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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1993

T.K. Das and Manab Thakur

The traditional role of middle managers has been evolving into one which is increasingly concerned with participation in the strategic management process. The reasons for…

Abstract

The traditional role of middle managers has been evolving into one which is increasingly concerned with participation in the strategic management process. The reasons for this evolutionary change are discussed, along with problems facing middle managers today. Suggestions are offered for redefining the role of middle managers for more effective strategic management and planning in industrial organizations.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Eric D. Carlström

The purpose of this paper is to identify middle managers' strategies during changed accounting conditions.

2224

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify middle managers' strategies during changed accounting conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Middle managers from hospitals, primary care and community care were interviewed about their strategies during change processes. Each middle manager selected changes that had played the greatest part in a ten‐year period.

Findings

Each change was dominated by one strategy that corresponded to the tactics of middle managers during change. They questioned new control models, they experimented with smart budget strategies and they implemented new IT technology. These strategies formed transitions in a continuous circular change model based on Hinings and Malholtra. The study points to two key findings. First, strategies that can be perceived as irrational are organised within a context of plausible explanations; and second, middle managers in public organisations are likely to adopt innovations supported by management policy voluntarily and to question or even reject those prohibited.

Research limitations/implications

Criticism may be directed towards the fact that the theoretical model presented in the analysis has an element of determinism. In the model, the managers' control strategies are given limited influence. The theoretical model's strength is that it measures the development in slow‐to‐change public organisations with long histories and deeply rooted practices.

Practical implications

The results can be used to understand the motives of the middle managers' strategies for change. It provides support to management that hesitates between defending a well‐established but criticised organisational model, and implementing new and untested approaches.

Originality/value

Theoretical change models frequently originate from a management perspective or differentiate between “top‐down” and “bottom up” change. In this paper, change is regarded as a generalised process where different phenomena are connected. This forms a circular model that moves between stable phases without change and transformative phases of major change.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Steven Gregory Marshall

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a larger study into the role of middle leaders of change in New Zealand higher education.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a larger study into the role of middle leaders of change in New Zealand higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, ten middle leaders from the New Zealand higher education sector took part in a recent research project which examined successful change leadership in higher education. As part of that larger study, each middle leader answered questions about their views on being in the “middle” in their change leadership roles and their views on middle leadership in general.

Findings

The ten middle leaders all described their place in their respective organisations in terms of being “caught in between”, or “sandwiched between” senior management to whom they were accountable, lecturers whom they described as colleagues or peers, and subordinates for whom they had some functional and often moral responsibility. The paper discusses the perceptions of being in the “middle” and how change leaders reconcile their position as a subordinate, an equal and a superior. Insight is gained into how educational leaders reconcile their position in the “middle” as they hold management responsibility for both academic and general staff who are hierarchically, beneath them; lead teams of colleagues in collegial decision making; and answer to higher authority in the form of senior organisational leadership.

Research limitations/implications

The participant contributions of personal observations and unfolding real life stories which meld personal common sense with local meaning have formed a unique local ontology therefore allowing for a deeper understanding of the contributing factors toward being in the “middle”. Some of these perspectives have been used by the author's own organisation in the development of leadership training for future organisational change, particularly those aspects concerning communication and participation that are tailored to meet the unique needs of management and staff.

Practical implications

For middle change leaders the focussed examination of the working relationship between middle change leaders and staff groups might prove to be a rich area of further study. These relationships take a variety of forms, including where a staff member has risen through the ranks (off the shop floor as it were) to take on the mantle of leadership, or simply where there is a shared understanding based on subject or professional backgrounds which binds the two together. Further investigation into these relationships may provide perspectives that enable leaders to develop a greater understanding of how change occurs.

Originality/value

The paper shows how the participants locate themselves as being “very much” in the middle in terms of line management of both resources and academic matters and often as being caught between competing imperatives, institutional dynamics and institutional structures.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 March 2010

Ebrahim Soltani and Adrian Wilkinson

The purpose of this paper is to extend the Pelz Effect to explain the effects of incongruence between senior managers' orientations and underlying assumptions of total…

2378

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the Pelz Effect to explain the effects of incongruence between senior managers' orientations and underlying assumptions of total quality management (TQM) on middle managers' own orientations and on TQM itself.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a multi‐case study approach of three organisations from different sectors, the authors conducted 68 semi‐structured interviews with managers at both senior and middle levels.

