Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to take a fresh look at the leadership and management debate through exploring underlying power assumptions in the literature.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a conceptual discussion that draws on the power-based literature to develop a framework to help conceptually understand leadership in relation to management.
Findings – The paper highlights the historically clichéd nature of comments regarding conceptual similarities and differences between leadership and management. The paper draws attention to a problem within this debate – a confusion regarding assumptions of power. As a result the paper brings to the forefront perspectives of management that are of an emergent and non-work perspective which enables the development of a framework of the literature that includes managers “doing” leadership, managers “becoming” leaders, “being” leaders and managers, and leaders “doing” management. The paper goes on to explore the meaning and potential behind each part of the framework and suggests a need to develop an understanding of “doing” leadership and management and “being” managers and leaders through an exploration of “becoming” in organisations.
Originality/value – This paper provides a new perspective on the leadership and management or leadership vs management question by introducing a non-work, emergent or personal perspective on management. Furthermore, this paper concludes that whether leadership and management are similar or different is dependent upon which power construct underlies each phenomenon, a consideration that has been neglected in the leadership and management debate for some time.