In September 2019 Nick Diprose of Holdsway and Professor Steve Woods of Surrey Business School presented their research paper on effective interim leadership and management. In ground-breaking research for the interim management industry, they introduced the ‘interim assignment cycle’, a framework for managing effective interim assignments. This fills a gap in leadership and management research, particularly when IR35 tax changes demand clarity when hiring interim executives.
This paper examines the literature on interim leadership and management through the lens of effective interim performance and its individual antecedents. Our main proposition from this review is that the influence of individual factors on interim performance operate within the stages and contexts of assignments. Accordingly, we propose a framework of the demands on interim assignments (the interim assignment cycle), comprising stages of preparation, entry, delivery and exit. We review evidence of the potential antecedent individual characteristics of interims that could facilitate effective preparation and entry to an assignment, actions and performance during an assignment, and exit/disengagement from an assignment. We explore the implications of our review and proposed model for future research, theory and practice, and call for renewed research effort in this critical area of management and leadership.