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Middle managers’ innovative work behavior and their social network position

A search on slippery ice
PhD ceremony:Mr T. (Tjeerd) Zandberg
When:July 06, 2020
Start:14:30
Supervisor:prof. dr. R.P.M. (Rafael) Wittek
Co-supervisor:dr. J.M.E. (Mark) Huisman
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Middle managers’ innovative work behavior and their social
network position

Central to this dissertation is the question why some middle managers are more innovative than others. This question has been examined from three related perspectives.

A primary role of middle managers consists of analyzing, processing and passing on information. Middle managers maintain intensive contacts with, among others, other middle managers. Therefore it has been investigated how the structure of a social network facilitates or limits innovative behavior. Secondly, it was investigated to what extent individual characteristics influence innovative behavior. Individual characteristics determine how a middle manager deals with opportunities and restraints. The third factor focuses on the complexity of modern organizations. Middle managers often operate in organizations with multiple locations that are at a certain distance from the head office and in complex partnerships such as franchising or joint ventures. Such complex structures influence the autonomy and thus possibly the innovative behavior of middle managers.

Three empirical studies have been carried out: Students of a business school, an international company with a complex organizational structure and multiple locations, and the administration of a municipality in Mexico City. In addition, a simulation study was carried out to determine an optimal strategy for dealing with missing data in the network analyses carried out.

The results suggest that innovative behavior of middle managers is likely to be influenced by individual differences in personality and goal orientation. Potential influences of network position were not found. Influence of organizational factors related to autonomy could not be identified.