In management theory, the strict conceptual distinction between management and leadership deserves special attention. This essay provides a critical analysis of the two concepts.
Of primary importance is the recognition of the severe differences between leadership and management, based on the critical core of each concept. Thus, according to Hughes, leadership should be understood as a multifactorial process of social influence that is a crucial predictor of employee creativity (2018). Bass, on the other hand, defines the purpose of leadership as inspiring subordinate employees or team members to provide a higher level of service (2019). In contrast, Ensslin et al. refer to management as a broader concept that, in addition to leadership, includes planning, controlling, and organizing operational effectiveness (2018). At the same time, Bowden describes organizational management as a set of actions whose ultimate goal is to improve the production of processes and products (2020). Thus, it is easy to see that management is a broader concept than leadership in the traditional sense. Thus, based on what has been said, management aims to achieve the intended result, whereas leadership aims to inspire and motivate the team to execute the plan (Cullen, 2021). At the same time, contemporary perspectives assess a narrower difference between leadership and management: both are essential to an organization, but management without leadership cannot be effective (Azad et al., 2017). As a generalization, an inevitable conflict between the two concepts becomes apparent. Leadership and management can be recognized as entirely different approaches to achieving operational effectiveness or as inseparable concepts.
In this context, a gradual shift from general process management to emphasizing human resources is noticeable. In recent years, many companies have tried to emphasize the intellectual capital of employees because this emphasis is expected to achieve better operational results (Bartram, 2017). This is especially evident when analyzing large companies like Apple, Google, or Uber, whose corporate projects in recent years have focused on supporting employee social well-being (Shrivastava et al., 2018). As a result, it seems clear that fundamental economic and reputational gains will only become relevant when both governance and leadership are in balance.
Azad, N., Anderson, H.G., Brooks, A., Garza, O., O’Neil, C., Stutz, M.M. and Sobotka, J.L. (2017) ‘Leadership and management are one and the same,’ American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 81(6), pp. 1-4.
Bartram, T., Cavanagh, J. and Hoye, R. (2017) ‘The growing importance of human resource management in the NGO, volunteer and not-for-profit sectors,’ The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(14), pp. 3-13.
Bass, B.L. (2019) ‘What is leadership,’ in Kibbe, M. R. and Chen, H. (eds.) Leadership in Surgery. Cham: Springer, pp. 1-10.
Bowden, B. (2020) ‘What is management,’ in Bowden, B., Muldoon, J., Gould, A., and McMurray, A. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Management History. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 25-44.
Cullen, J. G. (2021) ‘What is leadership about and what does it involve in practice,’ In Curtis E. A., Beirne, M., Cullen, J., Northway, R., Corrigan, R. (eds.) Distributed Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare: Theory, Evidence and Development. London: Open University Press, pp. 49-60.
Ensslin, L., Ensslin, S.R., Gabriel, M., Chaves, L.C. and Lima, M.V.A.D. (2018) ‘Organisational management: a study of a company of distribution services,’ International Journal of Applied Decision Sciences, 11(2), pp. 168-194.
Hughes, D.J., Lee, A., Tian, A.W., Newman, A. and Legood, A. (2018) ‘Leadership, creativity, and innovation: A critical review and practical recommendations,’ The Leadership Quarterly, 29(5), pp. 549-569.
Shrivastava, S., Nagdev, K. and Rajesh, A. (2018) ‘Redefining HR using people analytics: the case of Google,’ Human Resource Management International Digest, 26(2), pp. 3-6