The Dark Side of Visionary Leadership in Strategy Implementation: Strategic Alignment, Strategic Consensus, and Commitment

Nüfer Yasin Ateş*, Murat Tarakci, Jeanine Pieternel Porck, Daan van Knippenberg, Patrick J.F. Groenen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing from visionary leadership and strategy process research, we theorize and test the mechanism through which middle and lower-level managers’ visionary leadership affects their teams’ strategic commitment. The management literature extols the virtues of visionary leadership. In contrast to this positive stance, we reveal a dark side to visionary leadership. Our theoretical framework suggests that team manager visionary leadership harms team strategic consensus when the manager is not strategically aligned with the CEO, which in turn diminishes team commitment to the strategy. In contrast, when a team manager is strategically aligned with the CEO, team manager visionary leadership is positively related to team strategic consensus and subsequently to team strategic commitment. Data from 136 teams from two organizations support our moderated mediation model. A supplemental analysis of the content of strategic consensus and additional qualitative interviews with managers and employees in one of these organizations provide additional insights concerning the meaning of the theorized relations in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-665
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number5
Early online date12 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (


  • behavioral strategy
  • strategic alignment
  • strategic commitment
  • strategic consensus
  • strategy process
  • visionary leadership


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