Management Principles

Google is doing a lot for its employees, but not enough to retain some talented employees. Using what you’ve learned from studying the various motivation theories, what does this situation tell you about employee motivation?

A company like Google certainly doesn’t need any introduction. The search giant has been a market leader amongst search engines for many years now and much of it has to do with the strong employee base that has been instrumental in contributing to the growth and development of the organization.

Google employees go through a strong hiring process which leads us to believe that the employees are highly intellectual and smart. The various motivational theories will help us understand more about this situation:

  1. Maslows Need Hierarchy Theory:

According to Maslows need hierarchy theory, the employees working at Google have already passed through

Physiological – Covering the basics of food, clothing and shelter needs

Safety Needs – security and protection from harm, ensuring that physical needs will not be compromised

Social Needs- are highly recognized and respected in their social circles and enjoy affection and belongingness in society

However, the employees have seemed to upgrade and are identifying Esteem and Self Actualisation needs which apparently according to these employees aren’t being met by working in Google. Since the employees are well endowed with intellectual capital, they have a strong sense of realisation that they are at a point where they can pursue their individual goals that can give them an internal sense of satisfaction and an individual command at leadership skills (Esteem Needs)  and lead them to attain self-fulfilment (Self- Actualisation Needs) which is the ultimate objective of any person in life.

The employees having worked at Google and attained the experience also are aware that pursuing the high end individual goals might not be possible in association with a huge company as the said employees may never be able to get a sole credit for their efforts. Therefore, leaving the organization and moving on to achieve personal ambitions seems to be the only resort

  1. Gregor’s Theory X and Y

The above observation can also be proved by the second motivation theory listed above. According to Mc. Gregor’s Theory X and Y, the employees of Google, essentially fall under Theory Y wherein they

  1. Enjoy the work and are smart at it
  2. They are capable of handling responsibilities voluntarily and
  3. They are capable of exercising self-direction

The idea of self-direction is organically rooted in the employees which leads them to take bold steps and proceed to achieve personal objectives and ambitions

  1. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

According to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory which categorises the employees as either extremely satisfied (Motivators) or extremely Dissatisfied (Hygiene Factors), the employees of Google are essentially Motivators and are highly satisfied with the working conditions offered by the company. This is evident from the fact that many employees often regard working in Google as ‘Working in a paradise’. However, the employees have a strong social, intellectual and financial capital that they have gathered over the years which makes them take strong and bold decisions and gives them enough confidence and motivation to be able to think for themselves.

What do you think is Google’s biggest challenge in keeping employees motivated?

Google’s employees (Googlers) are people who are highly smart and talented and know their worth. Although Google provides multitude of perks and privileges to its employees they indirectly do arrive at a conflict of interest with those employees who have the talent to produce extra-ordinary innovative solutions. Even though Google looks after its employees, but Afterall, it is a company that is guided by its own personal interests and in the conflict between the growth of the employee versus growth of the organization, somehow the latter takes precedence. The employees know it that if they have a great business idea, there is a bigger likelihood that the company will eclipse the hard work of the employee and take credit for the ideas by itself. This, factor is clearly visible and understood by most of the employees which is why despite paying huge amount of financial and other incentives, Google is not able to retain and keep its employees motivated enough to stay and work with them for a far longer duration.

If you were managing a team of Google employees, how would you keep them motivated?

Managing a work-force which is naturally highly intellectual, smart and self-driven is a challenge on its own. But, a challenge of a positive nature.

If I were to manage a team of Google’s employees who are already well-endowed with various perks and incentives, I would assume the approach taking McClelland’s Three-Needs Theory that focusses on the

  1. Need for Achievement
  2. Need for Power and
  3. Need for Affiliation

This is essential in Google’s context because the organization works exceedingly well in taking care of various essential needs of the employees. Yet, fundamentally the employees lack the unconditional commitment towards the organization which can be instilled right from the time they are inducted in the company. As a team leader, I would

  1. Instill the organization’s long-term vision in my employees to make them realise that we expect a long-term and healthy association with them.
  2. I would discuss individual goals and objectives of the employees to understand the degree to which those objectives align with organizational goals.
  3. I would provide the employees with a need to strive for sense of recognition by giving them enough assurance that their work will be duly acknowledged
  4. I would also give the employees individual goal plans and devise their promotion path which although is not controlled by me yet can give them a blue-print that they can strive for and feel accomplished about while working for the company
  5. I would follow-up with employee growth and development by devising mentorship programs and putting them under the best leaders amongt the organization thereby making them feel intellectually enriched and fulfilled

A manager’s primary challenge is to solve problems creatively, and you should view management as “the art of getting things done through the efforts of other people.” Explain this statement and how it relates to any of the cases or companies discussed through the trimester.

