Approaches to management and organisational behaviour

Approaches to Management and Organisational Behaviour

1. Objectives

This report is to further develop the understanding on the management and organisational behaviors of organizations by studying on several areas including the business background, organisational structure & design and the organisations’ approaches of two organisations which are having similar business nature.

Organisation’s approaches include motivation, leadership, learning & knowledge management, human resource management, culture & diversity, information technology and communication which would be discussed one by one in the following sections.

Two organisations which are being studied and discussed in this report are “Google Inc.” and “Microsoft Corporation”.

2. Business Background

“Google Inc.” (named as “Google” in this report) is a technology company which was founded by two Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin in Year 1998.

Google’s organisational mission is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” aiming to develop and provide powerful search engine for letting people to find what they are looking for faster and easier.

Google is acting as an Internet Information Provider with the core business on providing search services and advertising through internet. It provides various internet services (including e-mail services, online shopping services, YouTube and so on) and document processing solutions “Google Doc”, which is available online at free for people to view/ save/ edit/ save documents, to public. Besides, it also provides different kinds of customized intranet or software solutions on “Search” or “Document Processing” technology to enterprises.

Apart from providing internet or intranet services via networked PCs, Google also working hard on developing the technology for allowing people to access information via mobile devices like operating system “Android” which is specifically designed to be used in mobile devices , and “Chrome OS” which is designed for portable PC such as netbooks..

Google grows so quickly that apart from the corporate headquarter, named “Googleplex” located in California U.S.A., it also has branches located in different countries (including USA, Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America and so on) around the world and now having more than 19,000 employees worldwide. (Google Inc. 2009)

“Microsoft Corporation” (name as “Microsoft” in this report) is a technology company which was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Year 1975.

Microsoft’s organisational mission and values are “To help people and business throughout the world realize their full potential” aiming to provide and support people the most innovative ways and technologies (including software and hardware devices) for bringing out peoples’ talent and achieving their goals at the highest level.

Microsoft is acting as a worldwide software and hardware products and solutions provider with 7 core business categories (as below listed) covers the needs for different gradation of people, also covers both people’s living and business.

1) Windows Client: including all Microsoft Windows embedded operating system,

2) Information Worker: including all Microsoft stand-alone desktop applications like Microsoft Office…etc,

3) Business Solutions: including all Microsoft customized business process applications and services,

4) Server & Tools: including all Microsoft server software, software developer tools and developer network,

5) Mobile and Embedded Devices: including all Microsoft mobile devices like Pocket PC, Mobile Explorer microbrowser…etc,

6) MSN: including all Microsoft web-based services and

7) Home & Entertainment: including all Microsoft consumer hardware & software, online games, TV platform…etc.

Microsoft is a globalized world size organisation. Apart from its headquarter located in Redmond, USA, it is now having over 40 offices in different countries and having over 90,000 employees worldwide.

3. Organisational Structure and Design

3.1 Organisation Structure of Google

Google consisted of a lot of shareholders, every shareholder had the right to vote for the decision. At the same time, Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had the sufficient power to affect the final decision in order to make sure whole organization is under control.

Although Google is now a globalized world sized organisation, it kept having a flat and short organisational structure rather than bureaucratic structure in order to able things to be done quickly since it believed time was people’s most valuable treasure.

Besides, Google also believed innovation and acting were much more important than deciding. Thus, it empowered their engineers to make decisions and acts by themselves as long as their decisions were innovative and could lead the organisation to go further and quicker.

Whole organisation was divided by function as shown as below structure chart (The Official Board 2009). Each functional department was worked as a team responsible for specific job function with clearly defined job duties instead of multi-functions.

Google focused on people. It cared about the needs of the users (clients / customers) as well as the employees. All-hands meetings and team building activities were held regularly for understanding the needs and establishing the relationship among the employees.

3.2 Organisation Structure of Microsoft

Microsoft was run by a board of directors who were elected every year during shareholders’ meeting. Meanwhile there were total five committees which handled more specific matters.

These committees included:

1. Audit Committee which oversaw account and audit issues;

2. Compensation Committee which handled and approved the matters regarding the compensation to CEO or employees;

3. Finance Committee which handled financial matters like proposing mergers;

4. Governance and Nominating Committee which was in charge of corporate matters include nomination of Boards &

5. Antitrust Compliance committee which handled the laws issues.

Each committee oversaw specific matters and under these five committees there were sixteen company offices located in different countries which handled the daily operation matters. The organisational chart of the company office is shown as below. (Cogmap 2009)

Each company office was divided by function, and each function was further divided into small and more specific function which handled by a team.

