The Strategy Process: A Middle Management Perspective Defended on Friday, 17 January 2014

Organizations must get middle managers on board in order to successfully put strategy into action. Middle managers are key strategic players in organizations due their close connection to daily operations and their reach to higher echelons. Unless these managers develop a shared understanding of and are committed to the organizational strategic goals, organizations are unlikely to realize their strategies. This dissertation focuses on the psychological foundations of middle managers’ contribution to the strategy process by investigating their strategic cognitions, leadership and fairness perceptions.


In this dissertation, we develop a new method that provides a more comprehensive analysis of strategic consensus within and between organizational units (chapter 2), challenge the popular perception of managers’ transformational leadership as a solely positive phenomenon in strategy implementation (chapter 3), and examine the drivers of middle managers’ strategic alignment and commitment (chapter 4). Our results equip researchers with the necessary tools for integrative theory building in managerial and organizational cognition, reveal the dark-side of transformational leadership that is contingent upon the strategic alignment of the manager, and highlight the importance of middle managers’ fairness perceptions about strategy making. We also look into the repeated testing problem and recommend strategies and tools to cope with this problem (chapters 5 and 6). Consequently, this dissertation extends the reach of organizational psychology and organizational behavior in strategy research by contributing to the strategy process, managerial cognition and behavioral strategy research streams.


strategy process; middle managers; behavioral strategy; transformational leadership; procedural fairness; managerial cognition; strategic consensus; strategic alignment; research methods; repeated (multiple) testing

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