Handbook of Middle Management Strategy Process Research
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Handbook of Middle Management Strategy Process Research

Edited by Steven W. Floyd and Bill Wooldridge

The premise of this volume is that the complex social processes that animate strategic decisions involve not only top-level executives, but also middle managers distributed throughout the organization. Designed for doctoral students and others interested in middle managers and strategy process, the Handbook integrates the threads of scholarly work in this domain and charts a course for future research. Chapters are written both by scholars who have ‘paved the way’ for the middle management perspective and scholars who have done recent, cutting edge research from this point of view.
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Chapter 5: Strategy-as-practice research on middle managers and sensemaking

Julia Balogun and Linda Rouleau


This chapter provides a review of strategy as practice research on middle management sensemaking and strategic change. It develops an organizing framework that identifies existing contributions and high-priority research issues. The authors note that, consistent with its emphasis on what managers do, to date most middle management strategy-as-practice (SAP) research has focused on processes underlying middle managers’ interpretation of strategic change. They argue that more work is needed exploring temporal linkages and related constructs such as “sensegiving” and “sensebreaking.” The chapter concludes by outlining an agenda for future SAP middle management sensemaking research. Studies examining how sensemaking occurs both within and between managers, the limits of shared sensemaking, and the impact of emotions and social loyalties are highlighted. The chapter serves as a useful primer on SAP middle management research and encourages new innovative research by articulating a broadened research agenda.

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