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Google Case: 4-Drive Theory Motivation

Essay by   •  October 4, 2018  •  Case Study  •  854 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,977 Views

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Google is a multinational, high technology company, that has established itself among the most successful corporations globally. Part of its success lies in the superior performance of its employees who are highly motivated in the workplace, with Google being consistently ranked #1 as the most meaningful company to work for. Practices at Google provide a balanced opportunity for employees to fulfill their drives, according to the Four Drive theory of motivation.

Google satisfie its employees’ primary need to acquire resources, status and possessions through optimized extrinsic incentive programs around this drive. Google sharply differentiated good performers from average and poor performers by highlighting the importance of performance reviews. All employees participated in 360-degree assessments, receiving feedback from managers, direct reports and peers. Calibration of those reviews across the company reflected consistency. Further to this, and in order to tie rewards clearly to performance, Google adopted the “Google Founders’ Awards” which were substantial stock grants that were offered to employees displaying innovation. These awards provided a positive reinforcement for their performance and behavior. Moreover, aiming to be competitive in its industry concerning total compensation, Google offered a base salary, bonus, stock options, benefits and perks, ranging from on-site health care to leisure facilities and sponsored ski trips. Those were highly appreciated by employees who preferred stocks from cash compensation and rejected competitors’ higher paying offers. Overall, understanding this drive and providing necessary conditions to fulfill the “acquisition” was at the core of Google. To balance out the probable negative outcome of unhealthy competition, Google also satisfied another proactive drive-the drive to bond.

Google understood that employees thrive on developing relationships inside the organization and fundamentally need to create connections, perceive a fit with the corporate culture, and engage with others. Thus, it created opportunities for connection and interaction and supported them with its strong adaptive culture, which encouraged collegiality and valued highly collaboration and teamwork. Towards this direction, decisions were made in a “consensus-oriented” manner, being discussed either in meetings or via e-mails that outlined various options.  Furthermore, managers from each of the major functions collaborated to reach specific metrics and each one of them worked with their teams to decide on actions. Google fostered successfully mutual reliance and friendship among coworkers by designing a college campus alike company environment in such a way to promote the development of interpersonal relationships between colleagues and also the interaction between employees of different functions and groups. This culture was also supported by multiple initiatives taken such as social gatherings, ski trips and cross- functional workgroups.

Coupled with the drive to bond, Google also offered its employees ample but equilibrated opportunities in order to fulfill the third of the proactive drives, the drive to learn and comprehend. Google managed to design meaningful jobs with distinct and important roles. Work was organized by function, with the largest departments being engineering, operations, product management, product marketing, sales, finance and legal. Within these functional groups, roles were clearly perceived and defined but also important, as employees were rather mentored than managed and were encouraged to be innovative in their jobs and feel comfortable taking risks by offering up new ideas. Furthermore, employees were assigned roles meant to contribute to the organization’s greater function and goal. Contributing to this, they evaluated their peers by performance reviews. In addition, employees that had undergone interview trainings participated in the recruiting process and interviewed strong candidates. Finally, Google supported personal development and growth of its employees by offering training programs on coaching and people development, skills and language classes and further training on different topics.



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