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


Hor Kam Peng
Business Consultant, Malaysia

Change Management Starts in the Middle

Couldn't agree with you more, Marl! Top Management is expected to lead the change and best implement... Sign up

Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa

Middle-out Change Management

I agree entirely with your hypothesis and suggest it could be accurately named "Middle Spread Manage... Sign up

Sonny Vicente
Coach, Philippines

Change-readiness, a Crucial Factor

I agree that organizational change would have to be two pronged. Support from the top and buy-in fro... Sign up

Kathy Hevey
Management Consultant, United States

Mid-Managers Make it Happen or Not

I agree. Middle Managers can make or break a change initiative. They need to understand the reasons ... Sign up

Student (MBA), South Africa

Role of Middle Managers in Organizational Change

A locomotive is never directed by the middle coaches. The middle coaches are controlled by the engin... Sign up

Barney Wade Howard
Manager, United States

Interpreters in General

Good article. I see middle managers sometimes as "interpreters" of the laws. In my organization, new... Sign up

Gary Stead
Director, United Kingdom

The 'Squeezed Middle'

OK - this title may best be recognized in UK! Acting as a global change agent (sounds great) I propo... Sign up

Rebecca Roe
United States

Stuck in the Middle

It all depends on what you are changing. Only those working in a culture can relate to taking a conc... Sign up

Sithembiso Mkhwanazi
Project Manager, South Africa

Selecting the Right Change Management Approach

I support Gary & Rebecca. Surely a change in any organisation starts with a concept, and is careful... Sign up

Sudarshan Ramaiah, India

Middle Management: One Key Role to Achieve Organizational Change

As per my opinion, organizational change is very much needed to survive in today's competitive world... Sign up

j.a. karman
ICT Consultant, Netherlands

Levels 2, 3, and 4 are Often More the Cause of Problems than Being the Solutions

The assumption is the middle management is in a position to contribute to desired change in a bottom... Sign up

Fillemon Nangolo Hambuda
HR Consultant, Namibia

Middle Managers as Catalyst

Even though I wholeheartedly agree with your theory, I suggest that middle management can only do so... Sign up

Rebecca Roe
United States

Tips for Success

@J. A. Karman: I agree with you JA in that most middle managers are 1) not given full support by upp... Sign up

Paul Steele
Consultant, Australia

Middle Managers - Change Agents

There are many good points here made by many of the contributors. Middle managers are the linch pins... Sign up

Dr zahra gheidar
Consultant, Iran

Each Organization Has a Wave Pattern!!! It is Unique!!

Organizations, to achieve success, should consider all factors. They need all elements. In each orga... Sign up

Analyst, Zimbabwe

Middle Management as Drivers of Change

There is need for the executives to buy-in. This is the only way that their energy can be transferre... Sign up

Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa

Drivers of Transformation and its Implementation

So much has been written about where transformation is best introduced into an organisation that I t... Sign up

Analyst, Zimbabwe

Organisation Transformation

Andrew, what you are saying is very correct. The process has to be initiated from somewhere, and it'... Sign up

Paul Steele
Consultant, Australia

Bottom-up Approach to Organisational Change

Agreed, middle managers are the linch pin in the organisation. Politics weigh a heavy influence at t... Sign up


Why Involve Middle Managers in Change Effort

You seek the buy-in and/or wins of the middle managers on your side first before you attempt to impl... Sign up


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