Academic journal article College and University

Is It Leadership or Management?

Academic journal article College and University

Is It Leadership or Management?

Article excerpt

Two somewhat confused and possibly misused terms in higher education today are "leadership" and "management." Many times, the word leadership or leader is substituted for what is really management or manager, and vice versa. Our goal is to explore the concepts of leadership and management and to provide some observations as to what we need in our enrollment management and services offices of today.

Defining Leadership and Management

First, let's explore the two terms by reviewing what dictionaries provide as definitions of leadership and management.


As defined in The American Heritage Dictionary (2000)

The position or office of a leader: ascended to the leadership of the party.

Capacity or ability to lead: showed strong leadership during her first term in office.

A group of leaders: met with the leadership of the nation's top unions.

Guidance; direction: The business prospered under the leadership of the new president.

As defined in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1998)

The office of a leader.

As defined in WordNet® 1.6 (1997)

The activity of leading.

The body of people who lead a group; "the national leadership adopted his plan."

The status of a leader; "they challenged his leadership of the union."

The ability to lead: "he believed that leadership can be taught."


As defined in The American Heritage Dictionary (2000)

The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control: management of a crisis; management of factory workers.

The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise.

Skill in managing; executive ability.

As defined in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1998)

* The act or art of managing; the manner of treating, directing, carrying on, or using, for a purpose; conduct; administration; guidance; control; as, the management of a family or of a farm; the management of state affairs.

* Business dealing; negotiation; arrangement.

* Judicious use of means to accomplish an end; conduct directed by art or address; skillful treatment; cunning practice; - often in a bad sense.

* The collective body of those who manage or direct any enterprise or interest; the board of managers.

As defined in WordNet® 1.6 (1997)

* The act of managing something; "he was given overall management of the program"; "is the direction of the economy a function of government?"

* Those in charge of running a business.

The definitions of leadership reference the term leader and lead. In essence, leadership refers to the act of leading or being a leader, which is defined in WordNet® as "a person who rules or guides or inspires others."The definitions of management utilize the term manage and managing. The term manage, as a verb, is defined in Webster's as "to direct affairs; to carry on business or affairs; to administer." In addition to the traditional dictionary definitions, there are a number of leadership experts who express their notions of leadership and management. Hersey and Blanchard (1993) define leadership as "any time one attempts to influence the behavior of an individual or group," and management as "working with and through individuals and groups and other resources to accomplish organizational goals" (pg 5). Thus according to these definitions, leadership and management are two very different concepts, and are not easily interchangeable.

Author Observations

If you have ever visited the leadership or management section of a book store, you know that there are hundreds of authors, concepts, and ideas on the subject. Tom Peters and John C. Maxwell are viewed by many as "gurus" in the areas of leadership; while Peter Drucker and Richard Parson answer management questions. Each of the authors we will discuss provides some interesting observations on leadership and management today. …

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