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Xerox Case Study

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Running head: Xerox CASE STUDY

Xerox Case Study

January 29, 2012

Introduction In 1960 Haloid Xerox founded Haloid Company. After a few name changes and a few years it changed its name to the Xerox Corporation in 1961("Who we are," 2011). Xerox currently operates in 161 countries with over 136,000 employees.
Xerox is currently running into a tuff scenario with a large portion of its staff preparing for retirement and the replacement staff all being a bit wet under the years. So Xerox has been considering many different methods of communication to be able to pass the knowledge between the elder members of the workforce and the newer members of the workfoce.
Communities of Practice Communities of Practice (CoP) around Xerox may be driven by technology, however without the mentors and mentees of the company; they do not have the opportunity to survive (Nikols, 2003). The members of the CoP are the people who are feeding and utilizing the information provided.
These will assist in the generation gap between the multiple generations because this creates an opportunity for Baby Boomers to learn from Gen X’ers and allows Gen X’ers to learn from the Baby Boomers. Since CoP’s are technology driven, the information that is provided by all levels of members is saved in an accessible manner that provides for future review and consideration when needed. There will come a time that the information that the Baby Boomers has provided will be needed and the Baby Boomers will not be around to be able to use as a reference. The members of the CoP can go to the references in the CoP mainframe and access the required skills and knowledge to prosper in the future.

Work Life The current work life at Xerox is one of many projects and teams amongst the different levels of management. A great way for Xerox to be able to share its knowledge and information is to ensure that the project teams have a couple of tenure employees as well as a good portion of newer employees. By immersing the newer employees in with the tenure employees, the newer employees will learn by seeing and doing. This also provides a great opportunity for newer employees to learn about the company from a different perspective. Many times when people see and hear about something from the person who performs the job on a daily basis, they are able to realize how things work and remember it more vividly in the future when they are responsible for a similar matter. Many people in today’s workforce are wired to learn by doing. Just reading about how to do something is not enough. Also, with the current work life of Xerox being as segmented as what it is, after their top Baby Boomer employees retire, it may be advantageous to request them to consult on occasion. By providing them an opportunity to share their knowledge after they have gone, it provides an opportunity for current employees to learn from them when needed and also provides the retiree a way to reflect and return to where they spent so many years.
Perceptions and Stereotypes It is heard in throughout every generation “They don’t get it” or “They have it so much easier than we did” (Hammill, 2005). Xerox can work on breaking down the stereotypes and perceptions in the workplace by proving them wrong. By allowing employees to interact across the generations the employees are able to gain knowledge, understanding and experience from each other. When employees interact across the generations, many times the corporation will prosper by having a workforce that understand and acknowledges the difference and similarities to be able to produce an optimal outcome. It is also important to ensure that employees hold the same values that the company wants to be known for. When employees all hold similar values they work and respond to each other more effectively, allowing for less conflicts and more production. It is also very important that employees understand the differences in the generations and workforce so that the generations can work positively together. If employees are not aware of the differences in different generations there is a concern for communication and the stereotypes and perceptions of each other will outweigh the facts and cause limited work to be completed.
Conclusion
Xerox is a strong company that still has a few hurdles to overcome. It is very important that they work through generation’s gap and create and understand between the generations. It will also be very advantageous for them to continue to move forward with their Communities of Practice initiative and increase the knowledge base that will be available for employees after all the Baby Boomers have retired. References
Colquitt, J. et al (2011). Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace (2 ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hammill, G. (2005). Mixing and managing four generations of employees. FDU Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm
Nikols, F. (2003). Communities of practice. Distance Consulting, Retrieved from http://www.nickols.us/CoPOverview.pdf
(2011). Who we are today?. Xerox, Retrieved from http://www.xerox.com/downloads/usa/en/x/Xerox_Fact_Sheet_Who_We_Are_Today.pdf

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