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Running Head: Management 1
Harvard business case analysis- Google's Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter?
TAYE TOGUNLOJU
UNI...
Running Head: Management 2
Executive Summary
This paper starts out by exploring on the Harvard business case scenario of G...
Running Head: Management 3
been asked previously surmised again, whether managers mattered? In an effort to fully
answer t...
Running Head: Management 4
employee’s value and satisfaction is a priority. The employees freely access a conducive and
fr...
Running Head: Management 5
 Google employees are prone to the culture of innovation and changes. The employees
are compet...
Running Head: Management 6
PiLab implementation of Oxygen 8
PiLab is a special subgroup that is only present in Google Com...
Running Head: Management 7
Assessment of Oxygen 8 attributes
The project oxygen asserted that managers mattered. However, ...
Running Head: Management 8
seek assistance from technical people. Many managers had acquired managerial positions
because ...
Running Head: Management 9
According to McIlvaine ,2010) to maintain competent managers Google is not
supposed to copy bes...
Running Head: Management 10
performers and in most cases all those employees and managers who record continuous poor
perfo...
Running Head: Management 11
organization lack awareness hence the resistance. Therefore, in making any change within the
c...
Running Head: Management 12
feel isolated hence, less cooperative with the highly rated managers because in their view
the...
Running Head: Management 13
management strategies it must emulate Google tactics. It can maintain a good culture for
insta...
Running Head: Management 14
References
Cascio, F. & Boudreau, W.(2012). Short introduction to strategic human resource man...
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Do Mangers Matter

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Do Mangers Matter

  1. 1. Running Head: Management 1 Harvard business case analysis- Google's Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter? TAYE TOGUNLOJU UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-VICTORIA
  2. 2. Running Head: Management 2 Executive Summary This paper starts out by exploring on the Harvard business case scenario of Google’s project oxygen that evaluates whether managers matter. The paper then evaluates Google’s culture, the characteristics of people who work at Google, Pilab implementation of project oxygen, assessment of oxygen 8 attributes, evaluates Setty’s priorities moving forward and then highlights the various challenges of creating truly amazing managers and finally gives outs some recommendations. Introduction During the early days of Google many people who worked within the company used to greatly question the usefulness of managers. According to Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011, Google Company has been built and developed by qualified engineers and the same qualified engineers should be used to maintain Google operations. Therefore, management was unnecessary and a diversionary approach that hinders the company from realizing its tangible goals. The founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin at some point in time wondered what the importance of managers was. As a result, they decided to experiment practically by removing managers’ in order to break down hindrances to ideal development and growth. (Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011). In an effort to prove the worth of managers Page and Brin in the year 2006 brought in Laszlo Bock to spearhead the human resource operation. The human resource operation managed review of performances, conducted employees analysis on career development, analysed benefits, other packages and also the culture of the company. In the same year, they hired Prasad Setty from Capital One to spearhead the team of analysts. Setty recruited PHDS who undertook intensive researches. The analytical team formed a small team to focus on employee’s sustainability and productivity. In the year 2009 the similar question that had
  3. 3. Running Head: Management 3 been asked previously surmised again, whether managers mattered? In an effort to fully answer this question Google launched Project Oxygen a long term research initiative intending to measure management behaviours (Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011). Google Company did not regard hierarchical order of seniority but believed in power among individuals when recruiting employees in order to exercise the right cultural fit. The company utilized data driven processes in hiring of its employees hence, it was able to attract young and focused individuals with the right creativity abilities. The challenge that confronted Google was the fact that its hiring system did not value management. Therefore, the main question that arose was how then could it run the organisation efficiently and effectively? Turning those people who were doubters to become believers or convincing them to manage others was a great hindrance. The plan did not materialize because many people approached Page in regards to expenditure reports, internal conflicts and other important details. It is from this lesson that they learnt that managers contribute immensely to important details (Garvin, 2013). For instance, managers contribute by assisting in implementation of communication strategies, prioritization of projects, enhancing collaboration and aiding development of careers and making sure that systems and programs align well with Google’s human resource at various layers and levels. It has over thirty seven thousand employees, five thousand managers, one thousand directors and over one hundred presidents. To prevent micromanaging the company for instance, they recruited thirty direct reports engineering managers. The company has recorded statistical improvement in several areas because of managerial efficiency and good performance (Garvin, 2013). Google’s culture The culture of Google is based on its principles of organizing world information in a coherent manner to make it globally accepted and useful. In line with Google’s culture, the
  4. 4. Running Head: Management 4 employee’s value and satisfaction is a priority. The employees freely access a conducive and friendly environment through exercises of employee retention and motivations through incentives, rewards and promotions (Hill, 2014). Google ensures that employees are creative, innovative, and good risk takers. For instance, one Vice President of the company in charge of advertising made a terrible mistake that made the company lose billions of money and she had no option but to apologize. However, through encouragement of the virtue of being risk takers, Larry Page positively appreciated her effort and said it is good to make a mistake in trying to make more money for the company and expeditiously rather than doing too little and not making any mistake thus encouraging risk taking (Cascio & Boudreau, 2012). Google has also the culture of utilizing data that has helped it realize its effective implementation of management strategies. Google uses analysts to spearhead its human resource management strategy and value chains in action plan implementation. In enhancing these data culture, Google uses six steps of analytical value chain to make sure it realizes and makes the most from the data culture (Sullivan, 2013). The analytical step includes opinion, data, metrics, analysis, insight, and action. In the aid of analytics, Google people and innovation lab commonly denoted as PiLab demonstrated that any given team could perform well when they have a very good performing manager. Google also used the analytics to plan how to chart forward the hiring strategy. Therefore, PiLab team of Google, through the use of analytics disregarded the opinion that only some specific employees receive promotions compared to others. Therefore, Google’s culture highly supports inclusion of managers in Google human resource (Sullivan, 2013). Characteristics of people who work at Google According to Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011 to enhance this, project oxygen team, highlighted various important characteristics of people who work at Google, namely:
  5. 5. Running Head: Management 5  Google employees are prone to the culture of innovation and changes. The employees are competent, dedicated, and passionate about innovation and creativity. This helps them to become productive and focus on positive results only. The employees appreciate each other’s innovation and creativity and help each other achieve good results. They also appreciate anybody who helps them prioritize on their goals and missions.  The leaders depict high level of honesty and regard their roles as empowering, coaching, and countering imminent obstacles. It is possible through accessing free advisory services. They engage in external assignments, which prepare to handle major problems thus empowering them.  The employees and leaders practice the culture of innovation recognition and incentives system. This is possible through their beliefs in individual career development, maintenance of clear visions and exercising right strategies. They ensure that they remain focused despite challenges in achieving set goals. Those who help realizing this goals and objectives are rewarded through incentives.  The people at Google have the mindset of dedication to continuous learning. The top leadership is highly dedicated and prone to changes. They depict this through being good listeners and practicing communication as a two way process through dialogues and sharing of important information effectively and without discrimination. This helps them enact required changes within the company.  The people who work at Google are of the view that good and new prospective ideas comes from anywhere and from anybody. They therefore are able to express interest in team member’s success and personal well-being. They also receive and handle new employees very well.
  6. 6. Running Head: Management 6 PiLab implementation of Oxygen 8 PiLab is a special subgroup that is only present in Google Company. The work and purpose of the group is to conduct experiments in Google company to come up with the most viable and healthy approaches that can be adopted by the company to maintain a competitive edge in the market arena. One of the strategies is inclusion of managers in Google’s operations. The team also maintains a pacific working environment of all the employees and managers by discerning the types of rewards that makes them happy. The piLab team for instance, during the implementation of Oxygen 8 improved employee and managers health status by reducing their calorie intake at the Google eating facilities. The Pilab team undertook this healthy approach through use of data and experiments and as result reduced the sizes of the plates used by the employees (Dekas, 2011). Through Pilab, project oxygen was expanded to help the senior manager’s acquire necessary skills to motivate the employees through introduction of senior management trainings. As a result there were multifaceted advantages realized which included having a productive management team. The managers realized their strengths and weakness, opportunities and treats. Training enabled senior management influence the subordinate’s staffs to realize company goals and objectives. It also ensured interaction among the senior management and the employee’s thus leading to effective running of the organization (Cascio, & Boudreau, 2012). Pilab also introduced guidance to select the best team members. This is because the best team would help greatly in achieving company goals and also ensure good association and collaboration among the team members because they are like-minded hence increasing productivity. Through Pilab’s guidance provision, employees’ satisfaction is highly increased (Cascio & Boudreau, 2012). This as result increases their morale hence freedom to undertake their duties through innovation and creativity in line with company’s culture (Hill, 2014).
  7. 7. Running Head: Management 7 Assessment of Oxygen 8 attributes The project oxygen asserted that managers mattered. However, to fully support this finding Google needed to figure out and evaluate what the best managers can do. In these assessments the researchers undertook an interview by asking both the high performing and low performing manager’s various questions. For instance, how often does a manager have career growth discussions with the direct reports and what does the manager do to develop a mission and vision for the team? The assessment included managers from various Google department for instance engineering, global business and administrative departments. After intensive analysis project oxygen identified eight behaviours that were found in the high performing managers. The attributes identified came from Google managers thereby Google asserted that they were based on its culture and therefore, effective and essential. The attributes were about Google, by Google and for Google (Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind,2011). According to Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011 the top eight Oxygen attributes of Google include:  Being a good coach  Empowering the teams without micromanaging  Allowing members to express interest in team groups and personal well beings  Being productive and always result oriented  Being a good orator and listener of the various teams  Helping employees with career development  Having a clear vision and mission strategies of the teams  Possessing technical skills of advising the teams Through a team of analytsts, an evaluation of the highlighted eight habits was done ranging from highest managers to lowest managers. It emerge before introduction of project oxygen that people used to manage themselves and in case of any assistance requirement, one would
  8. 8. Running Head: Management 8 seek assistance from technical people. Many managers had acquired managerial positions because of technical abilities (Raines, 2012). However their ability, to code and experience ranked last in reference to the highlighted eight attributes of managers. It emerged that the employees were highly rated on one on one meetings and prowess to solve problems (Kay, 2012). It therefore, emerges that Google is highly aided by data approach in enhancing its human resource strategies. Other companies use generic and conventional management strategies. The companies suffers rejections due to lack of evidence and prioritization of important thereby making one as a great manager instead of training one as a great manager goals but Google success is based on the highlighted eight attributes that suit their employees(Kay, 2012). Setty’s priorities moving forward Prasad Setty realized the importance of managers within Google and thereby set priorities of moving forward to continue building oxygen findings on the most effective management practices. Setty prioritizes to establish the driving force for managers to move from being good to being the best. Therefore, he set out to explore people interactions by encompassing an accurate and precise data collection mode with tools of science that can help him identify in-depth insight into the art and craft management. In doing so, Setty’s big challenge was to accurately measure how the employees feel in regard to the company and how best performers especially managers and employees can be retained in the company (McIlvaine, 2010). Setty has the outstanding ability of in-depth understanding of data and can therefore use it to build Google into one of the best organizations. The major responsibility of Setty is to come up with what was on minds of the company employees also called the “googlers” make sure the highest performers are retained and create new ideas to the company (McIlvaine, 2010).
