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Title: The importance and influence of middle management on organisational culture change : an action research study
Author: Nieswandt, Martina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 0843
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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This doctoral thesis explores the influence of middle management on cultural change processes in organisations. An action research strategy in a medium-sized organisation that was facing broad structural and cultural change was adopted. It is well-documented in the literature that the position top management takes with respect to cultural change is of high importance for successful change. At the same time, the role of middle management seems to have lacked attention until recently. The purpose of this work is to contribute to knowledge about middle management during such processes and to explore the roles middle-managers play within such cultural change. In addition it researches if middle managers take over the explored roles, when the organisation creates an environment that supports cultural change. Middle management is mainly discussed in the literature in the context of strategic change. In the context of organisational culture research with a middle management perspective still seems to be missing. Using a critical realist philosophical approach an action research strategy was adopted. The practical part reveals the action cycles undertaken. First, the action research cycles according to the consultancy work are presented, as they form an important basis for the parallel conducted thesis cycles. Actions and data collection methods are discussed. During the research different methods have been chosen to create an extensive picture of the development inside the organisation, and to answer the research questions: three qualitative interviews, participative observations on six occasions (workshops and meetings), as well as two quantitative questionnaires (staff surveys). The findings suggest that an organisational culture change occurred in the time-span of two years and that middle management played a crucial part within this process. Several roles can be located with the role 'cultural role model' as the most important one. In addition, the roles middle management play as part of strategic changes according to various literatures was in the main confirmed. These findings contribute to knowledge about middle management and help to minimise the existing gap. The results can be used to develop a model of integrating middle managers actively into the change process and using their creative potential. The thesis finishes with recommendations, not only for further research but also concerning practical considerations. Furthermore, limitations of this research work are outlined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available