Middle Management’ Responses to Continuous Improvement Initiatives by Top Management

Freek J.A. Hermkens (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This essay demonstrates that leadership by top managers is important in creating a sense of urgency regarding the need for an organizational culture of continuous improvement. Middle managers cannot be successful on their own. They depend on the efforts of top management. For continuous improvement programs, the commitment, involvement and leadership of the entire management of the organization are critical. However if top management's behavior is not in line with what they say, middle managers cannot trust the change process and ultimately cannot cooperate. If top management thinks of continuous improvement from an integrated approach, this has a positive effect on the expectations of middle managers, who therefore believe that continuous improvement can be included in the organizational culture in a sustainable manner. Such an approach is more holistic, thereby helping to ensure that an organization does not end with “just another tool”, but with substantial improvements in behavior and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-176
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Social Sciences and Management Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2020


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