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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2022

Mike Schraeder

The purpose of the article is to provide practical recommendations and insights for leaders and/or organizations to consider as they guide new middle managers in their…

161

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to provide practical recommendations and insights for leaders and/or organizations to consider as they guide new middle managers in their efforts to develop a preliminary foundation for effective communication practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is framed within the context of new middle managers. Emphasis is placed on providing examples of ways that leaders and organizations can assist or guide new middle managers in developing a foundation for preliminary communication practices.

Findings

Guidance from upper-level leaders related to the foundation should include, among other things, an overview of expectations, organizational goals, and vision. The article also includes some examples of preliminary communication practices that upper-level leaders might suggest for consideration by new middle managers. The examples include, preferred communication channels, preferences related to responsiveness, preferred characteristics of electronic communication, being intentional, and promoting balance/wellbeing.

Originality/value

Middle managers are important to the success of organizations. The role of middle managers encompasses several requisite skill sets. Among those skill sets is the need for effective communication. The article approaches the topic of effective communication in the context of new middle managers, with an emphasis on leader/organizational guidance that can contribute to a preliminary foundation for effective communication practices. The foundation and examples can then serve as a platform for ongoing development of a more comprehensive communication plan.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 1998

Jay Klagge

The need to develop new skills among middle managers has been increasing since the early 1990s. This need arises from the changes in the workplace environment associated…

1596

Abstract

The need to develop new skills among middle managers has been increasing since the early 1990s. This need arises from the changes in the workplace environment associated with the realities of downsizing, the quality movement, and the increased use of teams. This article reports on the experience of one downsized, quality‐conscious, team‐based organization in identifying the development needs of its middle managers. The process used by the case study organization to identify the development needs among its middle managers is outlined. This process can be seen as an example of how development needs can be identified. The findings from the identification process within the case study organization present an initial list of development needs among today’s middle managers. Recommendations on training courses for middle management development are proposed. These recommendations provide initial guidance to organizations interested in developing their middle management assets.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 17 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1998

Jay Klagge

Empowerment has been added to the long list of environmental hazards facing the organizationally endangered species known as “middle managers”. For the sake of balance and…

2527

Abstract

Empowerment has been added to the long list of environmental hazards facing the organizationally endangered species known as “middle managers”. For the sake of balance and interest, the author asked middle managers for their views regarding empowerment. This article presents the views of middle managers along with those found in the literature. Definitions are set forth, pros and cons are covered, and dos and don’ts are delineated. The author closes with the following advice for those seeking to implement empowerment: organizations should set the unifying vision for empowerment at the top management level; organizations should train and develop their line employees prior to giving them full empowerment; and organizations should rely on middle managers to provide two‐way communication and coaching for line employees as they are trained for empowerment. The article concludes that organizations should view middle managers as “bridges” rather than “blockages” to the implementation of empowerment.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 17 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 15 July 2019

Jean E. Neumann, Kim Turnbull James and Russ Vince

This research contributes to understanding emotional and political challenges experienced by middle managers as they work with contradictions inherent in leading change…

Abstract

This research contributes to understanding emotional and political challenges experienced by middle managers as they work with contradictions inherent in leading change from the middle. Focus group data from 27 such middle managers based in the UK indicate that, once they have been assigned roles and tasks for leading change, underlying dynamics and processes influence the degree to which they become capable (or unable) to shape and navigate that change. A proposed conceptual framework, illustrated by a case vignette, provides a base of existing knowledge for understanding and explaining these dynamics. We also construct a model of the key tensions that are integral to middle managers leading change. A further contribution to practice involves elaborating the importance of collaborative effort across hierarchical and vertical boundaries, despite emotional and political tensions that undermine middle managers’ roles as change agents.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-554-3

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 21 July 2020

Stefan Linder and Johanna Sax

Today, long-term success requires firms to sense changes in their environments early and react efficiently to them. Increasing middle managers’ participation in…

Abstract

Today, long-term success requires firms to sense changes in their environments early and react efficiently to them. Increasing middle managers’ participation in decision-making about market-related and product-related questions has been suggested as one way of enhancing this strategic responsiveness; abandoning formal planning, such as annual budgets, has been another. Yet, empirical evidence on the matter is scarce and conflicting. Drawing on data from Denmark’s 500 largest firms, we show that participation of middle managers in decision-making about new products and markets to serve, in-deed, increases firms’ strategic responsiveness as assessed by a reduction in firms’ downside risk. However, this effect is not a direct one. Nor does it interact positively or negatively with the emphasis put on formal planning as submitted in literature. Our evidence suggests that emphasis on planning mediates the relation between stronger participation of middle managers in decision-making and the increase in firms’ strategic responsiveness. This has implications for ongoing theory building and practice.

