What drives middle managers to search for new strategic initiatives and champion them to top management? This behavior—labeled divergent strategic behavior—spawns emergent strategies and thereby provides one of the essential ingredients of strategic renewal. We conceptualize divergent strategic behavior as a response to performance feedback. Data from 123 senior middle managers overseeing 21 multi-country organizations (MCOs) of a Fortune 500 firm point to social performance comparisons rather than historical comparisons in driving divergent strategic behavior. Moreover, managers’ organizational identification affects whether they attend to organizational- or individual-level feedback. These results contribute to research on performance aspirations and strategy process by providing a multilevel, multidimensional framework of performance aspirations in middle management driven strategic renewal.

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doi.org/10.1002/smj.2745, hdl.handle.net/1765/106440
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Strategic Management Journal
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Tarakci, M., Ates, N., Floyd, S., Ahn, Y., & Wooldridge, B. (2018). Performance Feedback and Middle Managers’ Divergent Strategic Behavior. Strategic Management Journal, 39(4), 1139–1162. doi:10.1002/smj.2745