Human Resources Management
Culture and Team Work: IKEA Versus Google

Introduction

Groups or teams are essential elements of organization. In a group or teams, people work together for the attainment of a specific goals or missions defined by the senior management in an organization. There are many factors affecting the team work and organizational performance, among them include the cohesiveness of team, organizational culture, organizational values, leadership, and human resources practices being implemented (Robbins, 2005). In this article, two organizations are discussed. The team work structure, organization culture, as well as these two organizations will be discussed. The two selected organization are IKEA and Google. After considering the team work and culture of the organization, it is argued that the author is more suitable to join Google, as the author has more similar values with the organizational values and culture at Google.

Culture and Team Work in IKEA

In IKEA’s website, it is stated that some of the workers wear a yellow shirt, while other don’t. Such a statement indicates that there are many types of job functions in IKEA. With different job function, the different job scope, duties, roles and responsibilities of the particular job position is to be expected. People may think that working in IKEA means wearing a yellow shirt in the IKEA stores to serve the customers, but that may be misleading. There are many different types of roles to be played by the different employees in IKEA, to work together in a team, towards success and stated mission of IKEA. As such, it can be understood that in the website, IKEA is trying to communicate that there are simply different job functions opr position in the organization available for applications for the potential and interested candidates to join IKEA.

The different job scope of the different work areas can be furthered witnessed from the way IKEA describe the 12 different work areas. In the different working areas, different skill sets and competencies are to be expected. However, when the different work areas are combined, they collectively contribute to the success of IKEA around the world. Each of the work areas has different roles in making IKEA a highly successful company in the world.

IKEA is also conscious about if the employees working in the organization able to fit into the organization culture of IKEA. This is because it is important to ensure that the employees fit the organization culture, work style, values and working philosophies so that they agree on the direction, strategies and work practices commonly practiced in the organization. People who do not fit the organization may create troubles, or simply feel unhappy, as they may feel they are not belonged to the organization. Thus, it is not surprising that IKEA is encouraging the employees, or even potential candidates applying for jobs in IKEA to take the cultural fit quiz, to test or investigate if they able to fit the IKEA culture. This can be useful to clarify the expectations between the employees and the employers, and attract people with similar mindset to work together in IKEA to achieve the stated goals of IKEA around the world.

Career development in IKEA is largely driven by inspiration, IKEA values as well as adoption of the IKEA values for personal development. In IKEA, It can be seen that personal development is placed great importance and attention with the opportunities to proceed with better career prospects in the organization.

Overall, it can be seen that IKEA is focusing on building a cohesive team or group in the organization. Several factors contribute to such a cohesive culture in IKEA, among them include: (a) selecting only the right candidates that fit IKEA culture to work in the organization, (b) having strong culture to guide the working style and decision making in the organization, (c) educating the employees on IKEA values, and (d) choosing employees that share same values with the organization. As such, strong culture is developed in IKEA, which in turn contribute to extraordinary performance of IKEA in the marketplace.

Culture and Team Work in Google

Google is yet another organization with strong culture. It is a fast growing company in the past decades, due to its strong creativity and innovation oriented culture (Orr, 2007). It is one of the best employers of the worlds, widely respected and admired by fresh MBA graduates. Due to the great success of Google, many people would like to apply to work in the organization (Goss, 2010).

Similarly, Google has different departments and have a strong team oriented culture. People are expected to work together, sharing ideas, discussion and to tap on the creativity or best possible experience of each others in a team, to deliver new and innovative services to the customers. In fact, many researchers have been arguing that the ability to innovate, to deliver state of the art technologies, as well as to change fast under the dynamic information technology industry, is the key competitive advantage of Google.

It is not surprising to understand why creativity and innovation is essential for Google. This is because the nature of the industry structure is forcing the company to be creative and innovative for fast growth and to stay relevant in the industry.

Similarly to IKEA, it can be seem that Google is holding the recruitment or employee selection process tight. Only those that able to fit to the organizational culture will be selected (Kuntze et. al., 2010). Accordingly, people that are creative, have different ideas, dare to be different, and do not conform to the traditional constraints or assumptions are highly preferred. Such a strict employee selection process is necessary to ensure people that are selected to join the organization can thrive under the strong business culture in Google. Thus, it can be seen that the work group or team in Google is highly cohesive in nature. It is explicitly admitted by the founder of Google that they only try to choose the best candidates that able to fit the Google culture to join the company; as it is crucial to ensure people able to work together in a mutually supportive and smooth manner in problem solving, delivering of new services and innovating for the future.

The strong culture of Google is giving many benefits to the firm (McShane et. al., 2010). Among them include, extraordinary organizational performance; low employee turnover, ability to maintain innovative and relevant in the marketplace, and emerging as the industry leader in the information technology industry.

Conclusion

A review of the team work nature and culture of IKEA and Google discover that both the company has cohesive work group, and strong organizational culture and values. It is possible that both the factors contribute to the success and extraordinary performances of the respective organizations. However, the different values and organizational cultures can be witnessed. This can be due to the different demands or industry structure. For IKEA, as it is operating in a competitive, cost-conscious and price sensitive industry, efficient supply chain is crucial for the success of the organizational (Penderson, 1999). Thus, it can be seen that the company values adopted include frugality, hard working and cost savings. With such organizational values, being embraced by the many employees working together under the firm, it enables IKEA to emerge as the new cost leader winner in the furniture industry. In contrast, Google is operating in the dynamic, fast changing and challenging technological and information related industry (Shipman, 2006). Thus, a strong creativity, innovative as well as risk taking culture is necessary. Thus, it can be seen that Google is adopting a creativity and innovative oriented culture to compete effectively in the business environment.

It can be seen that it is important for job seekers to understand their personal values, if they can fit to the strong organizational culture of the different firms. For this, the author believe that he fit best into the Google culture, as he prefer to be creative, innovative and keep trying out new state of the art advancement or ventures. In contrast, the author does not fit well with the frugal and thrifty culture of IKEA, and may not agree with how other people working in the organization. Besides, the author tends to have great passion in new technologies, and have little interested on the furniture industry. Lastly, the author emphasize greatly on the flexibility of the work arrangement. In IKEA, flexible work arrangement is not something outstanding; while that is a case in Google.

Overall, it can be concluded that depending on a personal values, personalities, beliefs, passion, he should choose to work in a team or firm that have the organizational culture and team work that fit him. Different people may have different tendencies and preference, and it is up to them to analyze themselves critically; as well as to know the organization they interested to join deeply, before making the final decisions to join the firm. This is critical to ensure that they able to fit in the new organization, and work cohesively in the firm, for better self improvement and contribute to organizational success in the future.

References & Bibliography

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