University of Twente Student Theses


Putting strategy into practice : exploring the role of middle managers’ leadership behavior

Brunnekreeft, N.M. (2020) Putting strategy into practice : exploring the role of middle managers’ leadership behavior.

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Abstract:Many organizations are facing difficulties in implementing their strategy, or in other words, in putting their strategy into practice. It turns out that organizations realize only 60 percent of their strategies’ potential because of the poor execution of developed plans for strategic change (Mankins & Steele, 2005). Formulating strategy is difficult. Making strategy work - executing or implementing it throughout the organization - is even more difficult. Currently, we keep failing to fill in our gap in our knowledge of what implementation exactly means in terms of micro detail of the agency involved. As such, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the micro-level characteristics of strategy implementation. This study provides this deeper understanding by identifying which behaviors middle managers - aggregate practioners - should actually engage in order to put strategy into practice. Accordingly, the following research question is formulated: Which leadership behaviors should middle managers engage in order to put strategy into practice? In order to obtain empirical results, an exploratory case study was conducted in which the qualitative research method was adopted. Fifteen semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted among five different research groups. These research groups concerned middle managers and employees from all clusters within one business unit. In this research, a large number of leadership behaviors have been identified. It is noted that not necessarily one category of leadership behavior emerges as the most effective category. Effective behaviors in the implementation process therefore consist of a mix of task-, relation- and change-oriented behaviors. In this, both empirical and theoretical results show that passive behaviors do not support the implementation process. The empirical results show that there are more desired leadership behaviors than recognized in literature as effective behaviors in the strategy implementation process. By this, our knowledge of how aggregate practitioners - middle managers - should behave in relation to the implementation of strategy is extended. However, causal relationships should be established in future research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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