The main goal of this research is to address the relationship between the role of the Middle Manager and Continuous Improvement. By investigating the relationship it is aimed to understand how and to what extend Middle Management influence Continuous Improvement.

Having more insight can help an organization better determine what is expected of Middle Managers and train them and to determine whether the ‘right’ Middle Managers are present in the organization or to hire those if needed. This will give the organization more levers to influence and will increase the likelihood of successfully implementing continuous improvement in the organization.

Central question

In line with the objective of this research the following central question is defined:

 How and to what extent does Middle Management influence Continuous Improvement of organizations in the financial service industry?

Research Design


This research will be based on existing literature on Middle Management and Continuous Improvement and especially Lean. This research will look at the role and importance of a Middle Manager in achieving a structure of Continuous Improvement within organizations.

Research framework

The research object consists of two phenomena, namely: Continuous Improvement and the role of Middle Managers.

The research can be divided in four phases, as shown in figure 1. At first, literature on Middle Management is studied.  This will all result in a theoretical framework (Phase A)

 Research framework 2.png

Figure 1 Research framework Middle Management

This theoretical framework will be tested in four case studies. The cases have already been executed (retrospective study) (Phase B). Based on the findings the theoretical framework will by adjusted and examined within case studies executing the implementation of Continuous Improvement (forward Looking) (Phase C). The results will be analysed and will result in conclusions and recommendations on the impact Middle Management has on achieving Continuous Improvement (Phase D).