The Interaction between Top Management and Line Managers Implementing Strategic Directions into Praxis

  • Asta Savaneviciene Kaunas University of Technology
  • Zivile Stankeviciute Kaunas University of Technology
Keywords: strategy, strategy implementation, top management, line managers, top management and line managers interaction


Organizations nowadays face crucial business challenges, like globalization, profitability through growth, technology integration, intellectual capital management, continuous change. Seeking to survive in the turbulent environment organizations need to assess the complexity of environment and to choose strategic development directions which are concretized in organizational strategy.

Every organization is guided by its strategy, by a design or plan for achieving an organization's policy goals and objectives, however the inequality between intended and implemented strategies exists (Mintzberg, 1978). Acknowledging this fact, the paper raises a question why organizations focus on difficulties by implementing their strategies and provides an insight into the aspects related to a successful implementation of an intended strategy into praxis.

The fruitful strategy formulation and the effective strategy implementation require the coordination of multiple actors and their activities (Heide, Gronhaug & Johannessen, 2002). Whereas top management is responsible for the strategic and organizational decisions that affect the organization as a whole (Helfat, Harris & Wolfson, 2006) and line managers operate as an intermediary between strategic and operational organizational activities (McCarthy, Darcy & Grady, 2010), the interaction between these two key actors in order to minimize the gap between strategies is essential.

Assuming that some aspects may affect the success of key actors interaction, the assumptions, which determine the nature of interaction are presented. The paper looks into four assumptions: organizational culture, organizational structure, communication and allocation of resources which discloses the complexity of interaction.

The paper proposes the discussion concerning the top management and line managers interaction and the key dimensions of that interaction seeking to ensure the implementation of strategic directions into praxis. Whereas top management and line managers can cooperate in a various number of activities, some dimensions of interaction are more significant. Goals determination, strategy formulation and strategy implementation are three key dimensions where interaction between top management and line managers is in demand if the organization strives to translate strategic directions into praxis.

Finally assessing the character of activity and the discussed assumptions, the theoretical aspects on interaction between top management and line managers were verified during the empirical research in educational organizations and is presented in this paper. This brings to conclusion that the interaction between top management and line managers implementing strategic directions into praxis should be considered as a central issue of management literature.

The paper is based on the material of the Leonardo da Vinci innovation transferring project "Crossnational quality management in continuing learning for people with low educational attainment in the European context" ("Länderübergreifendes Qualitätsmanagement in der Weiterbildung für Personen mit niedrigem Bildungsstand im Europäischen Kontext") (No 2009-1-PL-LEO05-05039).