Essay on Middle Management Role

Words: 3398
Pages: 14

Organizational theory and leadership.

Report on the paper:

Dinosaurs or dynamos? Recognizing middle management’s strategic role

In this report we present a concise description and analysis of a study by Steven W. Floyd and Bill Wooldridge. The paper’s main interest is to show a new perspective on the importance of the middle managers in an organization.

Some years ago middle managers were a critical part of the growth of a company, every time that growth or expansion was necessary top managers simply added workers at the bottom and filled in management layers above. This layering technique quickly type casted middle managers as “plan and control” employees. However since the late 1980s growth and expansion has slowed greatly
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Figure 1. A typology of Middle Management Roles in Strategy (Floyd & Woodridge

According to their categorization, middle managers’ role is to communicate between the operating and top levels of management in the forms of championing, facilitating, synthesizing, and implementing.

Of the four main roles by Floyd and Wooldridge, the middle managers we interviewed experienced the role of implementing deliberate strategy as their main role. This role has a downward and integrative influence. The behavior relating to this role was typically concretizing the strategy to the personnel.

The second common role in the middle managers’ opinion was to facilitate adaptability, with divergent influence directing downward. The middle manager in this role acted as facilitator of change, removed obstacles like contradictory goals, and ensured the required resources.

The roles with upward influence were less common. In the role of synthesizing the middle manager evaluated effectiveness of the actions that had been implemented, and communicated the feedback upwards. The role of championing was typically bringing innovations upwards in the organization. The managers who adopted this role participated in the vision creation, brought their unit or group’s view in the strategy work. In this role, the challenging part was the effectiveness of this participation: to some extent, the interviewees had doubts whether their ideas had any