Managing Xerox’s Multinational Development Center

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John Clendenin started to work with Xerox in 1983 as a productivity consultant in the parts and supply area in the U.S after completing his first-year studies at the Harvard Business School. He fully joined the company in 1984. Working with Xerox has been a great experience for him in achieving his personal career goals as well as accomplishing goals in organizational leadership. He is described as a very committed individual with a lot of motivation both on a personal and community level (Eisenstat, p10). His leadership qualities at Xerox are greatly appreciated by both the people he has been working with and those he has been serving. In his career, he has been very successful and he bears the honor of various successes and achievements that he has realized in the Xerox Company. Despite the many challenges he has met in his career, he has faced each of them with a lot of courage and this has seen him climb up his career ladder as a role model to many others. His goals are very clear and he has effortlessly fought through all obstacles to see them realized (Ibarra, p1).

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John’s objectives are directed towards being a very successful corporate officer in a Fortune 50 corporation and on the boards of several others (Eisenstat, p5). His future career aspirations bring out his interest in politics as he hopes to be appointed to a cabinet position within the government. John also has a personal interest in community work and throughout his career, he has taken the extra initiative of giving back to the community. He has been involved in a lot of community projects such as the 1988 Olympic Teams, Modern Pentathlon 1984 Olympic Teams, Center for Educational Development, Board of Directors, Governor’s School and Business Alliance, Marine Corps Reserve Officer Association among other community development projects (Ibarra, p13). Throughout his role as a manager, he also depicts a personal interest in helping his employees realize their goals and abilities outside the work environment. He has concentrated on helping others accomplish their responsibilities within the place of work and also extra-curricular activities. His main objective here has been to create teamwork of employees who are highly qualified within the workplace.

Within the business environment, John has demonstrated a very unique passion for Xerox. He has always been committed to seeing through the success of various projects within the company. His role as a manager and a leader in various positions involved the realization of various ideas and objectives for the company. His main objective for the company has been to oversee an increasing return on the assets of the company. This has been accompanied by other objectives such as coming up with other projects that helped to cut or reduce the expenditure of the company by resulting in other cheaper alternative methods (Eisenstat, p13). He has also had an objective of creating a pool of human resources that is very qualified since he believes a qualified support team would help him expand the productivity of the company. Other goals within the business environment include creating a very conducive environment for the employees. He has been very passionate about customer satisfaction since he knows that the secret of succeeding in business is ensuring that the final targets of the products who are the customers are satisfied. This has ensured that customers always come back for more and thus achieving their goals. John has also been very dedicated to building a good reputation for the company. Reputation in this case involved everything that revolved around him such as employees’ discipline and quality of service, quality of products, and business performance among others.

One of the most notable characteristics of John is his unique leadership style. He has made a very remarkable contribution to building Xerox’s human resources. John believes in working with very quality teams. He has been continuously involved in the hiring of staff himself. The most interesting feature in him is that he mostly hires individuals who have been turned away from the other sections of Xerox. According to him, his style of hiring involves identifying individuals who are intelligent and demonstrate the capability of being motivated. He also requires individuals who are caring and who can work in teams. Over time he has helped these individuals improve on their abilities and this way he has created very qualified teams for himself. His effective leadership has been demonstrated by how he helps the employees broaden their minds and becoming more responsible in their duties. His style of instilling discipline in the employees is quite friendly and clear to all. He always gives the employees chances of improvement by first giving a verbal reminder, a note written in green, and finally a note stamped with a Chinese dragon (Ibarra, p8). His leadership has been described as one of being able to create and manage tension within the workplace. John’s leadership skills also involve building trust in employees and managing conflicts within them. He has been helping the employees solve any problems between them in a very logical and understanding manner. This has helped the employees to build a lot of trust in him as a leader. Through conflict management, he has been able to maintain good relationships between the employees and this enhances teamwork within the workplace. John’s leadership skills are a source of motivation for the employees. He has developed an MDC logo which all the employees are obligated to observe. The logo which states that “The quality of your attitude is as important as the quality of your work”, helps the employees to have a positive attitude towards their duties and responsibilities. John has always been involved in creating a very positive environment and also broadening the minds and the thinking of his employees. He has been initiating performance reviews and appraisal forms for the employees at regular intervals. The performance reviews promote the culture of appreciating the work of the employees for example by awarding certificates and also his sponsorship of the golf tournaments. The appraisal forms which were filled by the employees have helped him to measure the attitudes of the employees, their results, and also identifying any problems within the teams (Eisenstat, p16).

John’s experience in working in Xerox’s company can be attributed to a lot of success both for his career and for the company. Since he started working with the company he has earned himself four promotions and a lot of job satisfaction in his career within line management. In 1983 when he first worked with Xerox, he was able to reduce the company’s over packaging aspect and this helped the company to save $300,000 per year. He also developed a strategy of direct service from the vendor ships instead of them passing through the central corporate houses. This further saved the company $2million per year (Ibarra, p1). Clendenin has made very remarkable developments in Xerox through his discoveries of multinational logistics. He has helped the Multi-National Systems Development Center to come up with multinational systems that have enabled Xerox to be more integrated with copier design. He has also developed a new strategy of naming parts differently even if the parts are the same. This means that an operating unit cannot avoid purchasing a spare part by supplementing it with excess inventory from another operating unit since they would be using different part numbers. This idea has helped to increase the volume of sales of copiers and spare parts around the world (Ibarra, p3). John has also made great contributions in increasing returns on the company assets. He has done these by implementing various changes within the MDC’s tasks. He has managed to initiate the multinational approach which had initially received a lot of resistance from the other managers. This has earned him a promotion as the director of the MDC. Having acquired this position, he was prohibited from transferring staff from the parts and supplies administration. Through various struggles, he has managed to raise the level of employees in the MDC from 4 employees to 42. He has also managed to increase its budget from $400,000 to $4 million. Within the operations of the MDC, John has also helped to discover more economical ways of completing projects. He has discovered that the MDC’s logistic system has been designed to use the programming language APL which is less expensive than using the corporate-approved computer language (COBOL). By using the APL, he has managed to increase the productivity of MDC and also the staff (Ibarra, p6). Other successes include his ability to bring up successful human resources and also the ability to give back to the community.


John should now concentrate on the application of his ideas to cut the MDC’s budget from the projected $4.3 million to $3 million. He also needs to reduce the headcount to meet the demands of his boss Hewitt. This is necessary since Hewitt has decided that he will not fund separate agreements with the different managers in the operating units. Clendenin can achieve these new objectives by consulting with other employees and come up with a new organization chart. John also needs to redefine the missions of the MDC to reflect changes within the information and the maintenance functions. As for the future of the company, John should be greatly involved in identifying a suitable successor who will be able to carry on his work within the MDC once he assumes other duties in his career. This should involve a lot of analyses of personalities whose interests are desirable for the MDC (Ibarra, p11).

Works cited

Herminia Ibarra. Managing Xerox’s Multinational Development Center (Abridged). Harvard business publishing, 1996.

Russell A. Eisenstat. John A. Clendenin. Harvard business publishing, 1990.

Russell A. Eisenstat. Managing Xerox’s Multinational Development Center. Harvard business publishing, 1993.

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