The Role of Middle Managers in Harnessing Complexity Reconciling and Mastering Role Conflicts: Individual Level Absorptive Capacity and the Moderating Effects of Social Capital and The Organizational Context
01 / 2010 - 01 / 2014
Increasingly complex organizations set in dynamic environments depend on their middle managers as essential change agents in strategic renewal processes. Nevertheless, very few studies have investigated this role of middle managers in particular in the organizational learning and strategy process literature. First of all, drawing on role theory this leaves room for an enhanced conceptualization of middle managers role conflicts in terms of concurrent, paradoxical cognitive and behavioral demands. Next, by focusing on learning, problem solving, and motivational mechanisms I link individual level absorptive capacity to middle managers ability to reconcile and master cognitive and behavioral role conflicts. Given the ever more crucial role of boundary-spanning middle managers, it is essential to understand which processes make them effective and how these processes are contingent on their work context. Hence, I consider the moderating effects of structural and relational dimensions of social capital, thereby giving credence to the embeddedness of middle managers behaviors. In a multilevel study in this nascent area of research I aim to examine both conceptually and empirically the cross-level moderation effects of the organizational context in terms of structural differentiation, centralization, and resource munificence as well as interdependency.