Understanding the effect of transformation leadership behaviour of middle managers on innovation in project based organisations

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of transformational leadership behaviour of middle managers on innovation. It followed a quantitative data collection and analysis to examine the relationship between transformational leadership on climate for innovation, innovation championing behaviour and project performance. In-depth interviews were held with 13 members of staff selected from different parts of the company. In addition a focus group discussion was held with Technical Directors in order to develop a deeper understanding of the processes by which middle managers influence innovation in project based professional services organisations. Findings from the study suggest that middle managers’ transformational leadership behaviour impacts project outcomes by helping to develop a climate for innovation and influencing the championing behaviour of their staff. Notwithstanding the fact that the study was based on a single UK based professional services firm, the findings adds to our understanding of the role of middle level leadership in project environment in facilitating innovation and answers the call for more qualitative approaches to understanding the impact of leaders in project based organisations. The findings also highlight the significant impact middle managers can have on innovation and ultimately project performance contrary to the previous publications that advanced a more negative view of the role of middle managers in organisations.