Google’s Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter? Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


The company Google was founded in the year 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The two of them were computer science doctoral students which were studying in Stanford University. The two of them introduced and developed an algorithm that basically ranked the internet search results which were primarily based on the site.

The idea was a successful one, in the first year the two partners Brin and Page actually raised more than $26 million from the investors and eventually they went on to develop an organization which was named as Google. The company started its operations from Mountain View, California.

The company culture formed by the two partners was quite informal and the overall theme developed by the owners was quite casual where the employees were even allowed to bring their pets. The reason behind the culture was to develop and also encourage the collegiality and to overcome any barriers that hinder the rapid growth (David, 2013).

The company has been quite successful where it even established partnerships with the leading websites such as the Yahoo and AOL. The company Google even introduced the concept of Ad Words in the year 2000. Moreover, the company has been quite keen to attract paid advertisements where it has been able to generate an amount of $440 million revenues and $100 as profits in the year 2002.

The company when offer IPO had almost 3,000 employees however, in the year 2012, the company had grown to approximately a total of 35,000 employees.  The employees of the company have been subdivided into three major categories or function groups which include the engineering, global business organization and the general and administrative. The company has employees which operate from various parts of the world.

Finally, the organizational culture that is being followed by the company is a rather flat and an informal structure. The company has actually looked to ensure and provide a culture where each employee has been up to the mark and has tried their level best to deliver optimum results.

Problem Analysis

The major problem that has been identified in the case “Google's Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter?” has been the fact that the Google started off its new project Google’s Project Oxygen where the fundamental question that was raised by the executives was that: do the managers matter?  To actually answer this question, the management built a comprehensive program with eight key management attributes which has been designed to actually help the Google employees to become improved and better managers (David, 2013).

Since, the program has been in place for more than 12 years, the management or the executives are wondering how can the company build upon the success of the project Oxygen, also it needs to find out how it can extend it to the senior leaders, other teams and while also striving to rather create rather amazing managers within the company.

Since the company has been able to identify the definition of a good manager, the company and its executives are looking for other options and types of training that shall be created in the future? Moreover, the executives are thinking whether they should invest more in managers or not?

Situation Analysis

Google culture

The culture that is followed by Google has been rather engineering dominated culture. The company as stated in the case is built by engineers and it is for the engineers.  The decision making is also a flat one. Employees are made a part of decision making and the decision making within the company is described as consensus driven.

Google’s Project Oxygen Do Managers Matter Case Solution

The organization has many employees with same titles. The company has approximately 5000 managers worldwide, almost 1000 directors and nearly 100 vice presidents that are operating from all parts of the world. The company does not believe in instating too many managers, the main or the major focus of the firm has been to ensure that employees do not feel the hesitation in discussing their issues and the management actually wanted to develop a rather flatter structure.

Since the company has been engineer driven where the major focus has been on engineers, therefore, the engineers generally prefer spending time coding and debugging. Engineers believe that too many hierarchy levels hinder the performance and delays the work. Moreover, as the case states, the CEO of the company, once even though does Google actually needs managers. Therefore, it can be assumed that the company did not believe in authoritative structure (David, 2013)...................

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