Details

Adapting to Environmental Challenges: New Research in Strategy and International Business
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-477-7

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 October 2020

Demola Obembe, Jarrah Al Mansour and Oluwaseun Kolade

The purpose of this paper is to build on the research-supported view that interactions between top and middle management enhances effective implementation of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to build on the research-supported view that interactions between top and middle management enhances effective implementation of organizational strategies by exploring the role of internal actors in driving organizational strategy at the intersection between strategy formulation and strategy implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a social practice perspective, we undertook semi-structured interviews of 27 top and middle level managers drawn from a single case organization. Data collected were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

Differences in managerial perception of strategy has significant impact on implementation of strategic decisions as well as creating tensions in recursive communication practices between internal social actors. Furthermore, individual perceptions cannot only limit the extent of strategy awareness amongst key actors, the manifestations through social interaction between top and middle managers is a critical determinant of effective communication and realization of organizational strategy.

Originality/value

The research contributes to the strategy process and practice literature by exploring the dynamic interactions taking place at the intersections of strategy formulation-implementation phases of organizational strategy. It particularly highlights practical issues in top and middle manager interactions and implications for successful strategy implementation.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 59 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

June Xuejun Qiao and Wei Wang

This study aims to identify managerial competencies required for successful middle managers in China.

3644

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify managerial competencies required for successful middle managers in China.

Design/methodology/approach

First a questionnaire survey was distributed among MBA and EMBA students at a major university in China, and then two case studies were conducted to collect more in‐depth data.

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that team building, communication, coordination, execution and continual learning are critical competencies for the success of middle managers in China. Implications for future research and practices are also discussed.

Originality/value

The literature review shows that although previous leadership competency studies are extensive, little research has been conducted to explore the competencies required for middle managers. This study would contribute to fill the gap in the literature.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Yuanyuan Wu, Zhenzhong Ma and Milo Shaoqing Wang

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of middle managers in the corporate entrepreneurship process that drives new capability development. Middle managers are…

1091

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of middle managers in the corporate entrepreneurship process that drives new capability development. Middle managers are highlighted as key entrepreneurial agents because of their special position in an organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on existing capability development and corporate entrepreneurship literature and develops a conceptual model and research propositions that are illustrated through three examples from a Chinese private firm.

Findings

This paper contends the dual role of middle managers, both as change implementers to follow pre-set rules of an existing corporate entrepreneurship system and as change initiators to bring new rules to improve the existing system.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is conceptual in nature, advancing the understanding of middle managers’ role in corporate entrepreneurship. The paper provides directions for future empirical research.

Practical implications

The interactions between middle managers and other organizational agents are discussed in the propositions. This paper suggests the importance of empowering middle managers to facilitate changes in complex internal environments.

Originality/value

The paper provides a unique theoretical contribution by introducing the interface-based, multi-level conceptual model of corporate entrepreneurship toward new capability development.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Just Bendix Justesen, Pernille Eskerod, Jeanette Reffstrup Christensen and Gisela Sjøgaard

The purpose of this paper is to address a missing link between top management and employees when it comes to understanding how to successfully implement and embed…

6618

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address a missing link between top management and employees when it comes to understanding how to successfully implement and embed workplace health promotion (WHP) as a strategy within organizations: the role of the middle managers.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual framework based on review of theory is applied within an empirical multi-case study that is part of a health intervention research project on increased physical activity among office workers. The study involves six Danish organizations.

Findings

Middle managers play a key role in successful implementation of WHP, but feel uncertain about their role, especially when it comes to engaging with their employees. Uncertainty about their role appears to make middle managers reluctant to take action on WHP and leave further action to top management instead.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations included the middle managers’ low attendance at the half-day seminar on strategic health (50 percent attendance), the fact that they were all office workers and they were all from Denmark.

Practical implications

Middle managers ask for more knowledge and skills if they are to work with WHP in daily business.

Social implications

Implementing and embedding WHP as a health strategy raises ethical issues of interfering with employees’ health, is seen as the employee’s personal responsibility.

Originality/value

This study adds to knowledge of the difficulties of implementing and embedding WHP activities in the workplace and suggests an explicit and detailed research design.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 April 2012

Eric D. Carlström

This article aims to examine middle managers in health care and how their role has changed in times of fiscal constraints. It seeks to focus particularly on how cost…

2015

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to examine middle managers in health care and how their role has changed in times of fiscal constraints. It seeks to focus particularly on how cost savings influence the position of middle managers in the organisation between governance and advocacy pressure.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 25 Swedish middle managers from public health care organisations during fiscal constraints were interviewed about what contributes to their positioning in the organisation.

Findings

The loyalty of middle managers is tested in the “in between” role. Excessive loyalty, in any direction, can distance a middle manager from their expected position. In times of a weakening economy, middle managers are expected to be a tool that is used by the management to communicate savings, personnel reductions, redundancies and closures. This contributes to middle managers sliding out of their role in between.

Practical implications

Middle managers’ skills are within care itself. In times of cost savings, demands are placed on their ability to handle advanced management tasks. They need to gain a clearer insight into management control, understanding conflict management and leadership.

Originality/value

The article explains not only why middle managers slide up (take on governance roles) and down (take on advocacy roles) in the organisation, which has been described previously. It also explains why middle managers slide out (abdicate responsibility) of the role between governance and advocacy during times of fiscal limitations.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

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