Leadership Styles of the 21st Century A Case Study of Google C.E.O Larry Page


Leadership Styles of the 21st Century: A Case Study ofGoogle C.E.O Larry Page

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Leadership Styles of the 21st Century: A case study ofGoogle C.E.O Larry Page

Globalizationhas brought about so many changes in terms of technology, culture andsocial-economic, all of which have greatly affected the manner inwhich leaders lead their organizations in the 21stcentury. Theincreased competition among organization has forced leaders to adoptleadership strategies, which ensure their survival and success in theavailable markets. In addition, leadershiptheories have also changed their focus from addressing individualleaders towards the development of leadership as a collectiveprocess. In this regards, the discourse will highlight the leadershipqualities of Larry Page as well as provide an assessment on hisleadership styles, strengths, and weaknesses.


Larry Page believes in innovation, and his leadership style ischaracterized by creation of solutions for almost about everyorganizational challenge. While leading the rest of the Googleemployees, he urges them to believe in coming up with out of theordinary solutions to everyday challenges at the organization (Vise,2007). He believes in motivating the employees to come up with thesesolutions, saying that (they could really change the world).Additionally, to have an active management approach at Google, Larrymakes swift decisions. For instance, he asks his staff to come upwith 60 word updates for their current projects so that he can besquarely involved in them, and at the same time, help withefficiency.

Accordingto Olanoff (2013), Larry’s philosophy can be summed up with thequote “We should be building great things that don’t exist”.Larry often believes that his organization should not pay muchattention to the competitors and what they are developing, instead,try to stay a step ahead by working on new ideas. Despite the factthat Google is an Information Technology Company, the C.E.O urges thestaff to think beyond just providing software solutions to theindustry, and think about other things like logistics development.

Larry’sleadership style aligns with the organizational culture, as he hasrallied the entire staff to be behind his ideology, regardless of hismedical condition. Google is renowned for its innovative products andsolutions to technology. For instance, it is the world’s largestsearch engine, and provides real-time earth survey pictures to itsclients. This is a demonstration that the CEO has managed to blendthe organizational culture with his leadership style, which iscentered on innovation and creativity. According to Nisen (2013),Google has never behaved like any other companies, even itscompetitors. Nisen also says that Google’s organizational culturehas the approach of not focusing on industry competition, rathertransformation of products and services.

Personaland Organizational Values

Larry Page’s personal values are philanthropy, education,perseverance. Larry page is well known for his believe in givingmoney to charitable organizations and other organizations for thegood of humanity. On several occasions, he has donated millions ofdollars to courses such as child care, disaster relief and communitybuilding. He also has a belief that charity is not for profit, but ashow of humanity. Larry also values education. He has on manyoccasions given accounts of how his father took them to technologygigs around the United States and urged them to work hard in theirstudies to emulate the leaders in technology (Oke, Munshi &ampWalumbwa, 2009). His philanthropy and educational values areassociated, as he has donated millions of dollars to supportscholarships, improve schools and support needy students.

LarryPage’s other significant leadership value is perseverance. In hisautobiography, White (2007) says that Larry page took over fiveyears, together with his partner, to build a search engine that wouldserve the purpose they had intended it to. This was particularly achallenge as Google was the first search engine to be used by thepublic in large magnitudes. After writing and re-writing the engine’scodes, the founders finally came up with a final product that didwhat they had intended it to do. Additionally, while adding value tothe search engine, Larry spent several years conceptualizing ideasand putting them on board. For instance, he developed Google mapsfrom scratch, and after years of development, he added the StreetView feature onto it. Such perseverance characterizes his leadershipvalues.

Larry Page’s organizational values are open mindedness anddecision-making. He always encourages the staff to come up with“crazy ideas”, which may make the difference between failure andsuccess (White, 2007). He also encourages the management andemployees always are alert and conscious whenever they are solvingany challenges. While at it, he advocates for flexibility andstrategic approach to organizational issues, which often reduce therisk of misunderstanding at work.

AtGoogle, Larry Page advocates for quick and accurate decision-making.This organizational value is very important for large companies likeGoogle, given that some top management officers may sit around for upto weeks without making crucial decisions touching on theorganizational operations, often counting upon the junior staff to dosuch work. This is why Larry is always encouraging his colleagues tobuild an attitude towards swift and effective decision-making.

