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Acta Commercii

On-line version ISSN 1684-1999
Print version ISSN 2413-1903


SURJU, Junitha; DE METZ, Nadine  and  DAVIS, Annemarie. The strategising roles of public sector middle managers. Acta Commer. [online]. 2020, vol.20, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 1684-1999.

ORIENTATION: Whilst research on middle managers has increased considerably, research on the role of middle managers in the public sector context remains a rich context for exploring strategising RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to explore the strategising roles of middle managers in the public sector through the strategy-as-practice perspective MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The article responds to calls for research using the strategy-as-practice perspective to explore the role of middle managers in the public sector. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The research adopted a qualitative exploratory case study design. The data was gathered using semi-structured interviews conducted with 14 middle managers at a selected government department. MAIN FINDINGS: The research findings confirm that the strategising roles of middle managers in the public sector comprise of three key roles: sense-making and sense-giving role, the implementation role and monitoring and evaluation role. Within the public sector context, strategies are mostly deliberate and driven from national plans. When middle managers `receive' these strategies, they make sense of it and then communicate the strategy to their subordinates through their own interpretations involving both horizontal and vertical communication channels PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings confirm benefits for involving middle managers in the crafting of high-level strategy in government departments which may lead to them owning the strategy and implementation thereof. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research adds value by confirming the middle managers' strategising roles within the chosen government department and identifying how changes to their roles can enhance strategising.

Keywords : public sector; government department; strategy-as-practice; strategising roles; middle manager.

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