Microsoft focused on having things done fast rather than bureaucracy, each company office was empowered to make decision and the committees oversaw each company office through the data in their centralized data base system and regular meetings.

Last but not list, Microsoft concerned about the needs and the growth of its employees. It aimed to provide employees a supportive, health and happy working environment which helped the employees do their best work and have sufficient resources for developing their own career.

3.3 Compare the Similarities and Differences of Organisational Structure between Google & Microsoft

Decentralisation is the process of which upper management authorizing or empowering lower peers to make decision which allow more flexibility on decision making. (Dubois & Fattore 2009)

On the contrary, bureaucracy is an organizational structure which has the main features including specialisation, hierarchy of authority, system of rules and impersonality according to Stewart’s study. It focuses on procedures and all the power is centralised at Top management. All decisions can only be made by Top management instead of the employees and what employees can do is to follow instruction.

Google and Microsoft were having very similar organisation structure. They both ran the organisation in decentralized structure instead of bureaucratic structure, such that their employees or individual departments were empowered to make some decision by themselves instead of having all decisions made by the top management.

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At the same time, Google and Microsoft had applied Human relation approach as their core approach to organisation and management, such that they focused on the psychological and social needs of people at work. They provided perfect working environment, benefits, opportunities on developing career and talent, team building activities which not only supported their employees’ basic social needs but also the psychological needs.

4. Approaches to Management & Organisational Behaviour

4.1 Motivation

Google believed every employee was equally important to its success and all employees were innovative and creative as long as they felt comfortable in their working environment and free to share their ideas. Thus, Google provided their employees the best working environment “Googleplex”. Apart from office, there were also café, gym, washing machines, video games machines and table tennis tables in “Googleplex” which were provided to all their employees.

Besides, Google also believed innovation and acting were much more important than deciding. At Google, there was a “20-precent time”, such that all employees were encouraged to spend 20% of their working time on developing any project that they were interested in or they thought was valuable. Google also empowered their engineers to make decisions and acts by themselves as long as their decisions were innovative and could lead the organisation to go further and quicker.

In addition, Google not only emphasized on team achievements, but also cared about the individual accomplishment. Every employee was encouraged to take part in leading the organisation towards the success. (Google Inc. 2009)

Microsoft’s organisational mission was “To help people and business throughout the world realize their full potential”. Microsoft believed in the power of technologies and it deeply believed its products and services helped people to bring out their potential. Employees were encouraged to improve existing products and services or develop innovative products for helping people and community.

Microsoft believed all its employees were innovative, skillful, self direct and self control. As long as its employees’ ideas could lead the organisation towards the success, it provided full support for actualizing the ideas.

Apart from providing perfect working environment and full support of resources, tools and facilities, Microsoft also provided options to its employees for choosing their career path by their own. Employees could choose to keep on further develop their professional by staying at their current position or choose to try to work on other functional field which is completely difference from their own original professional, that allowed the employees to go toward their dream and achieve what they want. (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

With referenced to McGregor’s theory X and theory Y, Google and Microsoft were having the similar belief as theory Y. It believed all their employees were innovative, hardworking, creative, responsible, self direct and self control. Relationship among the organisation and employees were based on participation, commitment, trust and open.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Google and Microsoft not only fulfilled people’s basic needs (including physiological and safety), they also fulfilled their employees’ with the upper levels including love, self-esteem and self-actualization.

4.2 Leadership

Google focused on people. Apart from the users who used their online services, it put its employees at the first place of the organization. Employees at Google were being inspired and trusted rather than managed. Leadership that was carried among the leader (top management) and followers (employees or subordinates) was a kind of Action-centred leadership established based on consideration. Google had a very clear objectives that they did “Search” and goaled to develop and provide “perfect search engine”. It encouraged employees to see their work as challenge and let employees believe challenge was fun. Besides, Google kept its working atmosphere casual, provided perfect working environment, encouraged employees to speak or express their idea and opinions freely which allowed the needs of each employee to be realized and fulfilled by the organisation. At the same time, there were clear principles guideline and principles which guided employees’ actions and provided a clear direction to employees to follow. (Google Inc. 2009)

Microsoft concerned about the freedom and the individual growth of each employee. It treated the relationship among employees, managers & Microsoft as a kind of partnership.

