Fostering Strategic Responsiveness: The Role of Middle Manager Involvement and Strategic Planning

Stefan Linder, Johanna Sax

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Today, long-term success requires firms to sense changes in their environments early and react efficiently to them. Increasing middle managers’ participation in decision-making about market-related and product-related questions has been suggested as one way of enhancing this strategic responsiveness; abandoning formal planning, such as annual budgets, has been another. Yet, empirical evidence on the matter is scarce and conflicting. Drawing on data from Denmark’s 500 largest firms, we show that participation of middle managers in decision-making about new products and markets to serve, in-deed, increases firms’ strategic responsiveness as assessed by a reduction in firms’ downside risk. However, this effect is not a direct one. Nor does it interact positively or negatively with the emphasis put on formal planning as submitted in literature. Our evidence suggests that emphasis on planning mediates the relation between stronger participation of middle managers in decision-making and the increase in firms’ strategic responsiveness. This has implications for ongoing theory building and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdapting to Environmental Challenges : New Research in Strategy and International Business
EditorsTorben Juul Andersen, Simon Sunn Torp
Number of pages29
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781839824777
ISBN (Electronic)9781839824760, 9781839824784
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Series Emerald Studies in Global Strategic Responsiveness


  • Strategic responsiveness
  • Adaptability
  • Downside Risk
  • Planning
  • Participation
  • Middle managers

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