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the Google home page can only contain 28 words as a policy established Brin and Page. In fact. 2008). which is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros (Google. 2009). in 1996. Page and Brin served as co-leaders until 2001. Due to this mission statement. working out of a friends garage (Ritson. The company does this by using Google AdWords and Google AdSense. 2009). the conscious synergy that is created by the individual talents and strengths. At the time Google was founded. they officially launched Google. They named the search engine ³Google´ as a play on the word ³googol´. Interestingly. they began to experiment with creating an online search engine. Google¶s business model is based on selling targeted advertisements to companies based on identifying user search preferences. lead change. based on their philosophy that ³advertisements should not be an annoying interruption´ (Google. As a result. or a disciplined task master to set the course for the company. the threat of new market entrants. While most search engines feature significant advertising in order to generate advertising revenue from screen space. and formally made him CEO. since the online search marketplace is now more mature. along with Eric Schmidt. Google¶s mission statement is. Google quickly became the dominant player in the online search market (Viney. 2009). due to its visionary leadership and technological success. for a short period of time. Excite. they are seeking ways to expand beyond the internet¶s current form. Then. In 1998. ³to organize the world¶s information and make it universally accessible and useful´ (Google. Google's founders. However. the team uses a unique triumvirate leadership style to determine strategy. Google had performed contract work for Yahoo. 2007). For the year end 2008. the search engine¶s minimalist homepage reflects the cofounders leadership vision. met while students at Stanford University in the summer of 1995. and Google¶s proprietary database has a strong understanding of webpage content and user search history. Additionally.8 billion (Google. the tangible success and future optimism of Google point directly to the visionary leadership of its core leadership team composed of its two founders. Recognizing the need for someone to provide organizational and operational expertise. Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Yahoo. When a user clicks on the ads. where advertisers create ads to drive traffic to their sites and generate leads. As a result. and has much bigger and broader aspirations. Google is well positioned for continued success and market leadership in the future. 2 . one of the key differentiators between Google and its primary competitors. 2009). the chief executive officer (CEO) who joined their team in 2001.For a company that isn¶t even a teenager yet. and Alta Vista dominated the still relatively new online search market. Google reported earnings of $21. Rather than relying on one visionary leader. Larry Page and Segey Brin. 2009). the advertising publishing generates revenue (Google. or a viable direct threat to Google¶s dominance is relatively low. the cofounders recruited Schmidt. as well as compensating for individual weaknesses has served the company very well. and manage operations. Google has not restricted itself to focusing only on online search.
While Schmidt was brought in to address some of the management weaknesses of Brin and Page. but complementary systems within organizations (Nelson & Quick. Demonstrating leadership. but must be done (Nelson & Quick. For a company to be truly successful. As they announced first ever layoffs for Google. Then we will discuss the nature of followership developed at Google (question two). He was brought in to serve as ³adult supervision´ for the two visionaries (Battelle. and Schmidt. First. it needs both. we will explore the triumvirate¶s leadership orientations according to Blake & Mouton¶s Leadership Grid (questions three). Their approach to followership has sought to create self-led followers within the ranks of the ³googlers´. This enables all three to demonstrate leadership as well as management skills. Then we will analyze the leadership styles of the three (question four). it¶s not fair to assume that Schmidt is not a leader in his own right. The friction between the two is one of seeking innovation and change through leadership. and Brin and Page are not managers. and 10% of their time pursuing far-out ideas (Battelle. and vice versa. 1. Google was not immune to the economic downturn that affected most of the global economy. Page. the vision and personal leadership styles of the founders needed to be harnessed. as well as tasks that may not be naturally motivating. the triumvirate also maintains a 70/20/10 split in their time management as well. In addition to enforcing a rule for their engineers on time management. The triumvirate 3 . 2009). the three leaders showed that they would share in the negative financial impact themselves. Schmidt added the much needed management dimension to the triumvirate. Next. 2005). we will identify leadership skills that the three present which can help others be more effective (question five). As a former CEO of Novell. and business processes and systems put in place to fully leverage their creative visions. 2009). Recognizing their need for a stronger management focus. even as their combined stakes in Google dropped by $26 billion (La Monica. 2005). the two recruited Schmidt in 2001. Self-led followers perform naturally motivating tasks. Brin. the difference between the two is that leadership drives change within organizations. At a high level. and advocating stability and efficiency through management. As original company founders. According to John Kotter. maintained their commitment to work for $1 this year. 20% on off-budget projects related to core business. This means each will spend 70% of their time on core business of search and advertising. Based on different company lifecycles and business models. companies may require greater leadership than management at different times. As the company grew significantly between 1998 and 2001. leadership and management are separate. 2. 2009). The culture that the triumvirate has created is focused on empowerment. while management controls complexity. Brin and Page demonstrate much more leadership than management when they founded Google in 1998. we will explore the leadership versus management approach of the triumvirate (question one). Finally. as well as followership.This case study will analyze Google¶s triumvirate leadership style from various perspectives.
