Over the last few decades, there has been a long-standing debate in academic circles and literature about whether or not leadership is similar to or different from management. Indeed, some scholars believe that there is a clear and explicit distinction between the two terms (Zaleznik, 1977; Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Kumle and Kelly, 1999). Others argue that leaders and managers are merely two faces of the same medal and should therefore be considered as a single whole (Fayol, 1916; Barnard, 1938). And yet others are persuaded that while management and leadership do differ, they also share many similarities as leaders and mangers often exert congruent functions (Yukl, 1999; Hay and Hodgkinson, 2006). Consequently, the argument remains unresolved and the confusion persists.
From a pragmatic point of view, failing to differentiate leadership from management brings forth a misunderstanding over the roles and responsibilities of each. For instance, Kotterman (2006) argues that using the two terms interchangeably can create complications in appraising, examining, evaluating, employing or advertising for leaders and managers. Furthermore, confusing the two concepts may also hamper organizational leadership and management development programmes (Zaleznik, 1977). To put simply, management and leadership are complementary concepts that are both essential for organizational success (Darling et al., 2007). Yet, most corporations have too many managers and too few leaders (Kotter, 1990). On the other hand, having an abundance of leaders with many different visions can also be detrimental as it may confuse followers and decrease their motivation (Kotterman, 2006). Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to be able to distinguish between these two concepts in order to engage the right expertise for the appropriate jobs.
Purpose of the Paper
By drawing on academic journals and literature, this essay aims to unveil the disparities among transformational leadership and management. It will start by defining each one of the two terms, before examining their discrepancies from a conceptual, functional and behavioural perspective. This paper will also discuss potential overlaps between leadership and management, as well address the limitations of this work and suggest a way forward for further research.
Defining Leadership and Management
To begin with, in order to differentiate leadership from management, it is essential to clarify the meaning of these two concepts. In the case of management, there is a more or less generally agreed upon definition as management is often described in terms of its functions. Levitt (1976), for instance, characterizes management as appraising circumstances; setting goals; establishing plans of action to attain these goals; mobilizing resources; organizing, coordinating and controlling tasks to reach the specified objectives, as well as stimulating and rewarding employee performance. There is, however, no such thing as a...