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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Haixu Bao, Haizhen (Jane) Wang and Chenglin Sun

The purpose of this paper is to explore how middle managers respond to the career challenges caused by environmental regulation. In particular, this paper examines whether…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how middle managers respond to the career challenges caused by environmental regulation. In particular, this paper examines whether environmental regulation strength is positively related to middle managers’ openness toward change, and whether middle managers’ openness toward change is positively related to proactive behavior. Furthermore, the moderating role of top managers’ bottom-line mentality in these two relationships is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross-sectional survey research (n=155) was conducted. During a training program, data were collected from 155 middle managers from a listed company that manufactures primary products. With these data the authors examined the main relationship and also explored the moderating effect of top managers’ bottom-line mentality.

Findings

Analysis of the findings indicates that perceived environmental regulation strength influences middle managers’ openness toward change and consequently their proactive behavior. In addition, top managers’ bottom-line mentality moderates both the link between environmental regulation strength and openness toward change and the link between openness toward change and proactive behavior.

Originality/value

The findings of this study reveal how environmental regulation induces middle managers’ proactive behavior, and the influence of top managers’ mentality on how middle managers respond to environmental regulation both cognitively and behaviorally.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2014

Cathrine Filstad

The aim of this paper is to investigate how political activities and processes influence sensemaking and sensegiving among top management, middle management and employees…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate how political activities and processes influence sensemaking and sensegiving among top management, middle management and employees and to examine its consequences for implementing new knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected in a Norwegian bank using in-depth interviews with middle managers and financial advisers. Observations of meetings, informal conversations and verbatim notes were also used in data collection among top managers. A practice-based approach was used as an analytical lens.

Findings

Top managers' political activities of excluding others from the decision process affect their sensemaking and resulted in sensegiving contradictions between spoken intent and how to change practice. Middle managers' political activities were to accept top managers' sensegiving instead of managing themselves in their own sensemaking to help financial advisers with how to change their role and practice. As a result, middle managers' sensemaking affects their engagement in sensegiving. For financial advisers, the political processes of top and middle managers resulted in resistance and not making sense of how to change and implement new knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

A total of 30 in-depth interviews, observations of five meetings and informal conversations might call for further studies. In addition, a Norwegian study does not account for other countries' cultural differences concerning leadership style, openness in decisions and employee autonomy.

Originality/value

To the author's knowledge, no studies identify the three-way conceptual relationship between political activities, sensemaking and sensegiving. In addition, the author believes that the originality lies in investigating these relationships using a three-level hierarchy of top management, middle management and employees.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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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

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2020

Elsa Solstad and Inger Johanne Petterson

Mergers are important and challenging elements in hospital reforms. The authors study the social aspects of management and the roles of middle managers in the aftermath of…

Abstract

Purpose

Mergers are important and challenging elements in hospital reforms. The authors study the social aspects of management and the roles of middle managers in the aftermath of a hospital merger. Especially, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how professional staff and middle managers perceive their relationships with top managers several years after the merger.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted among the professional staff in two merging hospitals’ units six years after a merger. Based on the main findings from this survey, a follow-up interview study was done with a group of middle managers.

Findings

The management practices were diagnostic with few interactive or communicative activities. The respondents expressed that mistrust developed between the staff and the top management, and a lack of involvement and interaction lead to decoupled and parallel organizations. Social controls, based on shared norms, had not been developed to create mutual commitment and engagement.

Practical implications

Policy makers should be aware of the need in profound change processes not only to change the tangible elements, but to take care of changing the less tangible elements such as norms and values. Professionals in hospitals are in powerful positions, and changes in such organizations are dependent on trust-building, bottom-up initiatives and evolutionary pathways.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the need to understand the dynamics of the social aspect in managing hospitals as knowledge-intensive organizations when comprehensive restructuring processes are taking place over several years.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1974

Emanuel Kay

Approximately 5 per cent of the non‐farm work force in the United States falls into the category of middle managers. The variations in titles and responsibilities in…

Abstract

Approximately 5 per cent of the non‐farm work force in the United States falls into the category of middle managers. The variations in titles and responsibilities in organizations make it difficult precisely to define middle managers; but they can generally be regarded as those who manage other managers and supervisors, and groups of primarily exempt employees. Thus at the lower limit for classification as a middle manager we would exclude first line supervisors of salaried clerical and hourly production employees. At the upper limit for classification as a middle manager we would exclude managers of business components who have profit and loss responsibility, functional and staff vice presidents, and all other executives in the hierarchy above those categories.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 16 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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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…

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

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Article
Publication date: 23 June 2021

Jarrah Almansour and Demola Obembe

The purpose of this paper is to investigate consensus formation among the top and middle managers during the strategy process. Specifically, the paper seeks to gain…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate consensus formation among the top and middle managers during the strategy process. Specifically, the paper seeks to gain insight into the role of strategic consensus during the transition between strategy formulation and implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a social practice perspective and a single case study approach, we undertook semi-structured interviews of twenty-seven managers working in a Kuwaiti Ministry. Data collected were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings

We found that social interaction among individuals with similar characteristics and shared understanding fosters consensus. Factors such as alignment of strategic priorities, managerial flux and centralized control contribute to the extent to which strategic consensus is achievable. Additionally, managerial turnover and lack of empowerment hamper the development of shared understanding. Finally, that consensus on strategy content is insufficient for effective intergroup communications.

Originality/value

The research contributes to the strategic consensus literature from a social practice perspective as it provides new insights into the dynamics between top managers and middle managers. Significantly, it highlights the importance and need for common understanding, as well as communications prioritization among managers for consensus development and successful implementation of organization strategy.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

Keywords

Content available
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…

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

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Book part
Publication date: 14 August 2014

Hulda Mjöll Gunnarsdóttir

This chapter examines how structural factors related to gender, managerial level, and economic sector could impact the level of experienced person/role conflict in…

Abstract

This chapter examines how structural factors related to gender, managerial level, and economic sector could impact the level of experienced person/role conflict in management based on a representative survey conducted among managers in Norway. Person/role conflict appears relevant for understanding emotions in organizations and is linked with emotional dissonance and emotional labor through theoretical and empirical considerations. Our findings reveal that the effect of gender remains significant when controlled for economic sector and managerial level. This indicates that experienced person/role conflict can be partially caused by perceived incongruity between internalized and gender role-related expectations as well as managerial role-related expectations.

Details

Emotions and the Organizational Fabric
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-939-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

John A. Parnell

To examine how a manager's strategic philosophy is influenced by his or her management level in the organization.

Abstract

Purpose

To examine how a manager's strategic philosophy is influenced by his or her management level in the organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Scales are developed to measure managers' philosophical perspectives along three key dimensions and tested with 289 managers in the United States. Refined scales are administered to 237 managers.

Findings

A manager's level in the organization influences his or her strategic philosophy. As compared to middleand lower‐level managers, top managers were more likely to view strategy formulation as an art, to emphasize strategic flexibility as opposed to strategic consistency, and to see strategy as top‐down process.

Research limitations/implications

No single strategic philosophy is suggested as the optimal perspective. In addition, there are multiple possible explanations for the findings. Additional research is needed. Recognizing differences in strategic philosophy can also enhance training and development efforts at the lower and middle management levels.

Practical implications

Findings lend support to the notion that one's strategic philosophy is not independent of one's management position and suggests that managers at each level may adopt perspectives that facilitate the managerial responsibilities at that level.

Originality/value

This paper provides empirical evidence for a nexus between management level and strategic philosophy, a stream of research that received only limited research interest to date.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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