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 13: Middle management and strategy process: toward a pluralistic theory of power

Torsten Schmid


This chapter suggests an “alternative template” approach as a method for adding new insight into empirical phenomena. The chapter begins with a review of the literature on power and middle managers’ role in strategy making, organized around three key themes: middle managers as resisters of top-down strategy, middle managers as politically skilled change agents, and strategic empowerment. Following this review, the chapter presents an empirically derived case vignette to examine middle management power dynamics through three alternative theoretical lenses. This pluralistic approach demonstrates the utility of examining phenomena through multiple lenses to challenge, enrich and elaborate extant knowledge. This thinking is used to introduce three research “moves” (enriching, problematizing and elaborating) that add new insight into the middle management perspective and advance the emergence of a pluralistic theory of power.

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