligence and among other technologies. In addition, Google has continued to enjoy significant growth in its stock, indicating a strong performance in the industry. The company’s stock price has increased to $1,078 per share since the last stock split in mid-2015 (YAHOO FINANCE, 2018).
Senior Management’s Role in Preparing for Recent Change
The most recent change was the restructuring of the company to form the conglomerate firm, Alphabet Inc. The top management (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) and CEO Eric Schmidt played a critical role in preparing the company for a restructuring strategy. The top management focused on creating a leaner company that could be held more accountable for the decisions made. Larry Page and Sergey Brin focused on exploiting bigger opportunities that Google provides, while other executives focus on other segments (“Brad Green,” 2016). By restructuring the company, each division is able to pursue a unique product and service with the parent company providing the capital necessary for the success of each. According to Brad Green (2016), the restructuring would allow each subsidiary to have its own CEO, thus improving independence of each. Eric Schmidt was also key in planning the restructuring of the company.
Google’s top management executed a seamless transition in its restructuring drive. Following the restructuring, Google acquired a new chief executive, Sundar Pichai. Former Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, continued with his role at the newly formed Alphabet Inc. Larry Page became the new Chief Executive Officer at Alphabet Inc., a position he held prior to the hiring of CEO Eric Schmidt. Sergey Brin became Alphabet’s President. The transition was smooth since no managerial wrangles have emerged from the company since the restructuring in 2015. In his blog post, Larry Page asserted that they strongly believe that Sundar Pichai is the right CEO to steer the company to greater heights (Alphabet, n.d). Pichai’s vision reflects that of the co-founders in better ways.
Management’s Decision on its use of Vendors and Spokespersons
Google’s management relies on vendors for the supply of critical products to the company. Google relies on various third-party technology vendors to run products on its sites. In addition, Google employees can purchase various products or serves from listed vendors by the company. Google prefers to work with a small number of vendors, which enables the company to check on quality and to review the terms of trade with a few sellers. Google outsources certain services and products such as transportation and food. Google has developed a program dubbed Small Business Supplier diversity that helps in developing better relations with suppliers. The use of vendors allows the company to focus in areas where it has greatest strengths. Google also relies on spokespersons to improve on communication dynamics.
Spokespersons enable the company to fulfill its communication efforts. Spokespersons are relevant in communicating with external persons such as media and political entities. Management’s use of spokespersons for external communication helps in managing public relations. The spokespersons act as representatives in key external events such as providing briefings about projects to key stakeholders or government officials. Spokespersons are also relevant in fulfilling internal communication efforts, for instance, managing press briefings on new products. Spokespersons help in clearly communicating the company’s products to potential customers. Another role that spokespersons play in the company is advising employees or teams about the company’s culture.
Innovative Idea that could have a Positive Impact on Employees and Customers
An innovative idea that could have a positive impact on both employees and customers is encouraging innovation among employees to come up with solutions that directly address the needs of customers. Google should allow employees to take active roles in making critical decisions relating to their work areas. Allowing employees to make critical decisions without too much management interference is likely to boost innovativeness in the company. Companies that support their employees to express their ideas and to use their imagination in solving problems are likely to build innovation from the workforce. Google must focus on individual employees in order to harness their full innovativeness potential at the company. In implementing innovation among employees, it is important to create positive relations in order to improve knowledge sharing (Ullah et al., 2016). Through continued innovation, customers benefit through improved or cheaper products and services.
Google’s ability to Adapt to the Changing Needs of Customers
Google has a strong ability to adapt to the changing needs of the customers as well as the market environment. A look at the company’s operational history reveals that Google has been one of the trendsetter in the field of technology. Over the years, Google has pioneered the development of unique products and serves, which have significantly contributed to its growth and current market share in the field of technology. Google’s top innovations that have had a strong impact in its market share include autocomplete feature during searches, Google translations, Google +, Google Maps, universal search (consumers can search text, images, video, and applications), smart devices such as watches, voice search, knowledge graphs, and among other great innovations. In the current period, Google is pioneering the introduction and application of artificial intelligence. Open communication channels provide the basis for change in organizations. According to Men (2014), open communication channels facilitate sharing of ideas and development of a strong company culture in which change can occur.
In summary, Google is one of the most popular search engines. The flat organizational structure has been critical in encouraging innovation at the company. Google’s management style is laissez-faire, where organizational leaders play a supportive role to employees. The recent changes at the company, notably the coming of Eric Schmidt as the company’s CEO, and the subsequent restructuring in 2015, has largely been seamless and improved the company’s market position. Google’s outlook remains that of a competitive company owing to the high level of new product development.
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