4. Middle management is the key to success

By Jaimie Ratten
Founder & Managing Director

The fourth and last finding from the largest study into corporate purpose and financial performance is that one group in particular need to be fully on board:

Middle management.

Too often, corporate purpose is underutilised and poorly implemented. Most executives agree that a strong sense of collective purpose can positively impact both employees and customers. And yet, those same executives rarely report that they have successfully aligned with that purpose.

One of the reasons for the disconnect between having a clear purpose and implementing it at all levels is the difficulty in filtering information down from the leadership team.

The research highlights that middle management plays a key role in implementing purpose because they serve as a critical link between senior management and employees1.

When middle management understand, and are fully invested in, your common purpose, they can help align other employees by encouraging the behaviours required to achieve your purpose.

Distilling information from above, they are responsible for communicating strategy and directing priorities, ensuring employees have a much better understanding of why their work matters and how they can best contribute.

[1] Gartenberg, Claudine M., Andrea Prat, & George Serafeim. (2016). Corporate Purpose and Financial Performance. Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-69. Retrieved from