At Microsoft, managers acted like coaches who brought out the organisation’s needs and business priorities and provided support and efforts to the employees helping them to bring their talents in full play and do their best work. At the same time, Microsoft acted like a supporter for supporting the partnership between managers and employees by providing best working environment, opportunities and resources. Employees had freedom to choose how their career path goes. They could choose to keep on further development within their existing position or make functional change by trying different job positions among different functional departments which depended on each employee’s own ability and choose. (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

Both Google and Microsoft were having the similar leadership approaches as McGregor’s theory Y that all employees should be inspired and respected instead of controlled since they all were innovative, responsible, self direct and self control. Google, Microsoft and McGregor’s theory Y believed employees enjoy their work duties and they were able and willing to seek out the ways to do their job best as long as they were guided appropriately and supported with sufficient resources.

4.3 Learning and knowledge management

Google emphasized on discovering people’s actual needs, solving real-world problems and encouraging new ideas instead of just fitting the needs. Google supported its employees to keep on further study on what they were working on by providing tuition reimbursement as long as the employees had achieved certain grades or certification. Besides, Google also provided its own designed training to its employees in order to make sure all employees were skillful and knowledgeable enough to cope with their daily jobs and problems. (Google Inc. 2009)

Microsoft believed every employee was responsible for his own career and all employees were able to learn through experience. Thus, it put efforts on providing a supportive working environment where employees could lean and grow while working. At Microsoft, education and training programs were also provided to employees for increasing their awareness, skills, knowledge and ability. Besides, there was tuition reimbursement program in order to encourage employees to keep on learning (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

Learning is about change. Google and Microsoft understood that the world is changing every second and it was importance to have their employees kept on learning in order to maintain sufficient ability to cope with changes and challenges. They both used the ways of providing specific training programs and tuition reimbursing programs for letting their employees to learn the explicit knowledge. At the same time, Google focused on employees’ ability rather than experience and believed all its employees were innovative and creative when they felt comfortable and fun. Thus, it provided a perfect relax working environment and causal working atmosphere to its employees. While Microsoft believed in the power of tacit knowledge, it appreciated every employee’s own experience from different market and background and treated this as a kind of wisdom and wealth. Thus, it focused on giving a supportive working environment which allowed employees to learn while working.

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4.4 Human resource management

Google concerned people. It provided a perfect working environment to its employees and tried its best to recognize employees’ needs. Besides, Google respected and treated every employee equally as an important part. It favored ability rather than experience and focused on innovation and creativity of people rather than the technical skills, such that it provided equal chances to various types of people including fresh graduated students or non-experienced people to become a part of Google. At Google, it was committed to provide opportunities to employees to bring their talent into full play. Apart from assigned daily job duties, all employees were encouraged to develop their own ideas and work on the projects that they thought were valuable. This not only provided opportunities to employees to further develop their career along with their interest and skill, but also provided employees the chances to explore their talent. Google appreciated team success as well as employee individual accomplishment. Apart from this, Google had its own education program which aimed to improve its recruitment strategies and techniques for choosing the most suitable people to become a part of Google. (Google Inc. 2009)

Microsoft focused on employees’ freedom, balance and autonomy. It aimed to provide a flexible workplaces and full support of programs and resources to their employees in order to allow them to fully develop their talents and do the best work. Besides, Microsoft provided options of career path for its employees to choose which allowed employees to develop their career paths by their own choice. Microsoft concerned about ability and innovation as well as technical skill and experience. It welcomed people who came from any marketing fields and background. At the same time, Microsoft also offered benefits including health benefits, broadband connection to employee’s home, social club, career guidance, financial planning program, car leasing problem and so on, which not only covered individual employees’ personal needs, but also covered the needs for their family for allowing employees to enjoy a balance lives while developing their career. At the same time, Microsoft had divided its business into 7 categories which streamlined their business and allowed the job duties for each employee to be more specific. Last but not least, Microsoft made use of software system which helped to record and evaluate the performance of each employee for making sure they were doing their best and rewarded appropriately. (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

With referenced to Mullins’s studies, a completed HRM philosophy should:

1. recognize people’s needs and expectations;

2. respect everyone;

3. treat everyone equally and have a fair reward system;

4. offer stable employment;

5. provide good working environment;

6. provide opportunities for self and career development;

7. concern freedom and

8. comply with laws.

Both Google’s and Microsoft’s HRM complied with the above 8 philosophies. They focused on peoples, treated all employees equally and provided employees the best working environment and opportunities for further development. The main difference among Google and Microsoft was that Google hired people who were innovative rather that skillful or experienced. While Microsoft hired people who were innovative as well as skillful and experienced.

