Global Leadership and Management: Differences

Leadership and management are intertwined organisational concepts. However, the two concepts are not entirely similar when they are perceived in terms of operations and strategic processes in organisations. The differences between management and leadership are best demonstrated by the basic definitions of the two concepts. Cole (2004) defined management as the art and science of getting things done. Leadership, on the other hand, is the ability to motivate subordinates at work (Changing Minds, 2012).

Therefore, unlike management, leadership goes beyond personality, tradition, opportunism, or appointment. Mullins (2006) was categorical that “leadership is intimately connected with behaviour and attitudes towards oneself and others” (p.159). The final responsibility of leadership for the results of a group, however, cannot be abdicated regardless of the fact that it involves inspiring and empowering others. Therefore, just like a manager is be expected to be, a leader is personally responsible for the successes or failures of the group. It is for this reason that leadership is perceived to be more or less an organizational concept that thrives on both trait and style theories.

The trait theory focuses on behavioural qualities that are expected of quality leadership (Cole, 2004). To this end, a leader is expected to subscribe to a given set of rules and traditions in addition to demonstrating a high moral standing. Style theory, on the other hand, focuses on leadership as an aspect of behaviour at work rather than personal characteristics (Cole, 2004). Style theory perceives leadership in terms of either authoritarian leadership or democratic leadership. In the overall organizational perspective, therefore, management tends to be the larger brackets within which leadership is exercised.

Different multinational corporations in different countries are characterized by different management and cultural orientations (Hofstede, 1999). As such, a manager from a country in the West will not necessarily experience a western-oriented culture when serving in a multinational corporation. According to Hofstede (1999) the model and pattern of the developed western society does not necessarily apply to other societies in organisational management. This is because corporate-level differences in organisational management processes are primarily underlined by differences in national cultures.

As such, different countries and regions have different cultural orientations that define the pursuit of organisational processes both within and across their boundaries (Ball & McCulloch, 1988). Leadership is largely related to liberalism that tends to be preferred mode for conducting organizational processes in national cultures of the West (Hofstede, 1999). Leadership is more acceptable in cultures of the West because democracy is the defining yardstick that defines relationships. Authoritarian-based management system is related to Confucian cultures in Asia (Cheng, 1991). According to Cheng (1991), oriental traditions, both structurally and ideologically, recognize a sense of authority formed by the dominant power, represented in the immense hierarchy between ruler and people.

Misinterpretations of cultural cues are the main ethical challenges that managers within a multinational corporation may experience. Managers may misinterpret the customs, courtesies, and business protocols of their counterparts from other countries. Moreover, they may also insubordinate the national characters, management conceptions and the general mindsets of different cultures (Hofstede, 1999). This is because management cultures are derived from traditions and entail part of those traditions (Mullins, 2006). Although partial traditions can be broken or maintained, leaders and managers in multicultural environments should pursue a balance between work demands and the expectations of the prevalent management cultures.

Global Leadership and Management Week 4 Peer Post

Muharam, your post sufficiently explored the attributes of leadership and management. You categorically acknowledged the similarities that define the two concepts but also appreciated their fundamental differences. This effectively demonstrated the pivotal roles that the two concepts play in organisational stewardship. Indeed, your post reflected the implications of leadership and management in multicultural settings that define MNCs. You could improve your vivid description of international cultural environments by stating the examples of countries where bribes are legal.

George, I agree with you that a leader and a manager are terms that are used interchangeably but they actually define different organisational concepts. You keenly demonstrated that whereas a leader functionally thrives on teamwork and motivation, a manager solely thrives on directives. Indeed, style is the hallmark of the two concepts with management gravitating towards bureaucracy and leadership contrastingly emphasising on motivation. You rightly acknowledged that the style differences manifest in the organisational environment of MNCs.


Ball, D. A., & McCulloch, W. H. (1988). International business: Introduction and Essentials (3rd ed.) Illinois: Richard D, Irwin Inc.

Cheng, C. (1991). New dimensions of confucian and neo-confucian philosophy, New York: State University of New York Press.

Cole, G. (2004) Management theory and practice (6th ed.). London: Thomson Learning Publishers.

Hofstede, G. (1999) The universal and the specific in 21st-century global management. Organizational Dynamics 28: 34–43

Leadership vs. Management. 2012. Web.

Mullins, L. J. (2002). Management and organizational behaviour, (6th ed.). Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Ltd.