Xerox Case Study

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Problem Summary
John Clendenin is at a career crossroads. While he has achieved swift advancement in a relatively short amount of time at Xerox, he is now faced with role options that appear, prima facie, to be lateral in nature. Clendenin's boss, Fred Hewitt has made two clear offers to Clendenin: remain as head of Xerox's Multinational Development Center (MDC) with a two-year commitment, or transition to a staff support position on Hewitt's staff. While Clendenin's success and ascension at Xerox is attributed to his role at the MDC, an additional two-year commitment is certainly not an advancement in role or position at Xerox. Clendenin also has to deal with the current pressure from Hewitt to cut MDC budget and headcount substantially. Taking the staff opportunity with Hewitt, is a clear change in role – but is it aligned with Clendenin's ultimate career objectives? Based on Clendenin's history and success at Xerox, is there equity in relation to what he's done and what he is now being offered? Do the job characteristics for this new role meet his needs for personal and career growth – and do the characteristics align with Clendenin's natural skill-set? Clendenin has set clear, defined career goals and objectives for himself. He intends "to be successful enough to be a corporate officer in a Fortune 50 corporation and on the boards of several others, and eventually to be appointed to a cabinet-level position in our government." Clendenin must now examine how these options may align to his career goals. Analysis

John Clendenin is something of paradox. In terms of cultural alignment, John's past experience and current success at Xerox would suggest that there is a high level of alignment between John's working style and the culture at Xerox. In reciting his rejection of more lucrative offers in other industries, John states that "[he] felt very comfortable. The corporate culture of Xerox is in many ways the same as the Marine Corps. There is a definite way of doing and an order to things that is often explicit." While John may have a level of experiential comfort based on his Marine background – his history at Xerox is more indicative of a boat-rocker, rather than as one who toes the military line. Upon his arrival at Xerox, John was immediately "making waves with guys with long-term logistics experience at Xerox." John was anything but risk-averse – and the risks he took produced remarkable results. John's MO of shaking things up, taking risks and finding alternative methods to accomplish tasks was in stark contrast to the Xerox culture of following protocol and status quo. A danger to Clendenin's counter-culture approach to management at Xerox was the relationship health with co-workers who were long-term Xerox employees or were more entrenched in the traditional Xerox way of doing things. While Clendenin may not have appeased everyone, he did show the ability to maintain inclusivity and cooperation with those who he was either leapfrogging or with whom his work style differed. For example, early in his Xerox career, John was given management duty over 20-year veteran Tom Gunning. Applying a management style that emphasized empowerment, loyalty and cooperation – Clendenin successfully built a working and personal relationship with Gunning – something that was absolutely necessary for Clendenin to exact change via the MDC while maintaining unity within the MDC. Clendenin's success in building and growing the MDC (formerly MSDC) and in positioning the MDC to influence Xerox efficiency in logistics and return is attributed to his development of a differentiated, counter-culture within the MDC. By example and management style, Clendenin established a guiding vision for the MDC that informed and enabled the groups strategic direction and subsequently determined how the group behaved. The resulting sub-culture in the MDC was in stark contrast to the Xerox culture outside of the MDC. Clendenin's guiding vision espoused...
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