For example. while encouraging mutual trust and respect within the team (Nelson & Quick. Candidates describe questions as being about software code or business. and if successful. 2005). some of these perks are being reigned in. warm working relationships. By placing these behaviors on a two dimensional grid. employees cherish the culture which emphasizes bottom-up decision making. for longer periods of time. Even before the economic recession. Page. leader behavior can be categorized from low to high for each behavior. with the result being an overall assessment of the leadership style. Interviews for technical positions at Google begin on the telephone. creativity. Marissa Mayer (Guynn. The third way Google seeks to nurture followership and dynamic employees is through their unique and unparalleled employee perks. according to Vice President of Search Products & User Experience. The company offers perks. and demonstrating consideration for employees. 3. Brin. 2007). an annual one-night ski trip. Due to the economic recession. While the perks create a fun and committed employer-employee relationship. Employee empowerment is another key element of developing followership. and its had a good return on investment. child care center. and providing unequaled employment perks. free use of laundry facilities .has achieved this through a combination of rigid hiring practices geared towards hiring only the best. and an on-site doctor. leaders say that many of the perks are designed as a convenience so that employees can stay closer to campus. where highly intellectual and innovative employees have a very compatible and competitive peer group to help challenge and collaborate with. Despite cutting back on some of their perks. empowering employees. communication. For example. rapid product development and the opportunity to fix problems themselves (Dudley. Google would receive up to 150. Google¶s leaders are committed to maintaining the Google culture (Morrison. and ways of getting things done. About half of Google¶s new product launches (including the highly popular Gmail) occurred as a result of that non-core time. however. 2009). The underlying behaviors of Blake and Mouton¶s Leadership Grid are a leader¶s focus on initiating structure within the organization. This creates a creative business environment. applicants are invited for face-to-face meetings with up to 10 interviewers. having food available at the office is convenient and fosters a more cohesive culture because coworkers converse over meal time (Guynn. but also requiring brainstorming and role playing to demonstrate their thought process (Kopytoff. and Schmidt are committed to bringing only the best on board the company. along with establishing patterns of organization. 2008). 2008). including free meals and snacks. The 70/20/10 rule applies to technical employees. Additionally. Consideration is targeted at nurturing friendly. Recognizing that their success hinges on the innovation that springs from the most talented employees. and high for 4 . 2008).000 resumes from prospective Googlers. every month. if the leader is low in concern for initiating structure. and dynamic employees at Google. Initiating structure emphasizes defining and organizing work relationships and roles.
transformational. 4. these leaders inspire subordinates to perform well. while maintaining great employee perks points to this. and compel subordinates to produce. and potentially authentic leadership. while combining a strong sense of values (Nelson & Quick. transformational leaders display charisma. This leader focuses on tight control and accomplishing tasks.consideration ± the leadership style is considered a ³country club manager´ since he has a strong concern for people. Page. and works to motivate employees to high levels of productivity. which have enabled them to confidently pursue major 5 . and will discuss that first. 2009). Their leadership styles clearly go beyond the transactional level. they clearly demonstrate behaviors that are high for both initiating structure. A case can be made that the triumvirate display qualities of both transformational and authentic leadership. and authentic leadership. The other three concepts are considered inspirational theories because through their behavior and interaction with followers. 2009). Transformational leaders inspire and excite followers to high levels of performance. strategy. Charismatic leaders use force of personal abilities and talents to have extraordinary effects on followers. I believe they demonstrate more of a transformational leadership style than an authentic style. and little concern for production. the triumvirate clearly displays transformational leadership. while considering creativity and human relations unnecessary (Nelson & Quick. a leader who is high in concern for initiating structure and low for consideration is considered a ³authority-compliance manager´. When conducting a Google search with their names and the keyword ³charisma´. while being flexible and responsive to change (Nelson & Quick. charismatic. and consideration for employees. neither member of the triumvirate (Brin. While the triumvirate has broad support from their employees ± it is not the result of personal charisma or personalities. very few results appeared. focusing on engaging employees through personal commitment and sense of individual value. This is defined as the ³team manager´ approach. 2009). 2009). none of which appeared credible. While neither leader necessarily exudes charisma. Four leadership concepts exist which describe different ways leaders influence subordinates to perform: transactional. and intellectual stimulation (Nelson & Quick. but rather from the confidence the employees have in the leaders vision. Transactional leadership is rather impersonal. Google¶s emphasis on only hiring the best and empowering employees. The new concept of authentic leadership includes demonstrating one of the previously mentioned styles as the situation dictates. When considering the case for transformational leadership. inspirational motivation. Additionally. or Schmidt) are considered particularly charismatic. individualized consideration. Based on research of Google¶s triumvirate leadership style. Conversely. and focuses on rewards and punishments to engage in deal making. they all have strong and forceful personalities. and business decisions. Based on the description above.
