Middle managers’ work in recession and austerity: a longitudinal study

Lloyd Harris, Emmanuel Ogbonna

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    92 Downloads (Pure)


    Although researchers have explored the impacts of structural changes on managerial work, few insights have been generated into whether the turbulent economic environment induced by a recession and/or an extended period of austerity accelerate known changes to managerial work and/or whether recession/austerity are revealing or causing previously unknown effects. This article explores and analyses middle managers’ reflections on how, if at all, their work is fundamentally changed by economic pressures such as recession and/or by choices of executives to impose such pressures during and post-recession (commonly referred to as ‘austerity measures’). The findings suggest that middle managers responded to the recession and on-going economic austerity in a differentiated manner, with the initial responses being largely positive. Responses became negative over time, with examples of disillusionment and cynicism as middle managers believed that their superiors were using the disguise of recession and austerity to introduce changes that impacted profoundly on their working lives and those of their subordinates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-304
    JournalBritish Journal of Management
    Issue number2
    Early online date26 Apr 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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