Xerox Corporation

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HR woes at Xerox

Xerox Corporation is an international document management company. It deals with the manufacturing and selling of a range of printers, photocopiers, multifunction systems, digital production printing presses, and consulting services which are related to these products. It has it's headquarter in Norwalk, Connecticut. Bulk of the employees is based in Rochester, New York (Xerox, 2009).

Xerox Corporation has recorded huge losses in the recent past with its turn over rates being so high. It has more than 90,000 employees and was a Company which dominated the market for a long time in the line of its goods. The recent downfall of the performance of Xerox can be attributed to some malpractices which have been going on for a long time. Corporate giants take time to reverse their performance either way. Bad business ethics and survival techniques over the past approximately two decades are sinking the corporation and it will take time for the corporation to rise to the occasion (Grossman, 2001).

Back in 1990 when Allaire took the CEO office from Kearns changes in policies were made. It should be noted that under Kearns' tenure the corporation was on a smooth ride in the market. The entry of Allaire saw the exit of vital personalities from the corporation. One such notable figure was Reid, the top HR executive then. Reid had worked at the company for 27 years and no doubt he had a rich experience in that line of business and was big asset to the corporation. His exit left the corporation in a bad situation especially the human resource department (Grossman, 2001).

William F. Buehler (before in AT&T) replaced Reid. At AT&T Buehler served at the sales and marketing department and his entry to the HR position made the HR professionals at Xerox feel that the office had been compromised. He was considered as affable and earnest but there was a general feeling that he lacked the resources the job needed and that his background experience was not rich enough for that office. This again saw the exit of a number of HR executives who were not satisfied with that hiring. These executives were influential in nursing the Xerox culture which fostered the involvement of employees (Grossman, 2001).

The HR department had lost most of its veterans. There was a drift away from the early policies of employee voice to being a department which only implemented the management policies. What results out of this is a dissatisfaction of the employees setting a company on a sure road to its decline. This I believe was the start and root cause of the decline of Xerox Corporation (Grossman 2001). The other reasons include;

Promotional flaws

There are claims that the promotion procedures in the early1990 were compromised. A task entitled to groom and develop new talents came up with a succession plan which was applauded by many. The plan involved the gathering of background information on the performance of senior mangers. This information was to be discussed with the president and promotion was expected to be executed accordingly, unfortunately this was never the case. Pacetta (a former Xerox salesman) says this concerning the policy-practice gap, “Xerox's written personnel policies are as good as any around but are not followed consistently”. He farther claims that the corporation never sticks to its policies. This can be a big boost to demoralizing employees who deserved to be awarded and are not and as result they will not exude their best in the execution of heir duties. This sets the pace for the downfall of a company as it does not take care of its employees and encourages mediocre promotions and employees and who are not able to deliver (Grossman, 2001).

Not appreciating the talent

Human capital does not take the top priority at Xerox as compared to before. The employees seem to be doing just what is required to be competitive. With this kind of trend it is not possible to reap the benefits of great talents and those who are talented are likely to move to other places where their talents can earn them better wages and commissions. It must be appreciated that this kind of trend deprives a corporation of talented salesmen who are an asset to a business in the long run. Larson an employee of Xerox till 1992 when he moved over to Deloitte said this, “Everyone was out there trying to increase their revenues. At Xerox, unless there's a crisis in the organization, as long as the stock prices are acceptable, it doesn't move very fast” (Grossman, 2001).

Lapses in fiscal controls

With the entry of Thoman to Xerox serious lapses in fiscal controls of the corporation came to his notice. There was no measurement income per employee and currency fluctuations (Brazilian) were not taken care of. Xerox's new products (digital) were less profitable as compared to the replaced ones (analog) (Grossman 2001). According to David (2002), the 1990s was a hard time financially. Companies were under pressure to meet Wall Street's earnings estimates. In order to meet the estimates the Xerox Corporation engaged in improper accounting practices. These practices hid the challenges faced by Xerox Corporation and instead showed a corporation which made profits (David et al, 2002). The effects of these fiscal malpractices are responsible for bringing the Corporation down.

Internal challenges

The efforts of Thoman to turn around the Corporation were underscored by his senior executive team (Mulcahy, Buehler and Romeril) who at times never carried out his instructions during the reorganizing of the sales. There are claims that these same officers expressed much dissatisfaction to Allaire. Jim W. Lundy who for 15 years worked for Xerox testifies that the efforts of Thoman were constantly undermined by his managers (Grossman, 2001).


Xerox Corporation will need major changes to turn round. These changes should be mainly in the HR department. There is an urgent need to reenergize the HR department and boost the employee loyalty in order to turn down the turn over rates. In doing this employee morale is the key to making these changes. The employees need to be reassured of the commitment of the senior management. Competent people need to be brought in and given full authority to operate independently. The employees need to be involved in the decision making by seeking their opinions. This way they will feel cared for and appreciated and as result they will own the corporation. Competitive schemes for the salesmen need to be schemed. This will encourage them to work more hard so as to earn more and in the process will end up boosting the Corporation (Pynes, 2004).

The lapses in fiscal controls should be addressed to avoid tainting the Corporation name (David et al 2002) and payment of unnecessary fines. The influence of the some board members need to be lessened and the senior officers allowed to do what they think is right.


David et al. (2002). Xerox corporation. Retrieved on September 1, 2009 from:

Grossman, R. (2001). HR woes at Xerox. Society for human resource management. Vol.46 (5), 1-8.

Xerox. (2009). Xerox. Retrieved on September 1, 2009 from:

Pynes, J. (2004). Human Resources Management for public and nonprofit organizations. New York, NY: Wiley, John & Sons.

Xerox. (1997). Xerox corporation. Retrieved on September 1 2009 from: