This study explores the connection between formal leaders and collective leadership in teams through the examination of how collective strategic vision flows downward in organizations and the function that formal leaders play in the resulting cascade of collective leadership. Building from a sensemaking framework, we propose that a supervisor's perceptions of the collective navigator role (the establishing and enacting of strategic vision among members of a team) in their immediate supervisor-level work group ultimately links to the collective leadership navigator role in the lower-level team he or she leads thereby illustrating the vertical flow of collective leadership across organizational levels. To understand how this cascading process operates, we propose that two key characteristics of supervisors, their job satisfaction and empowering leadership behaviors, mediate the linkage between collective strategic visions at these different levels. We find support for this connection in our study of teams within a large manufacturing company.
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