Eric Anicich and Jacob Hirsh posit the argument that middle-level managers are subjected to extensive strain as far as the issue of power dynamics is concerned. Being assistant professors in the field of human resource and organization management, the two authors of the article take up a critical perspective of interrelationships and how middle-level managers get to deal with it in organizations. According to the article, middle-level managers interact differently with their superiors compared to when they are interacting with the subordinates (Anicich and Hirsh, 2017). Interaction with their superiors will prompt them to adhere to a differential low-power behavioral approach. On the other hand, interaction with their subordinates will require them to apply an assertive high-power behavioral approach. In cases where a middle-level manager fails to adhere to this concept, it is highly likely to cause conflict in the organization.
When Middle Managers Transition
When middle managers transition from one interaction to another, they are likely to get stuck between different stakeholder groups. This is based on the fact that the expectations and norms that are linked to the tenets of leadership are different compared to the expectations and norms of being a subordinate. In the long run, the switch from one role to another might eventually take a toll on the managers. However, the article recommends certain elements that may ease the burden that middle-level managers experience. These recommendations include: (1) ensuring that the reporting structure is simplified in order to minimize downward and upward interactions; (2) evaluate the networks through which different employees in different roles connect with each other and what this network implies in the organization’s power dynamics; (3) train the managers to view their roles as integrated and not simply segmented; (4) top management should avoid micromanaging middle managers; (5) embrace an egalitarian organization culture and (6) ensure each employee play their role. This approach will allow middle managers to be relatively more efficient.
Anicich, E.M. & Hirsh, J.B. (2017) Why being a middle manager is so exhausting. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-being-a-middle-manager-is-so-exhausting. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.