Rising Google Stock Prices Led Googlers to Be Wary of Innovation

(p. 156) . . . Googlers were affected by stock ownership. (They were, after all, human.) Bo Cowgill, a Google statistician, did a series of studies of his colleagues’ behavior, based on their participation in a “prediction market,” a setup that allowed them to make bets on the success of internal projects. He discovered that “daily stock price movements affect the mood, effort level and decision-making of employees.” As you’d expect, increases in stock performance made people happier and more optimistic– but they also led them to regard innovative ideas more warily, indicating that as Googlers became richer, they became more conservative. That was exactly the downside of the IPO that the founders had dreaded.

Source:
Levy, Steven. In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
(Note: ellipsis added; italics in original.)

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