For more than thirty years the words “middle management” have been anathema to management commentators. With constant talk of “flat structures”, downsizing and the upsurge of technology, it would be easy to infer that all the problems in organisations were caused by a tier of middle management and that the people occupying these positions were somehow harmful to the organisation.

This has always looked to me like a gross over-simplification and misrepresentation of the facts because it ignores the history of why middle management evolved in the first place. Simply put, middle management evolved as companies became larger and there was a need to spread the management word and controls throughout the organisation, which could not be done by a small group of people at the top.

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