IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Role Expectations and Middle Manager Strategic Agency


  • Saku Mantere


Based on an analysis of 262 interviews, I argue that role expectations have the potential to both enable and constrain middle manager strategic agency. To explain why the same role expectations have contradictory effects on agency, I analyse enabling conditions corresponding to four strategic role expectations, based on Floyd and Wooldridge's work on middle manager roles. After presenting eight enabling conditions for strategic agency, specific to the four role expectations, I argue that the dominant functionalist view of strategic roles should be augmented from a middle manager viewpoint. I suggest a reciprocal view of strategic role expectations, which elucidates the tensions between dialogue, legitimacy and rationality within a set of strategic roles. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Saku Mantere, 2008. "Role Expectations and Middle Manager Strategic Agency," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 294-316, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:45:y:2008:i:2:p:294-316

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Saku Mantere, 2013. "What Is Organizational Strategy? A Language-Based View," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(8), pages 1408-1426, December.
    2. F. Grazzini, 2010. "Processus de constitution des rôles managériaux dans la formation de la stratégie – une lecture ancrée dans la théorie des représentations sociales," Post-Print halshs-00534813, HAL.
    3. Cécile Godé & Pierre Barbaroux, 2009. "Gérer dans la complexité: quels rôles pour les technologies de collaboration?," Post-Print hal-00386399, HAL.
    4. Corrado Cuccurullo & Federico Lega, 2013. "Effective strategizing practices in pluralistic settings: the case of Academic Medical Centers," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 17(3), pages 609-629, August.
    5. repec:hal:gemwpa:hal-00864332 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Maria Lusiani & Ann Langley, 2013. "Professionals as strategists? Channelling and organizing distributed strategizing," Working Papers 32, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/15193 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Polzin, Friedemann & von Flotow, Paschen & Klerkx, Laurens, 2016. "Addressing barriers to eco-innovation: Exploring the finance mobilisation functions of institutional innovation intermediaries," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 34-46.
    9. Stéphanie Dameron & Christophe Torset, 2014. "The Discursive Construction of Strategists' Subjectivities: Towards a Paradox Lens on Strategy," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 291-319, March.
    10. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:7:p:961-985 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Julia Balogun & Claus Jacobs & Paula Jarzabkowski & Saku Mantere & Eero Vaara, 2014. "Placing Strategy Discourse in Context: Sociomateriality, Sensemaking, and Power," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 175-201, March.
    12. Marko Reimer & Sebastiaan Van Doorn & Mariano L. M. Heyden, 2016. "Managers and management control systems in the strategy process," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 121-127, May.
    13. Florence Allard-Poesi, 2015. "Dancing in the dark: Making sense of managerial roles during strategic conversations," Post-Print hal-01490734, HAL.
    14. Florence Allard-Poesi, 2015. "Dancing in the Dark: Making Sense of Managerial Roles during Strategic Conversations," Working Papers hal-01145772, HAL.
    15. Cees B. M. van Riel & Guido Berens & Majorie Dijkstra, 2009. "Stimulating Strategically Aligned Behaviour Among Employees," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(7), pages 1197-1226, November.
    16. Tucker, Danielle A. & Hendy, Jane & Barlow, James, 2016. "The dynamic nature of social accounts: An examination of how interpretive processes impact on account effectiveness," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 6079-6087.
    17. Thomas Schaefer & Thomas Guenther, 2016. "Exploring strategic planning outcomes: the influential role of top versus middle management participation," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 205-249, May.
    18. Tamim Elbasha & Alex Wright, 2017. "Reconciling structure and agency in strategy -as-practice research: Towards a strong- structuration theory approach," Post-Print hal-01557268, HAL.
    19. repec:eee:touman:v:51:y:2015:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Esther Tippmann & Pamela Sharkey Scott & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "Stimulating Knowledge Search Routines and Architecture Competences: The Role of Organizational Context and Middle Management," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00864332, HAL.
    21. Paula Jarzabkowski & Julia Balogun, 2009. "The Practice and Process of Delivering Integration through Strategic Planning," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(8), pages 1255-1288, December.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:45:y:2008:i:2:p:294-316. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.