Integrating Culture and Diversity

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1998, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a revolutionary search engine that offered quick and easy browsing for cyber surfers with reliable links based on a webpage’s popularity (“Who we are,” n.d.). Google continued to grow and now provides resources for individuals and businesses in order to “succeed on and off the web” (“Our products and services,” n.d.). Google is an Internet superpower that uses an open web to create new products for technologically savvy and novice Internet users, so the diverse group has the ability to find what they want on the Internet, design their own Google site or blog, share documents and spreadsheets around the world, earn revenue from ads, and much more. 

Google’s culture extends to all people across the world because they aim for diversity with multicultural and LGBTQ employees who represent their users. In addition, as a community, their employees hail from many countries with capable abilities. The many cultures within Google are partly their reason for their success. This diversity allows Google to interact with their users. Their “weekly all-hands (“TGIF”) meetings…[allow] Googlers [to] ask questions directly to Larry, Sergey and other execs about any number of company issues” (“Our culture,” n.d.). This willingness to communicate with users reveals a company who understands that in order to provide for a global customer base, they have to be accessible. 

Google’s employee foundation continues to expand with new employees from all over the world. Swift (2011) explained that “Groups have always been an integral aspect of life at Google, but as the company approaches 30,000 employees…new and veteran employees…assimilate ‘Nooglers’ at a pace of more than 100 a week” (no pag.). However, Google does not merely try to integrate new employees by changing their interests. Instead, Google strives to recognize individual interests, so they frequently encourage their employees to create groups that represent their hobbies and personalities, such as a bowling league, and develop their own ties and relationships amongst the large group in their own ways. As an illustration, Tokyo born Camille James accepted a job at Google without any knowledge of America or the large company’s organizational structure; however, when she arrived she realized that employees “follow [their] own interests, and [they] find [their] own little micro community.” Therefore, Google represents a large extended community with many family members, and family members are able to pursue their own interests while building effective work and friendly relations. 

The factors that influenced Google would likely be due to the wide variety of users. Internet users come from different backgrounds and exhibit various personality traits. While it is expected that most users are comfortable in the online environment, Google appeals to others by creating user friendly programs and apps for mobile devices. In addition, Google adopts the social learning theory in their organization. Powell, Koput, and Simth Doerr (1996) have noted “Knowledge creation occurs in the context of a community, one that is fluid and evolving rather than tightly bound or static” (pg. 118). Essentially, Google wanted to relate to their users and offer individualized support and features. Because their startup company recognized that Internet users extended all over the world, they captured that dimension in their Google culture. In order to appeal to a wide variety, one has to realize that diversity is essential especially when serving such a large population of users. 

Organizational leaders who are willing to explore other lifestyles and ideas while maintaining their own individuality would be best suited for Google. MacTavish and Kolb (2008) noted in their case study that “the search for potential leaders now will require consideration of employees from lower levels in the organization—often members of populations traditionally underrepresented in management positions (e.g., minorities, individuals without college degrees)— as well as more intentional development through fewer management levels” (no pag.). Ultimately, Google claims that they prefer abilities over experience, so leaders would have to recognize individual characteristics instead of depending on résumés that outlined extensive education or unrelated work experience.  In addition, organizational leaders should embrace diversity because they understand that the global environment constantly evolves. Using a semi-structured interview as their method, MacTavish and Kolb (2008) asked participants to identify the most important features of their organization and the participants revealed that a “consistent and pervasive values-driven culture introduced, educated, and reinforced the company’s values to employees” (no pag.). Essentially, Google exemplifies these features because they encourage their employees to instill their values and behaviors in their work and their groups. In this way, each employee feels valuable and a part of a team. Also, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin interact with users and employees constantly and thereby strengthen that they believe each member is the reason for Google’s success. 

If Internet users determined that they valued their privacy over Google’s services, Google would have to adopt new measures within their culture In fact, at one point; Google alarmed its users as it revealed that they would collect bits of private information that detailed users’ searches in order to provide individualized services. Essentially, it is their quest to collect this information that may result in a declined user base. Because their products are not traditional products such as clothes, food, or technology, Google relies on the many opportunities that the Internet affords, and that includes making one’s mark in the immense cyber world. In that case, their culture would not necessarily have to change because it is already a diverse group of employees; however, each employee may have to offer users the ability to know more about them. In other words, they would have to share information in order to gain it. 

References

MacTavish, M., & Kolb, J. (2008). An Examination of the Dynamics of Organizational Culture and Values-Based Leader Identities and Behaviors: One Company's Experience. Academy of Human Resource Development International Research Conference in the Americas. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED501616

Our culture. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/about/company/facts/culture/

Powell, W. W., Koput, K. W., & Smith-Doerr, L. (1996). Interorganizational Collaboration and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 14(1), 116-145. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org

Swift, M. (2011, June 23). In Google's ever-growing workforce, employees carve own niches. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com.