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Executive summary

Xerox is a global company that sells document technology equipment’s and also sells other business services in line with documentation. Over the years, the company reputation has been growing making it a global brand. Xerox has relied on innovation due to the diversity embraced in its line of work these has steered the company growth over the years. However, Xerox has also faced some challenges in the course of its operation, especially on teamwork. This has hindered Xerox growth and development; below is a critical analysis of the company teamwork challenges drawing theoretical framework offered by Belbin (1981) and Tuchman’s (1965) approaches (Schaubroeck, Lam and Cha 2007).


The success of Xerox has been attributed to the company’s tightly-knit workforce that has ensured easy management for the company’s leadership. This has enabled delegation of work to be easier for the company while it also eases supervision. However sometimes back Xerox and Fuji formed an alliance which consolidated the company’s existing copier technology and solid- ink system in the creation of a quality copier machine. This came with high prospectus for the company making more sales and also development however this alliance was faced with major problems with lack of teamwork being the most significant one. Despite the fact that this alliance was seen like a possible “constellation” internal rivalry proved to be a huge blow to the company’s smooth operation. Workforce forms these two different companies which formed this alliance are claimed to constantly being at loggerheads due to negative competition within the two organizations. This was also a huge blow to the earlier created relationship and unity between the companies which also led to the reduction in productivity in the production of the new product (by Gareth Bell 2013).

Teamwork is a fundamental factor in any company or organization since it defines the relation between the organizational workforces in focusing towards the company goals. Teamwork determines the productivity the company with the workforce coming together in work-sharing, and allocation of roles. In this case study, it can be claimed that both Xerox and Fuji did not understand the importance creation of company policies that spells out the how teamwork is going to be carried out within the company. Instead, the companies focused on the end goal which was a more improved product that would definitely take the market by storm. These two companies ignored the fundamentals of teamwork which has been emphasized by both Bruce Tuckerman and Meredith Belbin through the creation of a more detailed approach to workplace teamwork. Meredith Belbin is a professional psychologist who has contributed a lot in regards to workplace teamwork. Dr. Bruce Tuckerman, on the other hand, created the now popularly used Tuckerman’s model which is widely known for its effectiveness in team building.

Bruce Tuckerman in his psychological analysis of human behaviour in line with company teamwork claims that there are two common features in any company or organization’s workforce; this includes the task activity and group structure. Tuckerman further claims that it is from these two features that the workforce evolves into different teams through four common stages (Rickards and Moger 2000). The first phase according to Tuckerman is the orientation testing phase which Tuckerman insists is a period that is characterised by a faced by a degree of conflict. However, he claims that these conflicts will resolve themselves in the next phase which embraces cohesiveness and socialisation. The next phase according to Tuckerman entails role rotation in the workplace (Gold 2005).


With Tuckman four phases theory being already tested and proven it would work perfectly for Xerox and Fuji in the alliance in the production of the improved copier. These would prevent the huge rift between workforce from Xerox and that from Fuji, which was instigated by negative competition. In this case, the workforce would first be taken through the “forming “phase which entailed orientation. In this phase, these workforces from these companies would be introduced to each other as formalities to create a good relationship between the workforces from the different companies. It is evident that the approach taken up by both company’s on the formation of the alliance contributed to the rift which occurred later. It is claimed that by both countries directly diving into the course of producing the new product led to tension building from both companies workforce due to the build perception that they were competing. In the next phase” storming” the companies would focus on any brewing tension between the workforces from both parties (Rickards and Moger 2000). On the other hand, they would also focus on developing cohesiveness and socialising skills between these two workforce groups this would foster a good relationship between then rather than seeing each other as rivals or competitors (Batenburg, Walbeek and Maur 2013).

Next, the two companies would focus on the third phase “norming” this is where the operation of both workforces would be spelled out. This entails goal setting and creation of positive competition not only between the two companies but also among all employees from both companies. This is the most sensitive phase since and misinterpretation would lead to rift brewing between the two workforces from the two different companies. Lastly, the company’s would have taken their workforce through the “performing” phase. This entails role allocation where employees are given tasks which they can manage. This ensures that there is minimal interruption in productivity and the company maximizing on the employees experience, talent, and knowledge. This phase is claimed to instigate job satisfaction, therefore, ensuring there is minimal job shifting during the operation stage. Trough adoption of Tuckerman’s teamwork theory these companies would link the group relationship between various sectors of the companies’ workforce through focusing on individual tasks and performance. In the long end, these groups will work towards their goals through focusing on individual tasks and goals which will boost the companies’ cohesiveness and productivity from its workforce (Schaubroeck, Lam and Cham 2007).

Meredith Belbin also developed a workplace teamwork building theory where he emphasised on employees ‘typical features’ being used in understanding their attributes and character of a particular workforce. Belbin’s, therefore, created a model which company managers would use the strength and weaknesses of their workforce (Sum Chau 2008).

In Belbin’s model, he focuses on nine main team roles which he has put into three basic categories. These categories form the company workforce they include; Action Oriented individuals, People Oriented workers, and Thought Oriented employees. In each of these categories Belbin highlight on the standout interpersonal and behavioural strength. Belbin is also keen to point out some weaknesses associated with these teams which he labels as «allowable» weaknesses (Silverman 2001).

In Xerox case study which highlights on its merging with Fuji in the production of a new and better quality copier, it would have embraced Belbin’s model in building teamwork within the two companies’ workforce. Through embracing this action-oriented role, the two companies would be able to prevent the rift within the workforce of the two companies from occurring. In this case, some significant action oriented, people oriented and thought oriented roles which these two companies would embrace within their workforce include; shaper, implementer, and complete-finisher.

Shapers are people within the workforce who challenge other individuals to improve this would boost the company’s overall productivity through getting rid of clumsiness within the production sector. On the other hand, the companies would also notice some distinct weaknesses that these individuals are linked with which include; inflexibility and rigidity to change. The other people-oriented role that the company would instil in their workforce is implementers. These are individuals within the workforce who get things done through converting ideas and concept to actions. However, the companies would also be keen to note the downside of these individuals within the workforce which is inflexibility and rigidity to change. The other thought oriented roles which these two companies would have embraced in their workforce is completer-finishers. These are employees who see that their allocated tasks are handled effectively (Rickards and Moger 2000). This ensures that there are limited setbacks in line with the companies’ productivity. However, the two companies would also ensure that the notice the negative side of these particular employees; which is paranoia which might affect their ability to work effectively.


Through embracing these two theories, Xerox would prevent the occurrence of a rift its workforce and that from its partnering company Fiji, therefore, ensuring smooth operation of the companies’ productivity.


Batenburg, R., van Walbeek, W. and in der Maur, W. 2013. Belbin role diversity and team performance: is there a relationship?. Journal of Mgmt Development, 32(8), pp.901-913.

by Gareth Bell, I. 2013. Teamwork makes the team work. Human Resource Management International Digest, 21(2), pp.45-47.

Gold, N. 2005. Teamwork. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rickards, T. and Moger, S. 2000. Creative Leadership Processes in Project Team Development: An Alternative to Tuckman’s Stage Model. British Journal of Management, 11(4), pp.273-283.

Schaubroeck, J., Lam, S. and Cha, S. 2007. Embracing transformational leadership: Team values and the impact of leader behavior on team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(4), pp.1020-1030.

Silverman, M. 2001. Teamwork and collaboration in libraries. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press.

Sum Chau, V. 2008. The relationship of strategic performance management to team strategy, company performance and organizational effectiveness. Team Performance Management, 14(3/4), pp.113-117.