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Managing Change, or Changing Managers? The role of middle managers in UK public service reform

Managing Change, or Changing Managers? The role of middle managers in UK public service reform AbstractDrawing upon interview data from three case study organizations, we examine the role of middle managers in UK public service reform. Using theory fragments from organizational ecology and role theory, we develop three role archetypes that middle managers might be enacting. We find that rather than wholesale enactment of a ‘change agent’ role, middle managers are balancing three predominant, but often conflicting, change-related roles: as ‘government agent’, ‘diplomat administrator’ and, less convincingly, ‘entrepreneurial leader’. Central government targets are becoming the main preoccupation for middle managers across many public services and they represent a dominant constraint on allowing ‘managers to manage’. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Management Review Taylor & Francis

Managing Change, or Changing Managers? The role of middle managers in UK public service reform

22 pages

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References (48)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1471-9045
eISSN
1471-9037
DOI
10.1080/14719037.2014.895028
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractDrawing upon interview data from three case study organizations, we examine the role of middle managers in UK public service reform. Using theory fragments from organizational ecology and role theory, we develop three role archetypes that middle managers might be enacting. We find that rather than wholesale enactment of a ‘change agent’ role, middle managers are balancing three predominant, but often conflicting, change-related roles: as ‘government agent’, ‘diplomat administrator’ and, less convincingly, ‘entrepreneurial leader’. Central government targets are becoming the main preoccupation for middle managers across many public services and they represent a dominant constraint on allowing ‘managers to manage’.

Journal

Public Management ReviewTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 14, 2015

Keywords: Middle managers; organizational change; structural inertia; role theory; UK public services

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