There’s a new Woogler in Town!

Here at Pitt, we take Friday’s seriously, especially in the Woodcock Honors Fellowship Program. We hit the streets running, busing to Bakery Square to visit Google Pittsburgh.

Arriving at Google, Mike, a Senior Manager at Google, gave an office tour and described the culture, goals, and atmosphere here in Google Pittsburgh. Google Pittsburgh has been an innovation hub for the billion-dollar firm; specifically, Google Express was pioneered here in Pittsburgh, which is a Google project to compete with Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping. With Google Express, customers order products through Google but are shipped to customers via local suppliers, like a local Target, grocery store, or other commercial retailers. Not only does it directly compete with Amazon Prime, but it benefits the retail market to compete with the powerhouse that Amazon now has become.

Google’s culture is unique, however, their interpersonal relationships are not completely unusual. While Google aims to make executives more approachable for new employees, their team-oriented culture is a norm in the business industry today. Both EY and Google have days of volunteer service, pride themselves in valuing every employees’ voice, celebrate together, and offer flexibility. However, Google stands out in its relaxed atmosphere. Employees wear t-shirts, shorts, and bring their pets to work. There are massage areas, open concept office designs, dozens of mini kitchens offering meals and snacks, and even a personally owned coffee shop. The culture at Google is projected as a place of not work, but fun, where work isn’t classified as “work”.

Google allows 20 percent of each employee’s day to be dedicated to personal matters, such as personal goals, or volunteerism. Google’s influence on the surrounding area focuses on education. Google brings over 700 high school students through their office in Pittsburgh for various educational programs. Mike, our host, has a personal goal of helping to energize new entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh, and to help start-ups gain the resources they need. Recently, Google Pittsburgh installed an entire WiFi system for a local start-up. Their involvement in surrounding Pittsburgh communities benefits their community development with their education and resource allocation offerings, but they also provide economic development with start-ups as they aid them in transitioning into influential businesses.

Because of their involvement, Google creates a more supportive stakeholder management team; their local involvement helps create a positive image for Google and can provide Google with new customers. Therefore, stakeholders have a newly developed loyalty to the company and do not interfere with Google’s innovations. Google takes a proactive stance in responding to stakeholders because it best serves their needs to remain profitable.

Google’s involvement reflects their open systems policy, and how they interact with their surrounding environment. Google, through their educational and volunteerism policies, give applied authorities to their employees and promote open system decisions. By empowering their employees and their local communities, Google is empowering themselves.

We concluded the day today with Guest Speaker Dr. Atkin, the author of our textbook, Managing in Complex Environments. Dr. Atkin was energetic, and was a very interactive professor, taking us through his perspective of management theory, specifically within chapter three. Dr. Atkin is knowledgeable and provided a simplistic model by looking at the industry, and how Porter’s 5 forces influence each industry. It was an enjoyable class and I look forward to talking to him again soon.