Implementing strategy? Don't forget the middle managers : Strategy implementation from a middle management perspective
Sammanfattning: Business strategy in itself is a well-known concept in today’s academic literature and extensive research on strategy formulation can easily be found. Strategy implementation on the other hand has not been researched to the same extent. This seems to be contradictory when one takes into consideration that effective and efficient strategy implementation has been proven to have an incredibly large impact on the success of any firm, company or organisation. Furthermore, no strategy will be beneficial for a company if it cannot be implemented. Adding to the complexity of this situation, middle management has long been disregarded concerning the strategy process or even thought to be detrimental. However, in recent years there has been a shift and research has started to recognise the importance of middle managers. The thesis aims to provide a deeper understanding of how middle management actively operates when implementing strategy. By doing so the thesis may be of value for middle managers and companies working with strategy, by increasing awareness about middle management’s influence on the strategy implementation process. This thesis is partially exploratory and partially descriptive with a qualitative and deductive nature. In order to answer the purpose, a research strategy of case studies was used where empirical data was collected from interviews held with six different middle managers. An implementation process model that described the different phases of strategy execution and supporting activities surrounding implementation was created. The developed implementation framework had its foundation in previous research concerning strategy implementation from an organisational perspective. The data that was collected from the middle managers was then analysed and compared to the model. By modifying the implementation process model using the information received from the middle managers a verified implementation process model was created which takes into account the middle management perspective. The most important findings suggest that middle managers are important for the implementation process. An implementation process model from a middle management perspective has been developed which presents the phases of execution and what impact middle managers have during the course of the implementation. The findings further suggest that middle management can increase the successfulness of a strategy if allowed influence from start to finish.
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