This empirical study investigates cognitive shifts in both leader and follower teams when developing consensus or agreement in how to resolve a slowly emerging organizational crisis over time. The cognitive maps of leaders and followers are analyzed in team settings to explain where consensus is formed. The findings indicate that consensus, or the agreement on the causal beliefs held to be critical to organizational adaptation and success, builds over time within both leader and follower teams. However, when comparing the development of consensus longitudinally, the findings confirm that the mental models of leadership teams converge towards follower teams, and not the other way around, during the crisis. The study provides new insights into the importance of the causal beliefs of follower teams when developing a vision to coordinate action to resolve a crisis.
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