The role of middle management in strategy execution : a case study in a consulting engineering firm
Thesis (MBA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2010.
Strategy execution is a notorious challenge. Research shows that only two thirds of the employees at the best companies agree that strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action. Organisations have to devote as much energy into getting execution right as they spend on crafting the direction for their business. Planning and implementation are inevitably joined at the hip, with the success at both these aspects insuring the success of the business. The sphere in which private companies operate is profit driven by nature, which requires thorough planning and communication throughout the organisation. Middle management plays a central role in these companies and, if this group is the weakest link, failure is likely to occur. In order to be able to study the role of middle management in an organisation susceptible to the challenges mentioned above, a South African consulting engineering firm has been identified as a case study. Findings from this research study can prove helpful to the case study organisation and others in understanding the process of strategic translation and execution at middle management level and identifying possible areas for improvement or refinement. In developing an understanding of middle management’s perception of the strategic process, sense can be made of how they translate it into tasks and responsibilities and ultimately the role they play in unfolding strategic plans in the implementation process. The findings from the study highlight the critical role performed by middle managers within the CEF. Data collected through the interviews indicate that middle management has a broad understanding of the organisation’s strategy and that the roles of middle management within the CEF as connectors, knowledge conveyors and sense-makers in the execution of the organisation’s strategy are vital in successful strategy implementation. Lastly, the utilisation of the experience gained through the strategy implementation process is debatable. The researcher concludes with a request for further research to determine the extent to which organisations utilise the implementation roles of middle managers to provide substance to strategy plans