Leading Edge: Understanding How Leadership Styles of Middle Managers Promote Business Innovation

Gustaf Straht

Student thesis: Master thesis


Executive Summary: In contemporary business society, the ability to be innovative has proven to be important for the business capacity to be competitive. Innovation can concern everything from small incremental changes that improves the organization to radical innovations that becomes complete game changers, sometimes even creating new markets and new needs. Whether an organization is successful at being innovative does not concern the amount of money you spend but the ability to get the most out of the expertise and ideas of the organization. The purpose of this thesis is therefor to investigate how do middle managers use leadership to promote business innovation. Ron. A. Heifetz concludes that leadership is an activity performed by the leader in order to mobilize people to tackle tough issues. He further concludes that leadership require Authority to create a holding environment that assists followers when facing though issues. This paper reveals a leadership culture where managers attempt to support their followers and assist them, leading and motivating them to be engaged and innovative in the progress of the business. However most managers also conclude that in their role, there are several moments where you as a manager are expected to provide answers and assist the followers solving their problems. Assisting followers with a structure is important for the followers to have something to adapt to, however structure and authority can be inhibiting towards innovation, as followers become passive implementers of the ideas of the manager. Furthermore it becomes evident from the research that although most managers acknowledge that they must be able to toggle from using leadership to becoming an authority, much of their leadership-­‐style is affected of the structure of the organization and the personality of the manager.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages76