Research Output

Developing middle managers in the Hong Kong Public sector: A critique of leadership development from a labour process perspective.

  Critical scholars have written about the ‘squeezed middle’ and the new labour process of front line and middle managers generally, but there is a gap in the literature relating to both how changes to managerial work have affected those subjected to them and how individuals and organisations have attempted to respond to, and cope with, public sector cuts and challenges. Much of contemporary HRD writing on change management suggests that leadership development has a privileged role in adjusting the ‘worker’ to the situation. However, given the implicitly unitarist nature of much HRD writing, this thesis argues that insights from such literature is inadequate or incomplete because it fails to consider the interests of managers as employees.

The focus of this thesis is on middle managers’ (MM) ability to overcome the public sector challenges associated with work intensification; control and skills adaption via learning and development initiatives. This qualitative research comprises a data set of 17 in-depth interviews and 34 complementary semi-structured questionnaire’s with middle managers in the Hong Kong Civil Service. Thematic analysis revealed that whilst managers and the organisation benefit from leadership development in terms of human capital development, power differentials and structural impediments limit the capacity to benefit from social capital and networking opportunities provided. As such LDP cannot compensate for work intensification, leading to a stressed-out, disempowered, squeezed middle management cadre, which in turn impacts on public service delivery.

  • Type:

    Thesis

  • Date:

    01 November 2016

  • Publication Status:

    Unpublished

  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    650 Management & auxiliary services

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

O'Neil, J. J. Developing middle managers in the Hong Kong Public sector: A critique of leadership development from a labour process perspective. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/978274

Authors

Keywords

Management, middle managers', MM, civil service, qualitative research.

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