4.5 Culture and diversity

Even Google is a globalized world sized organisation, it insisted to maintain small company feel that every employee was encouraged to make use of all the facilities and spaces which were opened to them in office or “Googleplex” in order to make themselves comfortable and enjoyable to work at Google, since Google deeply believed innovative ideas were always came out when people felt comfortable. At the same time, Google’s culture also emphasized on having fun and enjoying lives, it kept the working atmosphere casual, helped employees to treat work as challenges and challenges as fun and focused on team work as well as individual accomplishment. Apart from these, Google paid attention on ensuring all employees were having balance lives styles which included work, play and life. Besides, all employees were treated equally and were encouraged to share or express their ideas with different teams or Top management including Co-founder Larry or Sergey directly.

In addition, Google emphasized on team achievements as well as individual accomplishment. Every employee was encouraged to take part in leading the organisation towards the success.

Microsoft focused on innovation and getting things done rather than bureaucracy. It concerned about people and saw every employee as its most valuable treasures. Every employee was treated equally and provided with opportunities. Microsoft emphasized on work and life balance, it encouraged employees to enjoy their lives with their family while developing their career and professional. Microsoft had passion for technology and believed in the power of technology which could help people to develop or bring their potential fully out at anytime anywhere. As per Microsoft’s organizational mission “To help people and business throughout the world realize their full potential”, it believed all its products and services were helping people to build up and realize their potential.

Microsoft believed diversity enriched its performance, products and their communities where its employees lived and worked in. It concentrated on seeking people who were skillful, honest, open, willing to face by challenges and committed to personal excellence and self-improvement. (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

With referenced to the seven dimensions of organizational culture, Google and Microsoft were having similar organizational couture. They both emphasized on innovation, risk taking and people orientation. Besides, Google also focused on Team orientation while Microsoft focused on outcome orientation.

4.6 Information Technology

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is Google’s core mission. Google believed in the possibilities and boundless of the internet itself, it worked hard on developing the technology on accessing information and browsing web through the internet not only via networked PCs but also mobile devices, which allowed people (including its employees) to exchange or share information at anytime anywhere. Google put great effort on keep on modifying their software and upgrading their hardware / server setup in order to allow all the information was accessed in the fastest and simplest way. Apart from these, all employees were carrying a mobile devices like netbook or packet PC which allowed them to develop or express their ideas whatever or whenever there were new ideas come up to their mind. (Google Inc. 2009)

As a worldwide software and hardware products and solutions provider, Microsoft believed “Nothing is impossible for technologies”. It worked hard on developing not only single category of technology but different categories including operating system, application solutions, network or internet technologies and mobile technologies. It took technology as a serious part of future and deeply trusted technology could bring people toward the upper level. (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

Google and Microsoft were Technology Company, Google focused on developing the “perfect search engine” as well as other software solutions for allowing people to get the information they look for in the shortest and easiest way. While Microsoft focused on developing the technology for helping people to realize and bring out their potential. They both trusted in the possibility and huge power of technology, which provided people easier and better lives. At the same time, they realized the importance of information. They made effort in developing the technology for allowing people to access information more quickly and easily via various channels not only the internet but also the mobile devices or any other kinds of device. Apart from this, they also recognized the importance of the security of the information and tried hard to develop powerful salutation for protecting peoples’ privacy.

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4.7 Communication

At Google, all employees were greatly encouraged to share their ideas with different teams or the top peers of the organisation directly. For example, there were weekly all-hands meetings which allowed employees express their opinions. Since Google believed all its employees were innovative and self control as long as they were being comfortable and feeling fun, it provided the prefect and relax working environment and empowered its employees to make their own decision for carrying out their own ideas or projects. It also recognized the importance of information accessibility, it kept on developing new or optimizing the existing technologies and products for allowing people to access or exchange information more easily and quickly. All employees were communicated via multi-channels which increased the transparency and the flow of information among teams and different levels of management through out the whole organisation. (Google Inc. 2009)

At Microsoft, all employees were welcomed to express their ideas. Relationship among the managers and employees was treated as a kind of partnership and respect rather than top-down relationship. Managers acted like coaches, they brought out the needs and the objectives of the organization, provided supports and advices for helping or allowing the employees to develop their individual career and talent along with the success of the organization. Apart from this, Microsoft made use of technology which allowed employees to access or share information among teams or departments via web base system (Microsoft Corporation 2009)

