An assessment of Larry Page and his leadership at Google Inc (M10BSS)


An assessment of Larry Page and his leadership at Google Inc (M10BSS)

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Case background

Assignment 4

1. Take your leader(ship) and organisation from assignment 2 and 3.

2. If you were to study this leader/organisation empirically, how would you

  • measure leadership?
  • measure efficiency of leadership?
  • measure performance of leadership?

3. Answer the following question: What has your leader factually contributed to the performance of his/her organisation?

4. How would your opinion on leadership (from assignment 1) have changed the performance of your leader’s organisation?


Contributing to the ease of measuring leadership performance are the leadership functions that transcend the limits of motivational and pro-quid leaders behaviours. Such functions are referred to by Antonakis and House (2014) as instrumental leadership functions. Service (2009) points out that due to the indefinite and intangible nature of leadership, researchers have found it difficult to offer standard ways for measuring effectiveness of leadership. In his view, Service (2009) believes that whatever method is used to measure leadership should aim at improving its effectiveness. As such, this essay, using the case of Google Inc and its chief executive officer, Larry Page and borrowing from leadership theories, intends to measure leadership performance and effectiveness.

Measuring leadership

In order to measure leadership, I would use the concept of authentic leadership. In definition, authentic leadership means leadership developed over a period of time and is founded on genuine intrapersonal traits as opposed to accorded position in firms. As such, good leadership, also in view of the authentic leadership concept, is endorsed by fellow leaders and followers. a case example of Google Inc, managers are vouched for by fellow employees. Therefore, in order to measure the leadership in general, I would rely on the feedback of employees under the particular leader.

Measuring performance

In regard to measurement of performance of leadership, I would use the concept of comparing how well goals are attained and the time taken versus the time set to complete such goals. Essentially, for every project done at Google, there are expected completion times and levels of satisfaction. Thusly, good performance would mean that the projects are completed within the time-limits and the level of the work done is satisfactory. However, to ensure completion of tasks yields the best indicator for leadership, it is imperative to monitor the clarity in the tasks themselves in terms of offered instructions and possibility of accomplishment.

Measuring efficiency

Lastly, since efficiency means the degree to which quality is exercised, I would use the contingent theory to measure leadership efficiency. According to Ghofar and Islam (2014), the contingency theory is a leader-match theory, that is, it tries to establish a link between the style of leadership in use and the situational factors surrounding the leadership. Northouse (2010) notes that this theory uses the least preferred co-worker (LPC) scale to measure between leadership styles. Under LPC there are two styles that Chitale, Dubey and Mohanty (2012) elaborates as task-oriented and relationship-oriented. Situational variables are measure using the following three factors, that is, leader-member relations, task structure and position power.

A contingency model for leadership

Figure 1: Contingency model for leadership (Northouse, 2010)

Measuring leadership at Google Inc using the contingency model

For starters, in terms of the leadership style adopted at Google, Larry page is a relationship-oriented leader though note entirely as he strikes a balance with task orientation. For example, he has transformed Google into an ultramodern workplace by offering intrinsic and extrinsic motivations such as financial bonuses, free food, and healthcare among other benefits (Casserly, 2012). Using situational variables, Larry page appears as a leader that commands a high degree of respect, trust and liking from his subordinates given some have continued to work in the firm just to be under his leadership (Elmer, 2011).  He has good leader-member relations as well as strong position power attributing to the fact that he is the CEO and owns part of the firm.. Google also scores high in terms of task structure. The firm undertakes numerous projects that may seem indefinite but teamwork is advocated for and supervisors and their juniors interact freely without position-based barriers to communication.

The contribution of Larry Page to Google Inc

Arguably the success of Google Inc can be traced back to Larry Page. The contributions of Larry Page to the firm starts with him, alongside Brin Sergey, being the founder of Google Inc. According to (Google, 2015b), Page’s passion for technology all along led him to paths that eventually saw the inception of Google. As Shaughnessy (2011) posits, Larry Page is a systemic innovator, that is, a believer in the need to undertake transformational tasks and lengthy research in a bid to change the world for the better. Such an attribute has helped shape the culture of innovation at Google Inc. to further enhance this culture is the capacity that Larry Page has to see the big picture. Shaughnessy (2011) explains that Larry page possesses a unique perspective of the world of innovation and understands the need of continuous research and application of finished projects in gearing up the society. Thusly, as a CEO he has the capacity to steer the firm towards a specific strategic direction.

Opinions on leadership from assignment 1 and how they would change performance of Google Inc

The essay on assignment identified the perfect leader as that person that can offer a specific direction to a firm and then offer motivation and inspiration for everyone else towards such a direction. Further the essay defined leadership in light of various sources of leadership powers such as referent, expert, legitimate, rewards and coercive and inborn characteristics. Undeniably, Larry Page possesses the above mentioned leadership powers. He has created a great system of inspiring and motivating employees and creating an innovative culture which is a fundamental need at Google. Thusly, the application of opinions on leadership in assignment one is already observable at Google and continued application can only serve to strengthen aspects that are already in place.


Antonakis, J. and House, R. (2014) ‘Instrumental leadership: Measurement and extension of transformational and transactional leadership theory’, The Leadership Quarterly, 25(4), pp.746-771.

Carlson, N. and Dickey, M. (2012) 12 Quotes That Reveal How Larry Page Built Google Into The World’s Most Important Internet Company (Online) Business Insider. Available at: (Accessed 13 Feb. 2015).

Casserly, M. (2012) Here’s What Happens To Google Employees When They Die (Online) Forbes. Available at: (Accessed 13 Feb. 2015).

Chitale, A., Dubey, N. and Mohanty, R. (2012) Organizational Behaviour: Text and Cases. New Dlehi, India: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Elmer, V. (2011) What would Larry Page do? Leadership lessons from Google’s doyen (Online) Fortune. Available at: (Accessed 13 Feb. 2015).

Ghofar, A. and Islam, S. (2014) Corporate governance and contingency theory. Cham [u.a.]: Springer.

Google Inc, (2015) Lawrence Page – Research at Google (Online) Available at: (Accessed 13 Feb. 2015).

Northouse, P. ed., (2010) Leadership: Theory and Practice. 1st ed. London , UK: Sage Publications.

Service,, R. (2009) ‘The Leadership Quotient: Measuring toward Improve’, Business Renaissance Quarterly, 4(1), pp.125-157.

Shaughnessy, H. (2011) Google’s CEO Larry Page on Innovation (Online) Forbes. Available at: (Accessed 13 Feb. 2015).

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