We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Culture at Microsoft

Categories Culture

Essay, Pages 7 (1572 words)



Essay, Pages 7 (1572 words)

Microsoft’s culture originated from its startup phase in the early 1980’s with Gates,Allen, and 4 programmers, which was dominated by innovation and hard work. Long hours were normal with programmers sleeping on the office floor, fueled bycases of Coke.

·Young people were respected: “it was about the only company where you could getyour own office at that stage in your career (right out of college)”.

·Bill Gates believed that everyone needs an office with a door that offered privacyand place to “sit and think”·Office complex referred to “campus” rather than “corporate park” – probably asareference to the atmosphere and high proportion of young people·Original motto was work until you drop with 14-hour days and working weekendsthe norm – although employees were passionate about the work they were doing·To maintain a small company vibe, MSFT was divided into many small teams of30-200 people.

Don't waste time.

Get a verified writer to help you with Culture at Microsoft

HIRE verified writer

$35.80 for a 2-page paper

This independence was successful, yet inefficient with teams notsharing information or ideas. Gates was the glue that coordinated the teamstogether, often through “Bill Meetings”·Despite constant pressure to perform employees felt like “we were literallychanging the world.

It was an invigorating feeling” and that managers “createdaculture where everyone felt that their excellence was material to the bottom line”


In early 1999, the top management of Microsoft Corp. undertook a comprehensive, system-wide restructuring of the company. The reorganisation was initiated by the then CEO and Chairman Bill Gates and the company president Steve Ballmer.

The primary objective of the reorganisation was to shift the focus of the company from being product-orientated.

Top writers


shield Verified writer

starstarstarstarstar 4.9 (247)

Dr. Karlyna PhD

shield Verified writer

starstarstarstarstar 4.7 (235)


shield Verified writer

starstarstarstarstar 4.7 (657)

HIRE verified writer

Gates and Ballmer called this initiative V-2 and said that the new structure was part of the “reinvention” of Microsoft. The company was reorganised into different core divisions on the basis of the target customer groups served, namely information technology managers, knowledge workers, software developers and consumers.


The Antitrust Controversy

In 1998, Microsoft became embroiled in antitrust proceedings initiated by the US government. The charges against Microsoft were that the company tried to use its vast asset base and huge cash pile to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors.

The government accused Microsoft of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 95 to force customers to purchase both products, and modifying Sun Microsystems’ Java language to make it Windows-compatible.

In December 1999, after a series of preliminary hearings and interviews, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and 19 states formally filed papers arguing that Microsoft had violated antitrust laws. (Refer Exhibit I for an overview of the antitrust rules in the US).

In early 2000, Bill Gates stepped down as the chief executive of the company, and Steve Ballmer, who was then head of sales, took over. Later that year, the district court ruled that Microsoft be spilt into two – one division to provide Operating systems, and the other for application packages…

Increasing Attrition

Till the 1990s, Microsoft had one of the lowest voluntary attrition rates in the highly volatile software industry. The attrition rate at Microsoft was about seven percent, which was approximately half the average rate in the industry.

From the mid 1980s, after its phenomenal IPO, to the late 1990s, Microsoft was the favorite destination of job seekers in the US as well as the rest of the world. Microsoft grew at a dizzy pace and quickly became one of the most powerful companies in the world…

No Challenges

Microsoft had always been characterized by a culture that was extremely competitive. Employees jokingly called it the ‘we’d better get going’ culture. When the company introduced new products to rave reviews and rocketing sales, the people responsible for the products did not meet to celebrate.

Instead, they did a post-mortem of what could have been done better. The company had always been competitor-centric, and Gates often sent out memos to employees about the competitive threats ahead. These were popularly referred to as ‘call-to-arms’ memos…

Disadvantages of Size

Another important reason for leaving was the feeling that the company had become too big. Its large size made Microsoft lose some of the elements of work culture that had made it the favorite destination of job seekers in the late 1980s.

People who left believed that size hurt Microsoft in many ways. As the company grew, the bureaucracy increased and internal politics started playing an important part in regular proceedings.

It no longer had the flexibility of a startup and it was becoming very difficult to push decisions through the system. There were five layers of management, which impeded quick decision-making…

What are the five key components of organisation development?