Findings

The findings largely support the Pelz Effect in that senior management exerts a major influence in establishing the tone and atmosphere of the TQM organisation by their orientations and attitudes towards the underlying principles of it. It has been found that senior managers' reliance on detection, reactive strategies and hard aspects of TQM – as opposed to prevention, proactive strategies and soft people‐based issues – resulted in: first, middle managers' compliance with short‐term tactical orientations rather than long‐term commitment; second, middle managers' increased control over the workforce rather than the work‐related processes; third, middle managers' tendency to agree about TQM objectives in a way to prioritise and fulfil their own self‐interests rather than TQM intended objectives and organisational interests; and finally the inability of middle managers to run TQM effectively.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that the nature of middle management's orientation towards TQM and the degree of their supportive behaviour towards first line managers is affected by the senior management's orientation towards TQM and their supportive behaviour towards middle managers.

Originality/value

The results reveal that the current practice of TQM can be characterised by inspection and quality control approach, a top‐down process based upon a culture of procedure‐dominated with a heavy bureaucratic base, and the dominance of senior management's unilateral control. Finally, the theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Sharyn E. Herzig and Nerina L. Jimmieson

This study aims to identify factors that facilitate or inhibit middle managers' experience of uncertainty management during organizational change.

11222

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify factors that facilitate or inhibit middle managers' experience of uncertainty management during organizational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is qualitative and involved interviews with 40 middle managers from a range of organizations.

Findings

Analysis revealed that at the pre‐implementation stage, uncertainty focused on the strategic concept of the change, whereas at implementation, uncertainty related to the appropriate procedures to implement. Middle managers’ uncertainty management was found to be important in assisting their employees in the change transition. The factors identified as being either facilitators or barriers to uncertainty management focused on themes related to the design of change, communication with both senior management and their own staff, support from senior management, role conflict, and peer interaction. A model was created to link facilitators and barriers with uncertainty to guide future research.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for organizational change research along with practical implications are discussed.

Originality/value

This study provides insight into the positive contributions middle managers can make during change, along with suggesting what factors are facilitators or barriers to this positive role.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 27 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

Deepak Chawla and Himanshu Joshi

Organization hierarchy plays a crucial role in the effective management of knowledge and learning. Typically, the organization hierarchy includes employees at the top

1856

Abstract

Purpose

Organization hierarchy plays a crucial role in the effective management of knowledge and learning. Typically, the organization hierarchy includes employees at the top, middle and lower levels. Employees possess a wealth of knowledge but often knowledge‐driven learning across organization hierarchies is not uniform due to various factors pertaining to the employees such as their literacy levels, available‐time, access to resources, reward and recognition, mindset, level of empowerment etc. This paper attempts to compare how employees at the top and middle level hierarchies in Indian organizations perceive a learning organization (LO). It also attempts to understand how the dimensions of knowledge management (KM) influence LO and tests whether this is significantly different for the aforementioned two hierarchy levels.

Design/methodology/approach

A convenience sample of 57 top and middle level executives from India participated in the study. The extent of learning practices was compared and tested for significant differences across the top and middle level hierarchies.

Findings

A comparison of the mean scores shows that there is hardly any difference in the way executives at the two levels perceive LO. All the mean scores are below five on a scale of six, pointing to scope for improvement. Further, no statistical difference is found in the mean scores. The impact of KM dimensions on LO was found to be statistically insignificant for the two levels. Most of the KM dimensions were found to positively impact the LO as per the proposed hypothesis.

Research limitations/implications

The sample comprises 34 responses from top and 17 from middle level executives. This small sample size can be largely attributed to respondents' reluctance, especially of those from the public sector organizations, to openly share their views. A larger representation of respondents from the middle level hierarchy would certainly enhance the generalization of results. This low response rate has limited the use of the regression analysis technique as against any other powerful explanatory techniques.

Practical implications

The findings of this study can provide insights to organizations on the role of hierarchies in the management of knowledge and learning which can, in turn, help in developing best practices to manage the same.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the paucity of empirical research done to examine whether top and middle level executives perceive LO differently. It also studies the impact of KM on LO and provides evidence to demonstrate the difference in perception among different hierarchy levels. The value added is in identifying future areas of research by extending this synergy between KM and LO to enhance performance and competitiveness. This approach could be adopted to examine the relationship in different socio‐economic contexts and cultures.

Article
Publication date: 10 May 2013

Vuokko Kohtamäki

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the nature of management and leadership is related to the management and development of teaching and R&D (research and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the nature of management and leadership is related to the management and development of teaching and R&D (research and development) in higher education institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The nature of management and leadership is approached by consideration of transformational and transactional leadership styles. The emergence and influence of these two styles in management of teaching and R&D are examined using an electronic questionnaire for senior and middle level managers at Finnish polytechnics.

