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Exploring power assumptions in the leadership and management debate

Edwards, Gareth; Schedlitzki, Doris; Turnbull, Sharon; Gill, Roger

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Gareth Edwards
Professor of Leadership and Community Studies

Doris Schedlitzki
Associate Professor in Organisational Leadership

Sharon Turnbull

Roger Gill


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 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.


Edwards, G., Schedlitzki, D., Turnbull, S., & Gill, R. (2015). Exploring power assumptions in the leadership and management debate. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 36(3), 328-343.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 5, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 18, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 11, 2016
Journal Leadership and Organization Development Journal
Print ISSN 0143-7739
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 3
Pages 328-343
Keywords leadership, management debate
Public URL
Publisher URL


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