Siemens Nixdorf Case Study


    In 1990 Siemens AG merged with Nixdorf Computer to form Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme (SNI). SNI faced major challenges in becoming profitable after the merger. Decision making mainly trickled down from executives. The company was also not exploiting growing markets. These factors resulted in a failure to be profitable all four years since the merger. To turn the company around a new CEO, Gerhard Schulmeyer, was brought in.

This paper will analyze the initiatives used by Gerhard Schulmeyer to turn the organization around. First, it will be necessary to examine the major issues surrounding the case. Second, the paper will analyze the change process initiated by Schulmeyer and specifically evaluate the Change Agent Program. Third, the paper will discover what actions Schulmeyer should have taken as Chief Executive Officer.


SNI merged with Siemens in 1990 to become the largest European manufacturer of computers and information systems. “Despite its size and a strong market presence in Europe, SNI had not posted a profitable quarter since the merger (Cummings & Worley, 2009).” As a result, the Chairman of Siemens AG decided to bring in a new CEO, Gerhard Schulmeyer. Schulmeyer’s plan was to implement sweeping organizational change.

To achieve this goal, Schulmeyer introduced a host of initiatives. Two of these key initiatives included the Culture Change and Friday Forums and the Change Agent Program. The Culture Change initiative consisted of four events that included roughly 300 employees and 75 managers from SNI. These events each had a different theme (e.g. “Giving Employees a Voice in Defining the New Culture.” Each event was followed by a Results Fair which served as the vehicle to communicate the results of each event to upwards of 12,000 employees.

.Friday Forums were “small-group discussions that attempted to build a frank and open communication environment (Cummings & Worley, 2009).” These forums involved...

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Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | February 2018

Still Leading Series—Issues in Transitioning to New Forms of Service Later in Life

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Rakesh Khurana, James Honan and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone

The Still Leading case series includes an introductory note, “Still Leading (A): Issues in Transitioning to New Forms of Service Later in Life” and 10 supplementary cases that cover the transition of highly accomplished and prolific leaders (Hon. Robert McDonald, Hon. Mike Bloomberg, Gerry House, Lee Iacocca, General Claudia Kennedy, Sherry Lansing, Dr. Evelyn Murphy, Paul Newman, Hon. Colin Powell, and Louis Gossett Jr.). The Still Leading cases are part of an opening series of cases used in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. The cases document a number of individual’s lifetime personal and professional trajectories. They focus on the nature of career processes and transitions. The materials offer an opportunity for readers to inductively reason about the structure of significant career transitions and the developmental patterns across different arenas. The cases also create a context for participants to engage in introspection by asking them to reflect on patterns of development in their own career histories.

Keywords: Leadership; Personal Development and Career; Transition;


Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, Rakesh Khurana, James Honan, and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone. "Still Leading Series—Issues in Transitioning to New Forms of Service Later in Life." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 318-101, February 2018.  View Details


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