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The contingent role of management and leadership development for middle managers: cases of organisational change from the public services

McGurk, Patrick (2011) The contingent role of management and leadership development for middle managers: cases of organisational change from the public services. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the contribution of management and leadership development (MLD) for middle managers. Its central hypothesis is that MLD plays an important role in enabling strategic change through middle managers, but that greater contextualisation is required to understand the precise nature of its effects and its limitations. The thesis builds on organisational contingency theory (Mintzberg 1979) to develop and test a model of changes to middle management roles and associated outcomes of MLD. The thesis differentiates between the MLD options of management development, leader development and leadership development (Day 2001) and hypothesises a range of MLD outcomes across organisational types. For its empirical base, the thesis focuses on public service organisations (PSOs), in which substantial investments in MLD have been made at all levels of management in recent years. Three case studies show how, as PSOs seek greater flexibility, the devolution of a broader range of responsibilities to middle managers creates various development needs according to different directions of organisational change. The thesis finds that: i) when the machine bureaucracy divisionalises, investment in line management training makes a significant contribution to organisational stability, while leader development is most effective in the customer-facing divisions of the business; ii) when the safety bureaucracy professionalises, investment in competence-based management development and leader development can successfully promote more participatory forms of management, but that the potential for political obstacles to MLD is accentuated; and iii) when the professional bureaucracy adhocratises, investment in MLD makes a significant contribution to balancing ongoing organisational effectiveness with the building of adaptive capacity for the future. The thesis adds to academic knowledge of MLD options and their expected outcomes. The thesis also develops the academic literature by contextualising changes to middle management roles and explaining the contingent role of MLD in organisational change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Patrick McGurk
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Marsden, David
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/277

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