  • · Long term effort,
  • · Led and supported by top management,
  • · Improve vision,
  • · Learning,
  • · Collaborative management and consultant facilitator role and science

The use of a SWOT analysis in preparation for the strategic planning process:

Strengths vs Opportunities: Use internal strengths to take advantage of opportunities.

Strengths vs Threats: Use strengths to minimize threats.

Weaknesses vs Opportunities: Improve weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities.

Weaknesses vs Threats: Work to eliminate weaknesses to avoid threats.


  • · Developing company
  • · High profit margin
  • · Experienced workforce
  • · Good reputation Weaknesses (Internal)
  • · Mismanaged resources
  • · Poor/lack of Communication
  • · Demanding deadlines
  • · Poor Leadership


  • · Excellent growth prospects
  • · Improved methods in managing and executing projects
  • · Project Governance Threats (External)
  • · Losing Customers as a result of mismanaged/overextended resources
  • · Inability to sustain internal capabilities due to poor skills development
  • · Self-serving decision making

Identified problems:


1. Poor and/or lack of leadership displayed · Throughout the case study, no direction of leadership by top management is evident with regards to critical issues affecting projects and the business. Behavioural

2. Poor communication within organization · No formal way of communication is evident and available information is not communicated to all parties in any form. Jeff for instance is not aware of the fact that Julie is not handling the Good old Company project, nor has this been communicated with him. Behavioural

3. Poor policies and procedures within organization. · No clear/defined policies and procedures are existent which guides the employees in doing their business. Jeff’s way of resourcing his project would have been very different is policies and procedures have been in place. Instead, he operates on his own accord and manner in resourcing his project.

· No Ethics within the company as Jeff assured the other clients that he’ll bring Tyler on board for their project, without him even consulting with his program manager & Tyler’s line manger to make sure that they are quite aware of the clients demand on hand so they can formulate a contingency plan. Structural


4. Matrix type organisational structure not functioning (Not well managed) · Various shortfalls within the organization described in the problems listed herein should not be present with a proper functioning matrix type structure, the very reason this type of structure has been developed. Resourcing, prioritizing of projects, skill transfer, etc. would have been addressed by a proper functioning matrix type structure. Behavioural

5. Poor project planning and control

  • · Unacceptable interval of project/staff meetings monthly whilst the average project’s duration is six (6) months demonstrated poor control.
  • · Poor planning is evident as resources are not consulted during the planning phase. Tyler did not involve Jennifer in the project proposal to Growing Company. Operational

5. Poor project planning and control

  • · Unacceptable interval of project/staff meetings monthly whilst the average project’s duration is six (6) months demonstrated poor control.
  • · Poor planning is evident as resources are not consulted during the planning phase. Tyler did not involve Jennifer in the project proposal to Growing Company. Operational


6. Dysfunctional behaviour displayed · Various instances of dysfunctional behaviour are displayed by staff, e.g. Jennifer’s apparent lack of communication with Tyler and her inability to allocate resources within her department; and Jeff’s bombastic ways in resourcing his projects. Behavioural

7. Lack of skilled resources · Evident by the fact that Tyler appears to be the only good resource within the Systems Engineering division. Structural

8. Lack of skills transfer within organization. · Had Tyler transferred his knowledge and skills within the organization and specifically his department more skilled resources would have been available for other projects. Operational

9. Poor teamwork and lack of cohesion · No teamwork characteristics are displayed by any of the staff. Each one’s personal agenda is pursued as opposed to common goals and objectives. Jeff only wants resources for his project regardless of the impact thereof on other projects. There’s no synergy within the organisation as they all want one can’t sit and try to resolve or come up with a solution. Behavioural


10. Lack of customer service and focus · Multi Projects never followed up the proposal send to Growing Corporation and were surprised when they received a call from them informing them the project is going ahead. They should have actively followed up on the proposal send. Behavioural

11. Capacity problems within certain divisions · Evident in the Systems Engineering division which battles with coping with 2 projects. Many projects are undertaken by Multi Projects at any given time. Structural

12. No evidence of a program office in structure · The program office is responsible for programme management. This function would have addressed all the problems on prioritizing of projects, resources, etc. of which there are no evidence. Operational

Cite this essay

Culture at Microsoft. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/culture-at-microsoft-essay

Stay safe, stay original

It’s fast
It’s safe
check your essay for plagiarism

Not Finding What You Need?

Search for essay samples now


Your Answer is very helpful for Us
Thank you a lot!