Dual Role as a Middle Manager

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Research Method

This chapter begins with giving a general presentation of different methodology direc-tions that can be used when writing a thesis. Thereafter, the chosen method is presented followed by a description of the research design and data collection. Also, the case study are introduced together with how the respondents involved were chosen. The chapter ends arguing for the method for analysing the data.


The method is a tool for reaching the goals within a study (Holme & Solvang, 1997). Methodology is a matter of strategy (Smith, 1978). In order to conduct a research the researcher must be methodologically wise (Denzin, 2009). This means to have an aware-ness of the design of the investigation, the importance of a theoretical system and the nature of inference (Denzin, 2009).
There are several directions for a research to take. However, there are two main directions called positivism and hermeneutic (Thurén, 2007). Positivism is testing of hypotheses (Eriksson 1997). One aspect of positivism is that the new data collected will not affect already existing theories (Bell, 2006). Hermeneutic is emphasising a deeper understand-ing based on assumptions and own believes (Thurén, 2007). In order to find an appropri-ate method for the stated research purpose and questions methodologies than positivism and hermeneutic is needed to be considered.
However, in this thesis the social constructionist paradigm is used as a base methodology. Within this paradigm the interpretative assumption is chosen. This method is based on observations and interpretations which means that information is collected and then in-terpreted in order to make a meaning and a match between gained information and theo-ries studied (Thomas, 2010).
Since this thesis will be focusing a getting a deeper understanding about how the middle manager act when implementing organisational changes interpretationism is well fitted to the purpose. Since it has been needed to do interpretations in order to see if the actions of the manager had been leading to success or not. Also, interviews intended to be inter-preted and analysed have been conducted. Interpretationism is connected to hermeneutics (Aspers, Fuehrer & Sverrisson, 2004) but is much more fitted to this thesis since, the purpose is to interpret human feelings and actions (Thurén, 2007).


There cannot be said to be good and bad methods, but only more or less effective ones under the circumstances in reaching the goals with the thesis and the objectives along the way (Smith, 1978). The method chosen for this thesis is interpretionism. An interpretive research is conducting the belief that there are no correct or incorrect theorems it is an evaluation of interests (Walsham, 1993). This was keep in mind while choosing the ap-propriate approaches for conducting this thesis.
When striving for interpretionism the need of a well formulated analysis is stressed and also getting a deeper understanding about the experiences of the individuals studied (Thomas, 2010). It is common to use interviews when collecting data and then a subjec-tive relationship between the interviewer and respondent is held (Aspers, Fuehrer & Sverrisson, 2004). This has be the base within this thesis in order to gain valid results that would be able to use when comparing theory and practise and draw conclusions.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

When conducting scientific research, there are two different strategies that can be used resulting in two different directions; qualitative and quantitative method (Holme & Sol-vang, 1997). Qualitative research seek insights in mainly verbal data about what people feel instead of using measurements and numbers (Bax, 2013). Contrary, the quantitative research measure a sample of the population in order to quantify behaviour measured in percentage, values and numbers (Wrench, 2013). In turn, the qualitative research fills gaps with likely meanings instead of measure in numbers (Thurén, 2007). The overall goal of the qualitative research is however to search for a deeper societal understanding in how individuals, organisations or other factors are effecting the structure and each other (Holme & Solvang, 1997), (Bauer & Gaskell, 2000).
In the case of this thesis the qualitative method has been chosen. This since the purpose of this thesis in not to measure gaining numerical results but to get a deeper understanding about the actions of the middle managers. Also, when conducting a qualitative study re-searcher must not be keeping a distance to the respondent as when conducting a quanti-tative study, instead the meaning is to get to know what the object is feeling and being subjective, interpretive, diagnostic and impressionistic (Bax, 2013). This is well fitted to the methodology of interpretationism selected for this thesis.

Inductive, Deductive or Abductive

The qualitative and quantitative methods have different ways of being performed called inductive and deductive (Saunders, et al. 2007). If using a deductive method the research is based on a concern of the relationship between empirical knowledge and theory with a hypothesis being tested (Heit & Rotello, 2010). Contrary, the inductive method consists of observations being linked to theory in order to construct a new theoretical approach (Ketokivi & Mantere, 2010). For example a qualitative research is often inductive and can in turn not be used when taking decisions concerning investments (Bax, 2013).
However, there are also relevant to consider the combination of inductive and deductive, called the abductive approach, this since there may not be easy to choose one over the other in many cases (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). When taking the purpose of this thesis into consideration one cannot say that it is just an inductive or deductive study.
Therefore, the combination approach concerning the abductive approach has been taken. In order to conduct the research of this thesis a comparison with theory was needed related to the inductive approach. At the same time an interpretation about the reality of the ac-tions of the middle managers needed to be practised in order to connect to the method of interpretionism chosen. This lead to the application of an abductive approach.

Cross-Sectional vs. Longitudinal

In the case of this thesis a longitudinal approach is chosen for the study. This because a longitudinal approach is used when using planned studies over a longer time period (Snelgrove, 2014). This is often used when doing a qualitative study (Bauer & Gaskell, 2000). In the case of this study, the organisational changes made is observed in different points in time, both past experiences and current situations is interpreted. The middle managers have recently experienced the same organisational changes but with different past experiences. In order to evaluate their change implementation strategy it is crucial to consider how they handled the information given to them in the beginning of the change process, how they implemented the changes and then what outcomes being seen today.
The longitudinal approach can be compared to the cross- sectional approach used when conducting a research at a single point in time (Rindfleish et al, 2007). This is not to be considered in the case of this thesis since implementation of change is a process needed to be evaluated in many steps and in different points in time.

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Specification of the Problem
1.3 Purpose
1.4 Perspective
1.5 Delimitation
1.6 Definitions
1.7 Contribution
2 Theoretical Framework 
2.1 Dual Role as a Middle Manager
2.2 The Way to Successful Change
2.3 Handeling Unexpected Change
2.4 Reducing Resistance to Change
2.5 A Model Based on the Theoretical Framework
3 Research Method 
3.1 Methodology
3.2 Method
3.3 Research Design
3.4 Data Collection
3.5 Data Analysis
3.6 Summary of Methods Used Linked to Empirical Study
4 Findings 
4.1 Maria, the Middle Manager Leading a Stable Team
4.2 Ylva, the Middle Manager Dealing with Hard Emotions
4.3 Tobias, the Middle Manager Leading for the First Time
4.4 Andreas, the Middle Manager Being in Love with Change
5 Analysis 
5.1 Resistance
5.2 The Change Process
5.3 The Role of the Middle Manager
6 Conclusion
6.1 Table Connected to the Mode
7 Discussion
7.1 Relevance of the Study
7.2 Theoretical and Practical Contribution
7.3 Ethical and Social Issues
7.4 Limitations
7.5 Suggestions for Further Research
Leading Change From the Middle

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