Strategic Management vs Leadership

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Strategic Leadership vs. Strategic Management: Untying The Gordian Knot

Robert M. Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor of Management United States Army War College

This views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of the United States War College, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, or any agency of the U.S. government.

Note from the Author This paper is a work in progress. The purpose of this paper is to elicit comments from fellow scholars and practitioners as to the soundness of the concepts put forth in this paper.

The Problem By now most of us are getting tired of the endless attempts to distinguish between the concepts of …show more content…

In the case of language, instead of using a conceptual framework as the basis of understanding various concepts, old words are given new meaning while new words are developed to describe old theories or practices. I fully realize the evolving nature of the field of management and leadership, but at the rate we are going, those two words will lose their meaning due to the looseness of their usage. As an example, the following is a series of definitions taken from various textbooks used in the United States.

Management Definitions. • A set of activities directed at an organization’s resources human, financial, physical, and information) with the aim of achieving organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner. (Griffin, 1999) The coordination of human, material, technological, and financial resources needed for an organization to achieve its goals. (Hess and Siciliano, 1996) The process of getting things done through the efforts of others. (Mondy and Premeaux, 1995) The process of designing & maintaining an environment in which individuals work together in-groups to accomplish efficiently selected aims. (Weihrich and Koontz, 1993)

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As stated above, these are actual textbooks used in today’s classrooms in the United States and probably around the world. Although my intent is not to discredit any of the authors’s of these texts, I do want to point out the discrepancies that exist among the experts in the field. In my opinion, Griffin includes

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