  9. 9. Running Head: Management 9 According to McIlvaine ,2010) to maintain competent managers Google is not supposed to copy best practices from best companies but must instead highly rely on internal data and discern what is feasible or not feasible. For instance, Setty oversaw the creation and implementation of Pilab team responsible with developing and building decision making systems devoid of cognitive errors, hence, easier to leverage employee’s talents. For instance, Pilabs project oxygen has the ability to evaluate and measure impacts of good managers, discern the characteristics of good and bad managers and then recommend the best managers for the organization. Setty’s team prioritizes developing a firm spirit of “googlegeist” and yearly evaluation of employees who hit the achievement level of over 85% among the companies’ twenty thousand employees (Mcilvaine, 2010). This has resulted in multifaceted initiatives based on the feedback acquired from employees. However, Settty’s notes that he fails to focus on employee engagement a factor he sets out to prioritize to make sure that it appeals all the human resource people as well as the business leaders. Googlegeist asks all employees whether they plan to remain on employment or plan to leave. Employees answered either anonymously or by displaying their names. In doing this, setty is able to know whether company’s retention strategies are operational or not effective. The results obtained may be shared on an annual basis by company seniors and managers and also the employees are informed if their feedback is acted upon or not (Mcilvaine, 2010). Setty argues that if employees’ feedback is not acted upon, participation rates drops because employees will feel demoralized to contribute again. Setty also sets out to ascertain that all the best performers continue working productively within the organization while all the unproductive and inefficient employees, who despite opportunities to improve fail to show prospects of improvement are given alternatives in other places where they can thrive. The setty’s team has also developed a system that analyses on quarterly basis all the poor
  10. 10. Running Head: Management 10 performers and in most cases all those employees and managers who record continuous poor performances. They are given training and coaching to aid them better their performance but if such mechanisms fail these employees are given alternative employments elsewhere. Setty’s team has realized the worth of managers in Google and aims to create a tremendous team that can work efficiently to help Google realize its set objectives and goals of continuous innovation and improvement (Mcilvaine, 2010). To move forward Google Company must focus on senior managers because it can highly help in building good relations with shareholders, ensure efficient communication from employees (Fitzroy, Hulbert, & Ghobadian, 2012). The company must also come up with the best employee recruitment and engagement methods to have the best employees who can steer the company to coveted growth (Miller & Gordon, 2014). The company must also make use of the Pilab implementation strategies to help managers realize their worth and weakness, their opportunities and weakness and other guidance method to help the company realize the set goals (Ralph, 2011). The challenge of creating truly amazing managers There are various aspects that pose multifaceted challenges to creating truly amazing managers for Google Company as well as other companies. The challenges may be external or internal, created by individuals or by the organization itself. These factors include awareness, desire knowledge and ability (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Awareness Lack of awareness creates negative attitude towards something simply because one does not know. Sometimes people heed ideas very well and provide various advices but will not exercise the ideas due to their negative attitudes posing challenge to create an amazing team of managers. Awareness poses a great challenge to creating a truly amazing management team in the respect that many managers who resist changes within the
  11. 11. Running Head: Management 11 organization lack awareness hence the resistance. Therefore, in making any change within the company awareness exercise must be done before a project begins to other team managers. This helps to answer various questions for instance, the why question is often overlooked. Any manager willing to undertake a new project will only stipulate what is to be done without giving concrete reasons why it is to be done. Therefore, the other managers will lack awareness and will in the end oppose the change hence undermining managers’ collaboration (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Desire Lack of common desire causes indifference among managers. In most cases it is a personal choice and decision to support a certain idea. For instance, in Google when new changes are introduced different managers have different opinions and different desired results therefore; they may not support each other to enhance the right strategy (Fitzroy, Hullbert & Ghobadian, 2012). Although one may influence another person’s decision no one has the ability to impart desire within another person. Therefore, if one team manager has a very lucrative business idea or project that needs to be done he will lack the ability to influence other managers to develop the desire to support this idea hence may resist such a lucrative idea due to lack of desire. This indifference poses a great challenge to create amazing team of managers. Therefore, the respective manager requires highlighting both personal as well as organizational drivers for change by leveraging support from other high level managers, supervisor and employees to create a desire (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Knowledge For instance, in Google some managers who viewed being experienced and very good in coding was a good enough reason to term them as knowledgeable and competent enough to become the best managers were shocked when they were rated very low. This made them