and developed a sense of loyalty. The company has embraced the concept of corporate social responsibility. points to a strong value system of the two cofounders and the CEO (Battelle. There are two leadership skills that the triumvirate demonstrates that I would like to better develop in order to become a more effective leader ± strategic vision and risk taking. I don¶t believe the triumverate¶s senses of moral values have been the key drivers of their business decisions. Rather. Inspirational motivation is achieved through conveying to employees what the impact of their work is about. enable employees to feel empowered. but how consistently it can grow it over the long-term (Hamel. Page. However. the mission statement and vision they outlined provides the ability to continually be challenged and pursue innovation that cannot be satisfied in the short term. and why Google¶s leadership team may be considered authentic. accountable. Through their 70/20/10 time management system. The ultimate test of any management team is not how fast it can grow its company in the short-term. For example. and are authentic leaders. and I don¶t believe Brin. At face value. the leaders have committed to each employee. Finally. For individualized consideration. Personally. and is considered very earth friendly. one decision that cast a serious question on their sense of values over business practicality was the decision to support the Chinese government¶s demand in 2006 that they censor search results based on political sensitivity (Ritson. and therefore. I would consider them more transformational than authentic. I think the two key drivers of their business model are a desire to innovate. transformational leaders provide intellectual stimulation. The triumvirate. Principles such as "never write an application that relies on holding an end-user's data hostage in order to build loyalty" and "always think about 'are we serving the end-user' and not 'are we thinking about how to make money´. and have remained true to it ever since. 2005).challenges and succeed in the face of adversity. as well as emphasis on hiring the best and brightest. Therefore. Additionally. or Schmidt are immoral. the company motto of ³Don¶t be evil´. and more specifically Brin and Page developed an aspirational vision early on. Google¶s leadership team recognized that as a company grows and fulfills its original business model promise. the triumvirate ensures that employees are highly stimulated in an intellectual sense. 2007). I believe some of their other initiatives such as providing free wi-fi in San Francisco are more directed at generating more Google search traffic than a philanthropic effort to ensure the masses receive free wireless internet. it hits a peak. Next. 2008). These arguments could lead to a sense that the leaders have a much more altruistic sense of leadership. I¶d like to discuss the concept of authentic leadership. and like they are truly focused on meeting customer needs (Dudley. and why they may not. as well as a desire to make money. I think both are very legitimate motivations. and many of their early hires are still with the company ten years later (Guynn. Based on the research I¶ve conducted however. 2008). 2006). and risks becoming stagnant. it would appear to be a strong argument that they are authentic leaders. or unethical. Since its founding. 6 . 5.
creating their vision. and tolerating well intentioned failure. Through development of their vision. which has led to many of Google¶s most innovative and success products (Battelle. First. I would like to emulate their confidence in developing a business model. I hope to start my own small business. and deliver true innovation. Recognizing that innovation is critical to their success. 7 . they were able to challenge the status quo.Another leadership skill they demonstrate is embracing risk. I hope to learn from the leadership lessons that Brin and Page have modeled. the triumvirate actively seeks to try many things. such as creating the right culture and hiring excellence. identify what works. and relentlessly pursuing it. many other key leadership behaviors served as enablers. 2005). Many of the ideas that engineers develop during their 20% or 10% time gets tested. and improve on it. Through confident risk taking. Ultimately.
com/cgibin/article. Our Philosophy. 2009. (2008. Retrieved December 4. 2009. from The Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.smh.au/news/technology/biztech/googles-top-bosses-keep-their-dollarsalaries/2009/03/25/1237656979514. Organizational science.html Kopytoff.html Morrison. from The Wall Street Journal: http://online. 2009.google. March 25). from Corporate Information: http://www. Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.com/technology/2008/09/marissa-mayer-t. D. 8 . The 70 percent solution.com/article/SB114601763677436091. 2008.wsj.html Google.C.sfgate.com/corporate/index. V. Management a la Google. (2008).html Hamel. December 18). 2009. (2009). from CNN: http://money.). (2009). 2009. LA Times. How Google woos the best and brightest. and you (6th ed.wsj. J. J. Retrieved December 6. J. 2009. M. Retrieved December 6. 2009. P. from The LA Times: http://latimesblogs. Google Management. (2006.com.and 20. & Quick. September 10. (2009). (2005. June 11). the real world. December 4).html Google.google. Retrieved December 5. Retrieved December 6.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/12/18/GOOGLE. from Corporate Information: http://www. B. 2009.References Battelle.cnn.com/article/SB122826503489174369. April 26).html Google. 2009. Riston. (2009.TMP La Monica. G. The Sydney Morning Herald.com/corporate/tenthings. E.com/2005/11/28/news/newsmakers/schmidt_biz20_1205/ Dudley. Company Overview. Retrieved December 6. Marketing.nwsource. Retrieved December 6.html Guynn. (2009). from The Wall Street Journal: http://online. What Google can teach us. Google gears down for tougher times. J. November 28). (2008.google. (2005. from San Fransisco Chronicle: http://www.latimes. 2009 from: http://www. (2007. Retrieved December 4.com/corporate/execs.html?mod=googlenews_wsj Nelson. Retrieved December 5. Google¶s top bosses keep their dollar salaries. The lure of great Google perks.L. Marissa Mayer talks about Google at 10 -. from Corporate Information: http://www. R. 21-21. September 7).com/html/businesstechnology/2003742730_brier11. Retrieved December 4.
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