People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69

tives sustain MMs' job satisfaction and
how (their) job dissatisfaction drives
their voluntary turnover." In other
words, fractures or divisions within the
top management team raise a unique
concern for middle managers' job
satisfaction. It causes middle managers
in one unit to begin distrusting MMs
in another unit because top executives
may be sending different signals to each
department. Middle managers can then
begin utilizing valuable resources (time
and energy) competing with other units
rather than collaborating. This begins
to affect interdepartmental coordination which negatively affects MMs work
environment. Middle managers may be
less likely to achieve their goals which
often require cross-unit collaboration.
Eventually MMs may then perceive that
bonuses, rewards, and recognitions may
be in jeopardy.
"The uncertainty arising from faultline-induced goal frustration or failure
may also predispose MMs to favor
directive (or narcissistic) leaders who
issue clear directions and inspire confidence for the future. Moreover, MMs
may regard TMTs plagued by disunity
and discord as collectively inept, and
generalize from this attribution that
their own leaders-TMT constituents-
are likewise incompetent (stigma by
association). When leaders are deemed
incompetent, their followers may
interpret leader humility as signaling
indecisiveness and timidity, ruining the
basis for forming trusting relationships.
In sum, when TMT faultlines are high,
MMs derive less job satisfaction from
leaders whose humility will be underappreciated if not devalued."
All this culminates in middle
managers with higher stress, lower
achievement, lower job satisfaction,
and higher risk of turnover. Key MMs
may then decide to exit the firm and
take their knowledge and skills with
them to competing enterprises. This,
in turn, hurts an organization because
it loses a core component of its human
capital-the strategy implementers
(See Figure 1).

Middle managers tend to be more loyal
to their organization when they have humble
executives as supervisors. Middle managers
are uniquely affected by the unity or disunity of
members on the top management team.
Insights for Executives and HR
Leaders

A united front from the top management team and cohesive communications regarding corporate strategy
is essential for the success of middle
managers. Clearly, differences of
opinions, interests, and ideas among
members of the TMT should be vigorously discussed and debated. That
said, the executive team that is able to
put personal interests aside; positively
consider and take advantage of diverse
ideas; work together as a unified,
high-functioning team; and productively create clear and compelling
strategies will create an environment
that increases the likelihood of retaining middle managers.
If middle managers understand
that the TMT is unified as a team, then
they have a much better chance to
work together across departments in a
coordinated and collaborative manner
to implement top executives' strategic
directions. If not, middle managers' jobs
to execute become much more difficult.
Based on the findings of this research, top management teams that
are afflicted by divisions and dividing
lines should:4
1. Pay extra attention to the coordination process within the
team and across subordinate
MM subunits.
2. Promote a shared organizational identity to build trust and
mutual accountability.
3. Ensure communication accuracy and timeliness to increase
action predictability.

4.

Strive for consensus on strategic goals and implementation
procedures.
5. In exit interviews, inquire
about the affects of the TMT as
a team on a middle manager's
decision to leave.
A highly functional and unified
top management team is not only
important for strategy design, but
even more important for the harder
half of strategy, which is implementation. The TMT, like all teams, should
periodically take time to work on its
own "teaming" skills so that it doesn't
ultimately undermine the ability of
middle managers to execute on strategic directions.

Bradley Winn, Ph.D., is a senior editor for
the People + Strategy journal and a leadership
professor at Utah State University. He is
an award-winning instructor who presents
regularly at national events. Brad can be
reached at brad.winn@usu.edu or see www.
huntsman.usu.edu/bradwinn.

References
1

2

3

4

Ou, A.Y., Jungmin, S., Choi, D., and Hom, P. "When
can humble top executives retain middle managers?
The moderating role of top management team
faultlines." Academy of Management Journal 60, no. 5
(2017).
Li, J.T., and Hambrook, D.C. "Factional groups: A
new vantage on demographic faultlines, conflict, and
disintegration in work teams." Academy of Management
Journal 48 (2005): 794-813.
Ou, A.Y., Tsui, A.S., Kinicki, A.J., Waldman, D.A.,
Xiao, Z., and Song, L.J. "Humble chief executive
officers' connection to top management team
integration and middle managers' responses." Administrative Science Quarterly 59 (2014): 34-72.
IBID

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http://www.huntsman.usu.edu/bradwinn http://www.huntsman.usu.edu/bradwinn

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
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