Ursula Burns: A Historic Succession at Xerox

Ursula Burns: A Historic Succession at Xerox

This was a succession which involved a Black American woman being appointed CEO of a company. Her name is Ursula M. Burns. Apart from being a woman she was from the African race and the process of succession involved other competent and top personnel who were also fit for the job.

This succession was considered historic because Ursula Burns became the very first Black American Woman to head a key corporation in the United States of America. She got this job at a time when America was experiencing economic hardships. Xerox is a large company in America and to be led by a woman especially from an African origin was unheard off thus this succession had to be referred to as “Historic”. Another reason why this succession is historic is because she was the second woman to lead the company and it is said and believed that this succession brought out great results .This succession also occurred at a period when it was hard for women to secure jobs not to mention becoming CEOs and especially those who were viewed as a minority (George &Jones 2011 pg 174). Before becoming the CEO of Xerox, Burns had performed her duties closely with the former CEO of the same company with whom they transformed the company from making machines into a different business entity.

There are various reasons why there are few women CEOs in America and also the rest of the world. First of all is because the women have not liberated themselves from the stereotype of not being able to do what a man can do. They view themselves as being different to men and only spent much time looking at these differences rather than the similarities. What they fail to understand is that a woman can do what a man can do given the opportunity. Another reason why there are a few women is because many institutions at this time still believe that women cannot perform such a role. They believe it is only men who can do this job perfectly. I believe that it is time for women to arise because at this time women have proved beyond reasonable doubt that what a man can do she can also do. In schools they compete with men and in some cases   defeat them and I don’t know why they cannot compete with them in the job market. Whatever is needed are equal opportunities for all of them. Most men also hold the high positions in most organizations and thus they only promote fellow men and disregard women (George &Jones 2011).

To answer the question with regard to the steps the managers at Xerox have taken to effectively manage diversity, it is important to first acknowledge that they have changed their focus from focusing on differences to the similarities found among themselves. Most of these managers are have committed themselves to diversity. Every person in Xerox strives to work hard just like other institutions to change to transform the way the world are wired. This is a culture the managers have instilled in Xerox. This is not discriminate so that people are discriminated on grounds of ethnicity and gender but everybody is answerable for their actions with credit being to those who deserve it. This does not depend on whether one is a man or a woman, black or white. To be effective management which is diverse should be closely supervised. Any institution today needs to embrace diversity because the world has become a global village and especially at a time when we have international companies and others whose end products are consumed worldwide.

The consequences of the initiatives which were taken at Xerox led to the growth of the company. The company has been able to survive tough economic times and became one of the best performing institutions. This succession also brought up a healthy competition between women and men together with changing the perception men had to women.


Jones, G. R., & George, J. M. (2011). Essentials of contemporary management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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