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Problem Summary

A retired marine, John Clendenin has been working for Xerox for five years. He received four promotions since he began at Xerox and is currently the head of the Multinational Development Center (MDC), which is credited with saving Xerox millions of dollars a year. He led the department expansion from four employees to forty-two and increased its budget from four hundred thousand to four million dollars.

Clendenin now must make a decision regarding his future with Xerox. He is faced with a career choice that on paper appears to neither move him closer to his professional goals of advancement due to the lateral shift of responsibilities, nor allow him to continue to lead his team with the same style that has been the backbone of his success thus far because of imposed resource cuts and departmental redefinition. Clendenin is not sure whether a lateral move within the company would be a step in the right direction as it could signal stagnant development for him within Xerox; remaining in the same position could also sabotage his personal development goals. Could it be that Xerox is trying to push him out or that Xerox hopes to groom him for advancement in the future with the offer he has been given?

The career of Clendenin at Xerox has been full of successes. He easily stepped into a managerial role after twelve years in the Marines and built his department with loyal and hard working staff who were labeled 'misfits' from other units across Xerox. Clendenin created a strong team that has a very powerful sub-culture within the company with his charismatic and visionary leadership style. Through a redefinition of the MDC's tasks and an increased multinational focus he saw a means to contribute to the CEO's goals of increasing the company's assets.

To build his department, Clendenin leveraged his relationships with senior managers by utilizing the reverent power that he had established within Xerox. A strategic plan was created to develop the MDC. It included decision-making committees composed of high-level managers who identified opportunities that Clendenin and his staff were able to complete less expensively than individual units could themselves. These savings were passed onto the MDC allowing it to increase its staff and thus the number of opportunities they could address. Many times these opportunities were outside the realm of computer systems development work and Clendenin knew how to correctly adjust his leadership to continue to grow the MDC amidst concerned and skeptical senior managers.

As the senior leadership changed, the priorities and strategy of the decision-making committees did too. New committee chair and vice president Fred Hewitt redefined how the new logistics and asset management organization would operate and the MDC was charged with returning to an information systems and maintenance group. This included cutting staff, cutting the budget, and limiting the future growth of the MDC to information systems only.


John Clendenin has been labeled a "rogue" within Xerox. With a vision of a truly global organization, he took on the development of the MDC despite criticism and resistance. He created a department with a very unique subculture that did not run parallel to that of the greater Xerox culture and managed this culture to deliver excellent results.

Clendenin knew how to create and sustain a powerful culture. From nothing, he created clear expectations, recognition systems, 'green dragons,' and a powerful motto that rallied his employees behind a common goal, improved their performance, and shaped their behavior. Organizational priorities were focused on by all members of the department because their norms and values were clear, consistent, and comprehensive. His staff was the only ones that wore matching hats to company picnics. Their performance review system was unique. They had an internal logo and slogan, and everyone knew what messages in green ink meant. This did not match the practices of Xerox and senior leadership noticed, some with appreciation, others with concern.

With a strong subculture in place, Clendenin's staff could focus on cost-saving strategies for Xerox through the development of more than just computer systems support. They coordinated a wide variety of projects that contributed to the more efficient use of corporate assets. A global perspective was a difficult sell as many managers argued that charity begins at home and that the MDC's focus should remain in US operations.

Clendenin has very little expert power within



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(2011, 03). Xerox. Retrieved 03, 2011, from

"Xerox" 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 <>.

"Xerox.", 03 2011. Web. 03 2011. <>.

"Xerox." 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011.