Intended or unintended strategy? The activities of middle managers in strategy implementation


Christie, A. and Tippman, E. 2024. Intended or unintended strategy? The activities of middle managers in strategy implementation. Long Range Planning. 57 (Art. 102410).
AuthorsChristie, A. and Tippman, E.

When top managers task middle managers with implementing strategies, those strategies are often executed in a deviated form, which leads to the creation of unintended strategies. Despite much research on middle managers and their role and behaviors in strategy implementation, there is still only a limited understanding of the implementation activities that result in intended and unintended strategies. Using a strategy-as-practice perspective and interviews with 40 middle managers about 122 strategy implementations, we investigate strategy implementation activities and develop a model of middle manager activities in strategy implementation. We find that seven of the ten activities differ in frequency between intended and unintended strategies. This study extends the strategy implementation literature by conceptualizing a critical link in how different strategy implementation outcomes come about. We also broaden the middle management perspective in strategy by extending the range of activities that explain middle managers’ engagement with strategy and differentiating them across two strategy implementation outcomes.

JournalLong Range Planning
Journal citation57 (Art. 102410)
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Online28 Dec 2023
Print02 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Apr 2024
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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License: CC BY-NC 4.0
File access level: Anyone

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