Puppet on a String – A Qualitative Study of Middle Managers’ Motivation and Role Perception
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- Master of Science 
This thesis explores and investigates middle managers’ motivation and experiences in their role in the middle level through the lens of the self- determination theory. To better understand the role holders in the sandwiched middle, a qualitative approach was applied to portray how first-line nurse managers (F-LNM) in Norwegian hospitals experiences the middle manager role. Based upon seven in-depth interviews and follow-up conversations, three categories emerged from the analysis: (1) Puppet on a String, (2) The Strainer, and (3) It is what it is. The findings reveal that that the studied F-LNMs are exposed to numerous environmental factors and complex opposites which makes them perceive an inharmonious relationship between the role responsibilities and role authority, as well as wearing numerous hats with divergent responsibilities and interests. As a result, they feel controlled, demotivated, and frustrated. The study also discloses that the participants experience role conflict but fails to recognize its negative effects on their role. Hence, this thesis provides insights to the literature on middle management and role theory, specifically emphasizing the salient significance of perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the middle manager role. Theoretical implications and contributions are discussed.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Psychology - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2021