The role of middle managers in the implementation of national public policy

Simon Cooper, Martin Kitchener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Recent policy implementation studies have considered the processes by which the top down objectives of policy designers conflict with the bottom up responses of local actors within functional teams. Our paper extends that body of research by analysing the, hitherto underexplored, role of hybrid middle managers (HMMs) who combine their professional expertise with management responsibilities to locally forge compromises when implementing national policy interventions. Drawing from a recent study of the implementation of the Welsh national patient safety programme, this paper presents a detailed analysis of the activities deployed by HMMs to broker policy interventions within their local teams. We provide an analytical model to direct attention towards the varied activities performed by HMMs from different occupations. Our empirical findings reveal how policy implementation processes can be better understood, and planned, if HMMs are differentiated by their occupational background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-330
Number of pages22
JournalPolicy & Politics
Issue number2
Early online date3 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Health policy
  • Hybridity
  • Middle managers
  • Patient safety
  • Policy design
  • Policy implementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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