This study provides insight about the process of top management teams' (tmts') sensemaking about leadership of middle managers—a process that has so far been neglected by researchers. In a longitudinal case study design, the authors analyzed observational data from 23 tmt meetings and transcripts from interviews with tmt members. Results indicate that tmt sensemaking consisted of images of middle managers, the tmt self-image, and reflection on action and action planning. Furthermore, the importance of tmt unity in actions toward middle managers is highlighted as an important aspect of tmt leadership. It is suggested to incorporate tmt sensemaking about leadership, as well as actual leadership actions toward middle managers, as processes for explaining how tmt composition influences organizational performance.
Raes, A., Glunk, U., Heijltjes, M. G., & Roe, R. A. (2007). Top management team and middle managers: making use of leadership. Small Group Research, 38(3), 360-386. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496407301969