"The Art of Good Business is being a good Middle Man"ager : ... In Growth Companies
The existing literature dealing with corporate growth in relation to lower level management is limited; instead the main focus in the past has been put on the top management perspec-tive. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to investigate and describe middle management in four growth companies. Middle management can be defined in many different ways, and the definition that has been applied in this thesis is; middle managers are working below the CEO and have a managing and/or leading position including responsibility for lower level managers and/or employees.
From the theoretical section we have created a model that connects the theories about cor-porate growth and middle management. Corporate growth includes growth strategies and growth influencers, whereas middle management discuss the managerial roles, leadership in connection to growth and modern leadership in connection to organizational structure, as well as communication, motivation, and organizational change.
Regarding the method used to fulfil the purpose of our thesis, we decided to conduct a qualitative study with face-to-face semi-structured interviews with ten middle managers at four companies. Our scientific approach is thus interpretive and our research approach is abductive. The selected companies have experienced an increase in the number of employees and turnover per year during five to ten years.
Finally, our findings resulted in a thorough description of the perceived growth strategies used at the respective companies resulting from the perceptions of the middle managers. In addition, we confirmed that most challenges in relation to growth that middle managers encountered are related to restructurings, changes in culture, uncertainty among employees, pressure to achieve profitable growth, as well as how to attract competent and highly edu-cated employees.
Moreover, in regards to the leadership styles practiced among middle managers, the mod-ern features seemed to dominate at all the investigated companies, and these could in some cases also be connected to a loose, idea based organization. Lastly, we believe that the mid-dle managers in our study have the possibility to influence growth either directly or indi-rectly depending on their positions. Directly through participating in the executive group for example, and indirectly though motivating and engaging the lower level managers to be innovative and reach the set out growth goals of the organization.
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