July 3, 2013

Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien Appears on CNBC Squawk Box to Discuss Microsoft Restructuring

Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien, professor and Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration, was interviewed on CNBC’s news signature morning program Squawk Box recently to talk about the departure of Xbox chief Don Mattrick from Microsoft. Mattrick left his post to become the new CEO of Zynga, which has developed social network games like FarmVille, Café World and Mafia Wars.

Uhl-Bien, who has experience consulting and partnering in research with Fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America, Disney and Lockheed-Martin, talked about the need for immediate restructuring at Microsoft by current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

“If you’ve been listening to Ballmer’s messaging, he’s been talking about the need to go to a devices and services business, switching away from software,” Uhl-Bien said. “Microsoft has not been that type of company, so it will be an interesting situation to see if they can pull it off.”

Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien
She explained investors are responding favorably to Ballmer’s new direction and also believes his secretive approach to change at Microsoft might be a good thing.

“Microsoft needs a radical restructuring. If you know anything about Microsoft, you know that they are bureaucratic. If Ballmer’s working with a small group of people and a couple of the board members, it might be good for him to develop a plan without involving the people who might be resistors,”she said.

However, given Ballmer’s tenure at Microsoft, Uhl-Bien also questioned whether he was the right person to lead the company through a major reorganization.

“We don’t know how this is going to play out. Ballmer has to pull off a pretty big change here. I’ve heard him say that we need to go to devices and mobile, but he hasn’t been one to want to go there in the first place. It’s been very much a Windows and Office company.”

Uhl-Bien, who joined CBA in 2006, has expertise in leadership, business ethics and organizational behavior.