Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Shalamon Duke

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Carlos V. Guzman


Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how middle managers and senior managers working in the managed healthcare industry in southern California perceive what factors motivated middle managers to work beyond senior management’s expectations.

Methodology. A qualitative phenomenology study was chosen because it allowed the researcher to acquire a firm understanding of the nature of everyday lived experiences. This methodology was used to capture the meaning of experiences that motivated middle managers to work beyond expectations. The researcher conducted semi-structured, face-to-face interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experience of the participants. Participants were six middle managers and six senior managers.

Findings. The data analysis resulted in 106 themes with 890 references across the two research questions. Twenty key findings emerged from the data relating to the lived experience of middle and senior managers working in the managed healthcare field.

Conclusions. Examination of the key findings resulted in seven conclusions demonstrating actions that should be taken to motivate middle managers. Findings focused on recognition, management support, a positive work environment, exceeding expectations through motivation, improved productivity through enhanced communication, a collaborative work environment, transparent communication, and a sense of pride.

Recommendations. How senior managers motivate middle managers to exceed expectations is in the early stages of research development. There are recommendations to conduct further research to broaden the scope and add to the current body of literature available.