Management is indeed the art of getting thigs done through others and the cocept devised by Henry Fayol, is reflected via different stages in almost all the organizations regardless of the nature and function

For our understanding, a reference example of the leading search giant Google Inc will be taken

Google as we all know is the market leader in its field and has been able to maintain this position for a long strong time now.

The concept of stages of management that has been described by Henry fayol as

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Staffing and Directing
  4. Controlling

is very much evident in the functioning of Google

Planning- This is the stage where major innovative ideas and business solutions are discussed. The company uses multitude of techniques such as in-depth discussions, brainstorming, controlled environment experiments (which they rely on mostly for back testing of their softwares). A proper blue-print (plan of action) is charted out highlighting timelines for completion of various objectives which are then put into action. Owing to the Global nature of Google, functioning in different regions of the world means that they cannot rely on just single plan therefore, the company always keeps several backup plans ready at stand-by.

Once the plans are put into action, they are constantly monitored and any gaps and loopholes are immediately covered and managed.

Organizing- despite the complex system and huge outreach of Google, the company has a simplified decentralized organization structure wherein each department is run by different expert heads, who are efficient and effective at delegating tasks to their subordinates. At Google, the superior subordinate relationship is very transparent and it is easy for any employee to reach out to their superiors not only at inter-department level but also at cross-departmental levels. The department heads are responsible for goals and targets of their respective departments and are ultimately accountable to the top management, which overviews all the departments.

Directing- this is the one function which is the backbone of the organization. Google has a very well defined and exhaustive process of recruitment and relies heavily on intellectual human resource. Working in Google is time-demanding and requires a lot of dedication and concentration. This is also the reason that the company takes significant efforts in giving its employees multitude if perks and privileges from taking care of their minute basic needs to providing them with financial security and stock options. The company takes essential steps to ensure that the employees are retained for a longer duration and the attrition rate is attempted to be kept at minimum.

Controlling- This is a constant function which keeps running in the company at the back-end. A complex multinational organization such as Google, keeps a strong check on all the functions and any gaps that are identified in any function that is planning organizing and staffing/directing are immediately looked into and the deviations are managed by contingent (situational) plans and resolved.

A boundary less organisation has the potential to cause a major shift in the way employees work. Explain what is meant by a “boundary less organisation” and its implications for a manager in a global market.

A boundary less organization, by the name itself means an organization which is not confined by the limitations of working in a brick and mortar system.

Although in previous years, the boundary less organizations have been questioned in terms of their effectiveness and success. Companies like Amazon have been able to implement a boundaryless work culture, yet not all the organizations were able to implement them.

However, the environmental factors are constantly changing and the recent health crisis (CornaVirus) has left the world grappling into an unprecedented times forcing people to change their work culture and routines and shift to a Boundary less culture in order to conform to social distancing norms.

In the wake of such circumstances, majority of companies have changed to this shift and surprisingly the companies that rejected this system before have retraced their words and admitted that a boundary less organization culture may actually work.

The benefits perceived are:

  1. No confinement to geographical boundaries means that talent can be acquired from any where around the world. This gives the organization an opportunity to employ talent at comparatively less costs.
  2. The organizations stand chance to save on infrastructure cost and this money can be reinvested in the internal growth and training needs of the employees.
  3. Various surveys have indicated that organizations can get over the hesitations that working in a boundaryless organization can effect an employee productivity as the opposite has been found to be true. Employees have shown to do more work than they were able to do because they can manage more time
  4. A boundaryless organization also helps in saving travel and accommodation costs which is again a beneficial point

McDonalds is an extremely successful fast food global franchise. Identify and describe the apparent organisational design features of McDonalds in terms of the potential configurations given by Henry Mintzberg (i.e., simple, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy etc.). Briefly explain why you think the identified configuration has contributed towards McDonald’s successful operations in Australia.

At McDonalds the organization structure that is followed is

  1. Machine Bureaucracy – the company applies same machines in all its franchise. The machines work in the exact same manner and exact same time to ensure standardisation of the food products that are offered to the customers.
  2. Professional Bureaucracy- The company makes sure that all the employees working for a particular function employ the exact same skills (no room for changes). The employees are required to speak the same script, take orders in the exact same manner as prescribed and follow the protocols in a completely standard manner without fail.

The above process works very much in favour of McDonalds, because the nature of the company is that of a fast food chain that involves delivering food to its customers inside restaurant and in the take-out format in the fastest way so that maximum number of customers can be treated and the waiting time is kept at bare minimum

As such, if the employees have the standard skill set, it saves a lot of time and contributes in efficiency which thereby is reflected in the high customer satisfaction.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Management Assignment Help

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