Middle managers' uncertainty management during organizational change

Herzig, Sharyn E. & Jimmieson, Nerina L. (2006) Middle managers' uncertainty management during organizational change. The Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 27(8), pp. 628-645.

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This study aims to identify factors that facilitate or inhibit middle managers' experience of uncertainty management during organizational change.


The approach is qualitative and involved interviews with 40 middle managers from a range of organizations.


Analysis revealed that at the pre‐implementation stage, uncertainty focused on the strategic concept of the change, whereas at implementation, uncertainty related to the appropriate procedures to implement. Middle managers’ uncertainty management was found to be important in assisting their employees in the change transition. The factors identified as being either facilitators or barriers to uncertainty management focused on themes related to the design of change, communication with both senior management and their own staff, support from senior management, role conflict, and peer interaction. A model was created to link facilitators and barriers with uncertainty to guide future research.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for organizational change research along with practical implications are discussed.


This study provides insight into the positive contributions middle managers can make during change, along with suggesting what factors are facilitators or barriers to this positive role.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 85915
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Uncertainty Management, Middle Managers, Organizational change
DOI: 10.1108/01437730610709264
ISSN: 0143-7739
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2015 23:56
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2015 02:00

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