Introduction The development of Google to its current organizational status has been driven by various strategic approaches ranging from employee to organizational level. Over the years, different strategies have been used to ensure that the workplace allows innovation, creativity, independence in projects, and at the same time, the top management maintaining its authority over the whole workforce. Therefore, the question of whom drives strategy has multifaceted responses since the company does not conform to conventional practices as being done by other institutions in the same industry of specialization. Having different strategies has enabled Google to become a uniquely successful company that is different in terms of management and product provisions.
Strategic perspective of Google
Strategy in Google is a combination of deliberate and emergent influencers depending on prevalent business requirements. As explained by Johnson, et al. (2011, p. 420), strategy in every organization must be approached from wide-ranging perspectives so that realization is aligned to definite objectives. The deliberate approach is among the major influencers of strategy in Google since it involved articulated intentions that exist in elaborated levels of detail. The management of the company addresses all critical details that are passed down to the involved employees for implementation as consumable products. In fact, collective actions are communicated to all employees in order for them to achieve the intended results.
The emergent strategy then takes over because of its nature of application and generation of requisite developments. It is more of a cumulative influencer, where effects are derived in a bottom-up manner by engineers, technical workers, and other staff, as they work on individual projects. This means that daily tactical decisions are made by the people who are not in the position to conceptualize organizational strategies holistically (Johnson et al. 2011, p. 427: Cohen, 2014, p.122). In Google, this strategic approach is used by teams of engineers, a maximum of six, to work on individual projects within limited timelines of six weeks. Normally, their projects are supposed to take 20% of their working time with notable successes as indicated by current developments in Google.
However, managing such a company is challenging, and it demands the application of articulated decisions, common between top management, employees, and teams without contradictory overlaps (Greenfeld, 2014, p.87). Despite the complexities of managing such an organization, the deliberate and emergent approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. Due to the nature of their outcomes, deficiencies in the approaches are acceptable because they result in the creation of a unique, innovative, and competitive company. In the book by Johnson et al. (2011, p. 405), the existence of logical incrementalism, that is dominated by learning, experimentation, and partial developmental increments, characterizes the nature of Google’s management despite its multinational level.
Strengths and weaknesses of Google
The aforementioned theory is supported by one of the notable strengths of Google: business level planning. There is a deliberate existence of tactical and operational plans at all administrative business levels depending on the projected strategic outcomes. Managers and teams design and execute business level plans that serve as frameworks for lower level planning. Such levels of tactical and operational developments are what ensures that Google has unified approaches to managing change, innovations, and developments that attract wide customer adoption even without implementing the same level of marketing practices like other companies in the same industry.
Financial strength is another strength that has allowed the application of logical incrementalism approaches to complement the other influencers of strategy development. The company has adopted a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude where it invests in the best talent and provides the necessary resources to maximize their expertise. Allowing workers to take 20% of their working time and providing luxuries not available in other companies comprises large financial investments that Google can afford as long as the employees suffice company objectives as required.
Such levels of financial wellbeing have been essential in driving innovation and spearheading new developments that have constantly elevated Google to the top of its industry. With the necessary financial investments, there is quality work, higher performance, and workforce management due to the nature of recruitment processes that makes employees predictable. The weakness in this perspective is that the company relies on ad based revenue that is increasingly being threatened by other companies like Facebook. This is a major weakness since lower revenue means that Google cannot fund major projects like driverless cars whose future financial benefits cannot be estimated today.
Optimal product development frameworks have further given the company competitiveness. Based on the Ansoff matrix in appendix one, the company has stratified is strategy directions to penetrate, diversify, and develop products and services according to market requirements. According to Schmidt, E. & Rosenberg (2015, p.76), every product being developed is aligned with organizational expectations and sometimes released in beta form to allow reviews and improvements from developers. Most of the time, Google does not even market the products allowing enthusiasts to find, explore, and review them to improve their functional aspects. The nature of product development processes has acted as major strong points that have been leveraged upon to direct business development, management, and coordination of disparate teams to achieve common organizational level objectives; though, they pose some strategic weaknesses especially if their financial value cannot be quantified because of their futuristic application.
Interestingly, most strategic approaches used in Google cannot be replicated in other organizations due to dissimilar organizational, management, and functional attributes. Over the years, emergent, deliberate, and logical incrementalism has been fine tuned to match unique business needs that do not exist in other organizations of the same level. Since the fundamental working aspects seem disorganized, demand financial investments, and at the same time linked to top management through complex relations, it is very difficult to replicate similar aspects without experiencing corporate failure, exposure to massive risk factors, and implementation of sustainable developments due to financial constraints.
- Cohen, J., 2014. The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. New York: John Murray.
- Greenfeld, L., 2014. The Roles of Leadership. New york: Skyhouse.
- Johnson, G., Whittington, R. & Scholes, K., 2011. Exploring Strategy. 9th ed. England: Pearson Education Limited.
- Schmidt, E. & Rosenberg, J., 2015. How Google Works. New York: John Murray.