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The Leadership/Management Concept Scale: differentiating between actions constituting leadership and management

Ronnie Thomas Collins II (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA)
Claudia Algaze (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA)
Barry Z. Posner (Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, Santa-Clara, California, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 4 August 2023

Issue publication date: 10 August 2023




The concepts associated with leadership and management have often been conflated, considered one and the same phenomenon by some and then considered by others to be quite distinctive. The same ambiguity is even truer at the level of application and practicality. Only a handful of studies have attempted empirically to differentiate between the two concepts. The study sought to develop an instrument to discriminate between the two concepts.


A prospective study was conducted with two groups of scholars in the areas of leadership and management. They completed the exploratory Leadership/Management Concept Scale (LMCS), the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and provided demographic information. The results from the Initial group were compared with a validation group. Standard statistical techniques were used to analyze the two groups and investigate associations among the study measures.


The LMCS effectively differentiated actions associated with leadership from actions associated with management actions. There were four distinct choices consistently selected as most consistent with leadership: influencing, coaching, modeling and ensuring resilience. No significant correlations were found between scores on the LMCS and the LPI, providing evidence that the former was capturing actions other than those associated with leadership alone.

Research limitations/implications

It is empirically possible to differentiate between the actions typically associated with the concepts of leadership and management. This distinction can be invaluable in various educational programs designed to develop either or both leadership and management abilities, as well as assist in the identification of those with proclivities to one or other of the two concepts. The LMCS shows promise in reliably differentiating between the two concepts and can be useful for scholars aiming to investigate leadership or management without confounding the two.

Practical implications

There are numerous positions and organizational roles where leadership and management are differentiated, with one being much more needed than the other. The LMCS can differentiate empirically how potential candidates for leadership and/or management positions think about the two, which would allow a would-be employer to screen candidates for given opportunities and, depending on their conceptualization of leadership and management, assign them most appropriately.


This study fills a fundamental gap in both the leadership and management field: first in being able to provide evidence that the two concepts, while similar in some regards, are not the same and can be differentiated from each other and second, in developing an instrument (LMCS) that both practitioners and scholars can use to help their audiences better understand the differences between leadership and management and to develop actions appropriate to situational demands.



Since acceptance of this article, the following author(s) have updated their affiliations: Ronnie Thomas Collins II is at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.


Collins II, R.T., Algaze, C. and Posner, B.Z. (2023), "The Leadership/Management Concept Scale: differentiating between actions constituting leadership and management", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 44 No. 5, pp. 657-677.



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