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Critical Perspectives on Management Research

Essay by   •  January 12, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  1,662 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,474 Views

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Just like other words, Management and Leadership have a variety of meanings from different authors in the context of their application. Management is the deed of organizing and monitoring an enterprise or it is the persons who direct and govern an enterprise or an organization. Leadership is the position of being a person who leads a group of people. Often times some people may use the terms management and leadership interchangeably, meaning that one cannot do without the other. Communication is an important skill for any leader or manager.

Most a times we are faced with the challenge of singling out the characters of effective leaders. Axley (1996) found out that for a leader or manager to be effective, he/she should good in communicating, an effective active listener, able to delegate effectively, is approachable by anyone and a good example to emulated by the subordinates. This is clearly supported in the responses from the managers interviewed by Alvesson and Sveningsson, who attributed listening, chatting and being cheerful to their effective management. Cohen (1988) notes that listening is an essential and unappreciated skill, but one point is clear that when leaders listen, the subordinates are more than likely able to trust the managers and they become more committed to their work creating an atmosphere for success within the organisation.

Management versus Leadership

When we come across the two words management and leadership, the first impression is that they are two different words in terms of their meanings to be put together. Management for most is usually in an organisation/ enterprise/ corporation context while leadership is from a political/ group context. In general, management directs resources in a group in line with ideologies or morals that have been put in place to guide the organisation. On the other hand, leadership is setting a new direction for a group that they will follow. More than often the question how do you differentiate between Management and Leadership has come across and attracted different answers. The major difference between managers and leaders has been identified in the way they influence the individuals who work for or follow them. Management as a social science is the process of designing, harmonizing, guiding, overseeing and organising different resources, while leadership involved with guiding and encouraging a group of persons to influence them in being followers. In general managing is to Managers as leading is to Leaders. (Olufemi Oyedele 2009). As Fayol (1916) put it "to manage is to forecast and plan, organise, command, coordinate and to control". While Cole (2004) noted "Leadership is something more than just personality or appointment. It is intimately linked with behaviour. It is essentially a human process at work in organisations".

So the question, can managers do without leadership skills and can leaders do without managerial skills is inevitable. Looking at the two scenarios we can conclude the following: Management deprived of leadership tend to take control of resources in order to maintain the current circumstances or make sure everything takes place according to existing plans. A good example is a referee in a sport game who follows the set rules for the game to manage it. On the other hand leadership without management comes up with a vision for others adapt, lacking consideration of how the new direction intends to be realized. For instance in the Lord of Rings, the leader used the victory of the ring to convince his followers. When management is practised together with leadership, it gives a new direction and manages the resources to attain it. For better results, as a leader or a manager, one should strive to encourage the team members to work together. As Mather (UK Managing Director, BP) put it "the key thing I have learned from my time in Government is that when we work together, we achieve better results".

There are several similarities between managers and leaders; both have authority over their teams, acting as team heads in coordinating teams to achieve the set goals; they both use variety of strategies to negotiate, and both utilize available resources to achieve the desired results. However, there are also some differences in the two; notably is that managers have a technical approach in carrying out their roles, while a leader has an analytical approach.

It is therefore evident that both management abilities and leadership skills are essential in the right proportions to effectively control, direct and lead others.


The paper essentially carries out a research to find out from the managers themselves, the essence of leadership in management and management in leadership, hence Managers doing Leadership. The academics look to demystify the mythological explanations that give significant differences between management and leadership through research. As noted earlier, management is normally regarded as an applicable, problem-solving, organizational role on firmness, while leadership is taken to be daring, hasty, vibrant, inspirational and driven by change. Alvesson and Sveningsson found that listening is a leadership skill that the majority of the interviewed managers valued most in their mode of leading. Their conclusion was



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