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Systems Infrastructure at Google (B)

Posted: 2 Jun 2010  

Linda A. Hill

Harvard Business School

Emily Stecker

Harvard Business School

Date Written: March 4, 2010

Abstract

This case is a thick description of how a Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, Bill Coughran, leads a high-performing engineering organization. The case focuses specifically on Coughran's use of encouraging two teams of engineers to develop competing solutions for application storage systems. It also shows how Coughran assembled an informal brain trust of managers and technical leaders that assist him in leading his 2,000-person organization. This case will be relevant for those interested in what it takes to lead for sustained innovation, particularly of knowledge workers like engineers. It also sheds light on how to develop leaders in engineering organizations.

Suggested Citation

Hill, Linda A. and Stecker, Emily, Systems Infrastructure at Google (B) (March 4, 2010). HBS Case No. 410-111; Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1619331

Linda A. Hill (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Emily Stecker

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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