  12. 12. Running Head: Management 12 feel isolated hence, less cooperative with the highly rated managers because in their view they have the required knowledge and experience required creating a challenge to create an amazing team of managers (Miller & Gordon, 2014). Some projects require extra knowledge either to start or even continue. If the employees, supervisors and other team managers are not taken to training and lacks the required knowledge to undertake the project may oppose the project hence inability to create amazing team of managers (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Ability Ability becomes a hindrance when organizations have no ability to sustain and support project development. In addition, many changes and project opportunities happens very fast that employees will lack the time to turn their knowledge in to ability hence inability to create a good team of managers(Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Reinforcement Reinforcement is hindered by time and energy. In many organizations there are multifaceted efforts underway that the organization lacks required time and energy to utilize on reinforcement of changes. In addition, it emerges that during the planning process many reinforcement changes are not included hence it might become an obstacle if required because it had not been budgeted for. Reinforcement is usually undertaken when the initial project is outlaid and during such a time the project team usually moves to another project hence the likelihood of forgetting reinforcement making it an afterthought hence the inability to create a truly amazing management team (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Recommendations First and foremost one must appreciate and accept the fact that management is vital, necessary and unavoidable for any given company to succeed. For a company to succeed in
  13. 13. Running Head: Management 13 management strategies it must emulate Google tactics. It can maintain a good culture for instance like that of Google (Sullivan, 2013). Having the right characteristics of people for instance Google employees and managers are prone to the culture of innovation, creativity and changes, (Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011). One also needs to use an appropriate implementation team like the Pilabs implementation team used by Google which highly assisted in managers and employee’s health improvement (Gravin, Wagonfeld & Kind, 2011). One also must practice the required attributes like the top eight Oxygen attributes of Google for instance being a good orator and listener of the various teams. One also must set the priorities right for instance, Setty prioritizes to understand data accurately (McIlvaine, 2010). One must also note and identify the existing challenges that hinder institution of good management team for instance awareness, desire knowledge and ability (Manfred, Stroh, Northcraft, & Neale, 2002). Based on these recommendation one can institute a successful company.
  14. 14. Running Head: Management 14 References Cascio, F. & Boudreau, W.(2012). Short introduction to strategic human resource management: Cambridge; Cambridge University Press Dekas K, (2011) People analytics: Using data to drive HR strategy and action: Presentation at O Reilly Strata Jumpstart: New York Fitzroy, T.; Hulbert, M & Ghobadian, A (2012). Strategic management: The challenge of creating value: London; Rout ledge Press Garvin, D, (2013) Goggles project oxygen: do managers matter? Harvard business school teaching note314-016 Gravin D A; Wagonfeld, A B & Kind L (2011) Google project oxygen: Do managers matter? Harvard Business School case 313-110 Kay, R. (2012). Managing creativity in science and hi-tech: Berlin: Springer science & business media Kotter J, P; Cohen D, S (2002) The heart of change: Boston: Harvard Business School Publishers Manfred F,RStroh, L.K; Northcraft, G, B & Neale, M.A (2002) Organizational behaviour: A management challenge:Mahwah,Nj McIlvaine A (2010).Greatest achievement created “googlegeist” a state of the art scientifically constructed employee survey. Raines, S. (2012). Conflict management for managers: Resolving work place, client and policy disputes: Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Ralph, D. (2011). Strategic management and organisation dynamic: the challenges of complexity: Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Sullivan, J (2013). How Google is using people analytics to completely reinvent HR: Handbook of organizational Economics: Princeton University press

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