Entrepreneurial behavior of middle managers (MMs) constitutes a key driver of corporate entrepreneurship but its antecedents remain poorly understood. Drawing on the corporate entrepreneurship and social network literatures, this study develops a multilevel model of initiative-taking behavior by MMs. Our results, based on data collected from 383 MMs and 72 senior executives in 34 business units, signified network brokerage as a necessary but insufficient condition for enhancing personal initiative. Brokerage only increased initiative when MMs had accumulated political capital through supportive ties with senior executives. Further, the brokerage—personal initiative relationship was stronger in units with strong context facilitating trust and support but weaker in units with high internal connectedness. By showing that the link between MMs’ network position and personal initiative varies substantially across different business unit contexts, our study demonstrates the value of examining the cross- level interplay of contextual and individual characteristics and behaviors. Our findings provide new insights into the contextual contingencies that enable or constrain MMs in leveraging their broker positions for pursuing corporate entrepreneurial behavior.

doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2015.244, hdl.handle.net/1765/101239
ERIM Top-Core Articles
75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2015
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Glaser, L., Stam, W., Elfring, T., & Fourné, S. (2015). When brokerage is not enough: A multilevel investigation of middle managers' initiative. In 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2015 (pp. 551–556). doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2015.244