Influenceof Personal Values on Ethical Behavior on the Organization

According to Selznick (2011), a leader’s personal values have agreat influence on the ethical behavior of the entire organization.This is because the leader is a reflection of the moral and ethicalvalues that are held by that particular organization. At Google,Larry Page’s personal values have greatly influenced theorganization’s employees’ ethical conduct. Larry always insiststhat all the employees conduct themselves in a manner that theircharacters reflect the ethical standards of the institute. One of theoutstanding characteristics of Larry’s personal values is that heis quick and concise in all aspects of management (White, 2007). Forinstance, when the company is about to make major market and businessdecisions, he is always on the move to get facts and value them out,with the aim of making informed decisions. This has set a culture ofconfidence in the management of the organization from the employees,as they believe that any problem will be approached with maximumprofessionalism.

As such, the employees themselves are compelled to be quick andproductive in all their undertakings, not taking anything to chance.Additionally, this has set the culture of honesty in operations, asthe employees look to emulate the management. According to theprinciples of Larry’s personal values, there is no room fordishonesty, mischief or misconduct in the organization. The employeesare well aware of the repercussion of the same to their person and tothe organization at large. As such, an atmosphere of professionalismand integrity has been created at Google.

Strengthsand Weaknesses

Larry Page’s main strengths are team work/team building,persistence and openness. While Google was still in its developmentstages in the late 1990s, Larry was personally involved in thecontracting and employment of new personnel. This is because he isgood at identifying the right people for the right job, and has theability of bringing people of different abilities together andintegrating them into a single unit. Additionally, Larry knows how tobring the best out of everyone, regardless of their weaknesses, topart of a strong team that can deliver on its promises. Secondly,Larry believes that every employee has a room for personalimprovement, and that the entire organization has the ability toexpand its capacities and delivery. Larry’ third strength ispersistent in all his engagements. He does not easily give up on anyof his ambitions, regardless of the challenges that he faces. This isthe reason why his company took him over 6 years to conceptualize andbuild.

LarryPage has a number of leadership weaknesses too. First, Larry Page’sleadership style can be described as “transformational leadership”.This is a kind of leadership style where the leaders know what isgoing to make their companies succeed in their respective industries,and always challenge the status quo by introducing new organizationaloperations approaches. The major weakness with this kind ofleadership is that the leaders can conflict easily with people whoresist change. According to some of Google’s employees, Larry is anunpretentious and rude person, who finds it hard to interact withpeople (Carlson, 2011). His third weakness is that he fails topromote a communication culture at Google. This has been blamed forGoogle’s past failures in the stock market. The management failedto communicate effectively with the investors, leading to somestakeholders withdrawing their investments.

Changesfor Improvement

Larry needs to improve on his communication skills, especiallypromoting communication between the management, employees and thestakeholders. According to Selznick (2011), communication is key toorganizational development, and every organization has to ensure thatall communication mechanisms are well catered for. Communication alsopromotes employee relationships. Additionally, lack of goodcommunication channels at the company are the single most significantcauses of organizational failure.

HowCommunication and Collaboration, Power and Politics Influence Group

De Board (2014) says that group dynamics are the behavior andattitudes of a group. Communication is one of the processes thatinfluence group dynamics. Through communication and collaboration,group dynamics can be significantly improved. Ways of promotingcommunication and collaboration include holding regular meetings,training members and carrying out workshops. At the same time, powerand politics influence group dynamics. This is because the staff’sattitude towards those in management depends on how the latter treatsthe former. Additionally, political affiliations within theorganization are dependent on group dynamics. De Board (2014) saysthat for every organization, different members will always havedifferent behaviors and attitudes towards one another.


Carlson, N. (24 January 2011). Googlers Say Larry Page is a “Rude”“Egomaniacal” Jerk,” Who is an “Intellectual HonestVisionary”. Business Insider. Retrieved from:http://www.businessinsider.com/larry-page-management-secrets-2013-1.

De Board, R.(2014).&nbspThePsychoanalysis of Organizations Classic Edition: A PsychoanalyticApproach to Behavior in Groups and Organizations.Routledge.

Nisen, M. (18 January 2013). Google’s Larry Page Talks about HisManagement Philosophy Business Insider. Retrieved from:http://www.businessinsider.com/larry-page-management-secrets-2013-1.

Oke, A.,Munshi, N. &amp Walumbwa, F. O. (2009). “The influence ofleadership on innovation processes and activities”,&nbspOrganizationalDynamics,&nbsp38(1),64-72.

Olanoff, D. (2013). Google CEO Larry Page Shares His Philosophy atI/O: “We Should Be Building Great Things that don’t exist”. Retrieved from:http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/15/google-ceo-larry-page-takes-the-stage-at-ceo-to-wrap-up-the-io-keynote/.

Selznick, P.(2011).&nbspLeadershipin administration: A sociological interpretation,Quid Pro Books.

Vise, D.(2007). The Google story. StrategicDirection,&nbsp23(10).

White, C.(2007).&nbspSergeyBrin and Larry Page: The Founders of Google.The Rosen Publishing Group.