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Empowering Middle Managers to be Transformational Leaders

The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
  • Design


The article describes a field study of a large-scale management development program designed to stimulate middle managerial change. The development of a change typology suggests that middle managers are capable of making both transformational and transactional change targeted at themselves, their work unit, and their organization. Those with low levels of self-esteem, job affect, and social support tended to limit their efforts to changing themselves and thus had little impact on the organization. In contrast, individuals with high levels of self-esteem, job affect, and social support were more likely to make transformational changes. Thus the analyses suggest that individual mind-set prior to attending the program moderates the type of change undertaken by the middle managers. The most surprising finding is that those middle managers who were plateaued were most likely to make the most radical changes. The findings have implications for change mastery as well as resistance to change.

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