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Leading Change From the Middle: A Qualitative Study on Middle Managers' Role in Organizational Transformation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

How to manage change effectively has long been and is still a "million-dollar question," in practice as well as in academia. There are numerous theories on how to succeed with a transformation effort and, in past few years, there has been a growing amount of research showing middle managers' vital role in an organizational change success. Because of their position in the organizational hierarchy, they can be of great help to top management in operationalizing their strategic decision downward and supporting the employees below them. Extensive research evidences how important it is for middle managers to commit to and lead change efforts. Both qualitative and quantitative research have provided findings on what impact middle managers can have on a change process. This study aims to contribute to existing research on middle managers' work in organizational change by exploring their perceptions of an ongoing change process and evaluating their buy-in to the change and in what ways they feel enabled to lead in the change. An abductive approach has been adopted and interpreted through a hermeneutic perspective. Six semi structured interviews were conducted with middle managers at a global professional service firm. The empirical data has been analyzed using thematic analysis and interpreted based on theories on sensemaking in organizations and Kotter's (1996) theory on leading change.

The results showed that the middle managers perceive they are responsible for four main areas: executing their normal job and responsibilities, implementing changes in their functional area, personally accepting and understanding the change, and leading their team through change. They had a clear understanding of the purpose of the change but clarity was needed in regards to the change plan and its benefits which would enable commitment to the change. Factors impacting the middle managers' role and commitment were: understanding of the change purpose, benefits, and plan, lack of information regarding the change benefits and plan, effective communication with allowance for personal conversations and feedback alleys, level of participation, and leadership delegation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Series
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier
Keywords [en]
organizational change, middle managers, commitment to change, change leaders, perception of purpose and benefits
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-378217OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-378217DiVA, id: diva2:1293298
Subject / course
Adult and Working Life Education, Advanced Course C
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Human Resource Management and Working Life
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-04 Created: 2019-03-04 Last updated: 2019-03-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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