Communication was a kind of exchange or transfer of information or understanding. With referenced to Eric Berne’s the Ego-State (or Parent-Adult-Child) model, the core communication model that Google and Microsoft applied was Adult-to-Adult transactions. They respected their employees, focused on guiding and supporting their employees to solve problems, do their best work and further develop their career along with the organisation’s success rather than demanding, commanding, controlling or criticizing their employees. At the same time, Google also applied Adult-to-Child transactions, it made effort in keeping the working atmosphere casual and fun, and encouraging their employees to view challenges as fun in order to bring out their potential and maintain employees’ passion on what they are doing.

Apart from this, Google and Microsoft encouraged employees to share their ideas with different teams and let them to communicate via multi-channels via decentralized networks.

5. Conclusion

As a kind of Technology Company, Google and Microsoft were having quite similar organisational structure and managerial approaches.

They both sought for “three win” situation (users win, employees win and the organization wins) rather than focused on organisations’ revenue only. They put the users and employees at the first place since they believed organisations would only win while all people including both their users (customers) and employees won.

In order to cope with the rapid changes of this world, they both chose to run their organisation with decentralized structure instead of bureaucratic structure in order to allow more flexibility. Both organisations, which included Technical level, Managerial level and Community level, were divided by functions which allowed each functional group handles specific function.

Google and Microsoft respected their employees, they believed their employees were innovative, self direct and self control same as McGregor’s theory Y. It was not necessary to control the employees, but higher level of employees’ needs, including the level of love / belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, should be fulfilled for maintaining employees’ motivation on their work. At both organisatoins, employees were being inspired or guided for bringing out their talent in order to further develop their career path along with organisations’ success.

Learning is about change. Both Google and Microsoft provided their employees training, education program or other supportive programs for encouraging them to keep on learning in order to have sufficient ability to cope with changes or solve problems by themselves. One main difference among Google and Microsoft was that Google did not concern much about employees’ working experience but it only focused on employees’ innovation and ability. For Microsoft, it concerned about employees’ innovation and ability as well as working experience. It treated employees’ individual working experience or background as a kind of valuable treasure and wisdom.

Regarding HRM, Google and Microsoft followed Mullins’s eight HRM philosophies. They tried hard to understand and fulfill their employees’ needs and expectations by encouraging their employees to express their opinions and providing employees sufficient support. They respected their employees without any discrimination. They treated everyone equally, offered stable employment, provided prefect working environment, provided opportunities, concerned freedom and complied with laws.

With referenced to the seven dimensions of organizational culture, Google and Microsoft were having similar organizational culture. They both emphasized on innovation, risk taking and people orientation. Besides, Google also focused on Team orientation such that it appreciated team work, while Microsoft focused on outcome orientation which concerned about getting the result.

Google and Microsoft realized the important of technology and recognized that information was a kind of very valuable treasure. They put all their effort on developing technology which allowed information to be searched, accessed or exchanged in the fastest and easiest way. They both make use of their own technologies to allow their employee to access and exchange information in the fasted ways. They also encouraged their employees to communicate in various channels.

In conclusion, there was no golden organisational structure or golden managerial approaches, which were suitable for all organisations. The structure or approaches which were applied by Google and Microsoft might not be suitable for other organisations even they were same kind of Technology Company. The effectiveness of the organisational structure and managerial approaches was organisation dependent, such that the structure and approaches would only be workable with the organisation as long as they matched with the culture of that organisation. Each organisation should have its own design of the organisational structure and managerial approaches based on its culture and needs. Otherwise, the structure and approaches not only could not help the organisation, but might damage the origanisational health.

References

Cogmap (2009) Microsoft [online] available from <http://www.cogmap.com/chart/microsoft> [31 December 2009]

Dubois, H.F.W. & Fattore, G. (2009), ‘Definitions and typologies in public administration research: the case of decentralization’, International Journal of Public Administration, 32(8): 704-727.

Google Inc.(2009) Google Corporate Information [online] available from <http://www.google.com/intl/en/corporate> [29 December 2009]

Microsoft Corporation (2009) Careers Home [online] available from <http://www.microsoft.com/zhcareers/default.aspx> [30 December 2009]

Mullins L.J. (2007) Management And Organisational Behaviour. 8th ed. England: Pearson Education

The Official Board (2009) Google [online] available from <http://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/google> [31 December 2009]

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