Findings

Both transactional and transformational environments were identified in polytechnics. Senior and middle level managers did not have the same management and development preferences and their perceptions of the operational and management practices differed. Differences found between the viewpoints of these managers diminished when middle managers perceive transformational environment. In a transactional environment teaching was preferred rather than R&D, the role of personnel and students was less important and the good management practices were less common. In a transformational environment, R&D and integrating teaching and R&D had better circumstances to develop further.

Research limitations/implications

This study is not concerned with how various environmental and contextual factors affect management of teaching and R&D. Nor did this study shed light on the perspectives of teachers on institutional leadership and management.

Practical implications

Development of operations, management and leadership is crucial to integrate and be in transformational interaction involving actors from all levels of a higher education institution. In order to implement changes and improve current practices, managers and leaders should extend the ways they approach and perceive teaching and R&D, their own management and leadership and environment. Personnel training and delegation are both needed.

Originality/value

The paper reports on the findings of an electronic survey distributed to senior and middle managers working in polytechnics in Finland that explores their perceptions of teaching and R&D. This paper provides a topical picture of the operative management of teaching and R&D and its extensive meaning in higher education institutions. In addition, this paper identifies a need to examine practice in Finnish polytechnics in terms of the notion of transformational leadership.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 June 2012

Peter S. Davis, Joseph A. Allen and Clay Dibrell

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of strategy messages emanating from both top and middle/supervisory managers regarding five different aspects of…

1012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of strategy messages emanating from both top and middle/supervisory managers regarding five different aspects of strategy on strategic awareness among boundary personnel.

Design/methodology/approach

The results come from a survey of bank tellers and customer service representatives within a single large regional bank.

Findings

The findings support a differential main effect on strategic awareness among boundary personnel depending on the source of messages, whether top management or middle management. More interestingly, there appears to be an interaction effect between the two sources regarding which will be the dominant information source for boundary personnel.

Research limitations/implications

The survey data were collected within a single banking institution at one time point.

Practical implications

The results provide useful information concerning the efficacy of messages concerning strategy from middle and top management in organizations.

Originality/value

The paper extends past research by investigating different levels of strategic understanding within the firm across different levels and determining information dissemination strategies for increasing the level of strategic awareness among boundary personnel.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 27 October 2015

Koen van den Oever and Xavier Martin

We study the decision-making process behind business model change, focusing specifically on the tactics managers employ to gain support for such changes. We first argue…

Abstract

We study the decision-making process behind business model change, focusing specifically on the tactics managers employ to gain support for such changes. We first argue for the prominent role of middle management in business model change, and second, we revisit the literature on issue selling and championing as they may apply to business model change decision-making. We subsequently analyze the case of a business model change initiative in the Dutch water authority sector, revealing two specific tactics that middle management employed to obtain top management’s agreement to business model change: leveraging external agreements and continuously informing top management. We discuss how these findings extend and in some ways suggest a rethink of the literature on organizational change. Finally, we describe the specificities of business model change that distinguish it from other types of change. In sum, this paper demonstrates the interest of research at the nexus of business models and organizational change.

Details

Business Models and Modelling
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-462-1

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Olle Viktor Olsson, Håkan Aronsson and Erik Sandberg

This study aims to explore the involvement of middle management in forming strategies to manage variable acute patient flows at a hospital.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the involvement of middle management in forming strategies to manage variable acute patient flows at a hospital.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical evidence from a university hospital was gathered via interviews, internal documents, observation and participation in meetings. The role of middle management in the development of strategies was analyzed using literature on middle management involvement.

Findings

In managing variable acute patient flows, middle management adopts a number of roles and behavioral characteristics that have been previously described in research. The role of facilitator is the most prominent, with middle managers prioritizing individual goals and strategies for the clinical departments that they manage before their collective responsibility for hospital performance. Unclear responsibilities and mandates within the organization, together with a lack of hospital-wide strategies concerning how the acute patient flow should be managed, are contributing factors to this behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on an explorative, single case study methodology. Future research assessing the extent of different middle management roles in health care, in which more empirical data and quantitative analysis is conducted, is encouraged.

Practical implications

There is a need for top management to establish long-term goals to enhance middle management roles when developing strategies for managing variable patient flows.

Originality/value

Middle management involvement in developing strategies for managing variable patient flows is a novel topic for research. The interface and division of tasks between top and middle management is crucial for successful strategies in managing variable patient flows.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 40 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 74000