‘Should I stay or should I go?’ : exploring leadership-as-practice in the middle management role

Kempster, Steve and Gregory, Sarah (2017) ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ : exploring leadership-as-practice in the middle management role. Leadership, 13 (4). pp. 496-515. ISSN 1742-7150

[thumbnail of Should I stay Middle manager leadership practice 9th Sept]
PDF (Should I stay Middle manager leadership practice 9th Sept)
Should_I_stay_Middle_manager_leadership_practice_9th_Sept.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (421kB)


This article explores dilemmas in middle manager work through the perspective of leadership-as-practice. An autoethnographic account is outlined of how a dilemma is addressed by a middle manager. The account shows how a dilemma faced by a middle manager needs to be understood as situated within the flow of activity that is itself nested in a context of roles and relationships as well as the strategic context. The authors show how the outcome of the dilemma became accommodated within the emergent practice in the organisation with no sense of recognition of the dilemma’s impact. The notion of middle manager agency within leadership-as-practice is explored through aspects of moral disengagement. The article problematizes two aspects: firstly, that normative ethical theorizing that has been unable to cater for the complexity of middle manager work seen through the practice lens; second, that traditional notions of leadership as ’leader’ appears absent from the narrative, yet seen through the lens of leadership-as-practice, with attention to context, agency, activity and outcomes, a very different perspective can be seen. Finally, the article gives insight and structure to researching leadership-as-practice.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Leadership, 13 (4), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Leadership page:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? middle managerleadership-as-practicemoral disengagementautoethnography strategy and managementsociology and political sciencediscipline-based research ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 Sep 2015 11:05
Last Modified:
03 Mar 2024 01:17