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Table 1 Roles and activities hypothesized in the middle manager role theory [1]

From: Elaborating on theory with middle managers’ experience implementing healthcare innovations in practice

Hypothesized activitiesa Examples of activities identified in this study
Hypothesized role 1: diffusing information
• Relay information regarding innovation implementation to employees (p 6)
• Stay attuned to top managers’ and frontline employees’ moods and needs (p 6)
• Provide frontline employees with the information necessary to implement innovations (p 6)
• Provide top managers with feedback regarding innovation implementation status (p 6)
• Field employees’ questions regarding innovation implementation (p 6)
• Inform employees of an innovation that is expected to be implemented (p 6)
• Disseminate information regarding material support for innovation implementation (p 6)
• Disseminate information regarding emotional support for innovation implementation (p 6)
• Disseminate rewards for innovation implementation (p 6)
• Websites
• Print/electronic materials
• Training
• Communicating information (e.g., in-person, meetings, email)
• Education
Hypothesized role 2: synthesizing information
• Make general information about innovation implementation relevant to unique organizations and employees (p 6)
• Monitor employees’ responses to the information and reinterpret the information in a way that the employee may find more relevant (p 6)
• Use daily conversations to help frontline employees understand key information regarding innovation implementation (p 7)
• Interpret facts about innovation implementation may convey to employees the relevance of the innovation to the specific roles that they are expected to fulfill (p 7)
• Explain to employees the specific ways in which someone in their role would be supported and rewarded for innovation implementation (p 7)
• Workflow integration
• Providing examples
Hypothesized role 3: mediating between strategy and day-to-day activities
• Give employees the tools necessary to implement innovations (p 7)
• Translate information into concrete tasks that must be carried out to effectively implement innovations (p 7)
• Provide employees with practical feedback on their innovation implementation-related performance (p 7)
• Form “strategic communities” that promote the implementation of new technologies (p 7)
• Identify specific activities in which employees are expected to engage to promote an organization’s strategy of innovation implementation (p 7)
• Provide data
• Funding
• Resources
• Assuring right equipment/tools
• Support
• Workflow integration
• Reminders/follow-up
Hypothesized role 4: selling innovation implementation
• Justify innovation implementation (p 7)
• Encourage employees to consistently and effectively use innovations (p 7)
• Convince employees that innovation implementation is worthy of their attention (p 7)
• Set innovation implementation-related norms (p 8)
• Maintain a positive attitude regarding innovation implementation (p 8)
• Help employees to appreciate the rationale underlying organizational changes (p 8)
• Describing benefits
• Generating “buy-in” from employees
• Providing rewards
• Reinforcement
• Communicating information
  1. aActivities intended to fulfill hypothesized roles are described on indicated page numbers in the theory to which we compare middle managers’ experience in practice in this study [1]