Start with Middle Management in your Change Approach

Bottom-up Approach
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Marl van der Toorn
Manager, Netherlands

Start with Middle Management in your Change Approach

Following up the discussion “Bottom-up Approach Towards Organizational Change” I think that even in a bottom-up or top-down approach, the key to achieving a successful change in a (large) organization, is the middle management. Without the commitment of those managers not much will happen.

Also according to Patrick McGurk (Sept 2011), "middle managers have traditionally been seen as the organisational ‘linking pins’ (Likert 1961), a view which is echoed in more recent research on managerial work by Mintzberg (2009: 138), who finds that middle management is the place in which the organisation best integrates its activities. Balogun (2003), identified middle managers as ‘change intermediaries’. In this study, middle managers played the dual role of interpreting and ‘making sense’ of organisational change, both for themselves and their teams, and balancing the pressures of managing continuity of service with the implementation of change".

Due to the above, I recommend to:
1. Introduce an idea/change at the middle management level in an early stage.
2. Educate and coach those managers on achieving group/organizational goals instead of personal/departmental goals.

Source: Patrick McGurk (Sept 2011) The Contingent Role of Management and Leadership Development for Middle Managers - Cases of Organisational Change from the Public Services


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