Ursula Burns in February Essay

Pages: 4 (1221 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

1). Burns also learned the importance of taking the ego out of important decisions by planting an idea and allowing a follower/subordinate to run with it. By "giving people credit for ideas that they didn't have, but you sold to them" will "give them ownership," (Bryant, 2010, p. 1). Burns knows the need to build "followership," which corresponds to situational leadership theory.

Burns certainly has the formal power as CEO to run Xerox. In terms of bases of power, Burns does not use coercive power to intimidate others into performing according to company standards. Burns also does not pander to petty extrinsic reward schemes that might create a false sense of collaboration in the workplace. Instead, Burns opts for legitimate power. With the formal authority to lead the company, Burns also obtains the power that has been legitimized by 31 years of familiarity with the company. The Xerox Corporation helped to pay for Burns' graduate degree, engendering a mutual sense of trust between the current CEO and the organization as an entity. Therefore, Burns possesses a personal power that is based both on her expertise as a Xerox employee and engineer; and on her referent power that commands organic respect and admiration from employees. Xerox also depends on Ursula Burns, especially because of the CEO's commanding vision of where the company is headed. The creation of dependency on Burns for enacting the vision she created for the new Xerox is crucial for Burns to remain an effective leader.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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In terms of sheer managerial effectiveness, Burns possesses the technical know-how, the people skills, and the conceptual skills in order to effectively run the Xerox Corporation. Burns manages over 100,000 employees at Xerox. Although she might not mentor or work directly with the majority of Xerox personnel, the organizational culture and climate Burns creates has an immediate impact on the daily lives of all employees. By engaging in frank, straightforward, and sometimes brutally honest communications, Burns avoids unhealthy organizational behavior that could damage the company's reputation. Communication is central to Burns's leadership philosophy, which is not necessarily confined to any one style but instead amalgamates the best of many. Burns may not be a charismatic leader like Richard Branson, and yet she commands as much appreciation and respect within the Xerox Corporation. With the possible exception of her innate outspokenness, Burns does not act in any sort of unconventional manner. She is a rather traditional leader, yet one that possesses a natural sense of transformational empowerment.

Burns's leadership success is partly situational, too. Her steady rise to the commanding post of Xerox shows that her vision was bred of experience rather than intuition about what the company needs. Burns also avoided some of the pitfalls of becoming entrenched in an anachronistic organizational culture. Someone who has been an employee of the same company for more than three decades might have the tendency to become regimented and stuck; Burns was not. As a type of transformational leader, Burns demonstrates an inspirational way of motivating employees by expressing relatively simple ideas in ways that are easily understandable. Anything requiring clarification demands the input of self-empowered employees unafraid to ask questions or offer suggestions. The organizational culture Burns has created at Xerox fosters mutual empowerment over personal ego. As Burns continues her tenure at Xerox, it is inevitable that her strengths in terms of mentoring and coaching her successor will soon emerge.


Bryant, A. (2010). Xerox's new chief tries to redefine its culture. New York Times. Feb 20, 2010. Retrieved online: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/business/21xerox.html?pagewanted=all

McGirt, E. (2011). Fresh copy: how Ursula Burns reinvented Xerox. Fast Company. Nov 19, 2011.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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