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Energizing middle managers' practice in organizational learning

McKenzie, J. ORCID: and Varney, S. (2018) Energizing middle managers' practice in organizational learning. The Learning Organization, 25 (6). pp. 383-398. ISSN 0969-6474

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/TLO-06-2018-0106


Purpose This paper aims to consider middle managers' influence on organizational learning by exploring how they cope with demands and tensions in their role and whether their practice affects available team energy. Design/methodology/approach In total, 43 managers from three large organizations involved in major change assessed their group's energy using a tested and validated instrument, the OEQ12©. This generated six distinct categories of team energy, from highly productive to corrosive. Thirty-four of these managers, spread across the six categories, completed a Twenty Statements Test and a follow-up interview to explore their cognitive, affective and behavioural responses to coping with resource constraints and tensions in their role. Findings The research provides preliminary insights into what distinguishes a middle manager persona co-ordinating teams with highly productive energy from those managing groups with less available energy to engage with knowledge and learning. It considers why these distinctions may affect collective sensitivities in the organizational learning process. Research limitations/implications Informants were not equally distributed across the six team energy categories; therefore, some middle manager personas are more indicative than others. Practical implications This research suggests areas where middle manager development could potentially improve organizational learning. Originality/value This study offers early empirical evidence that middle managers' orientation to their role is entangled with the process of energizing their teams in organizational learning during change.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:80671
Uncontrolled Keywords:Organizational learning, Middle managers, Organizational energy


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