John Paul Kotter's Approach

John Paul Kotter (1990) argued that the functions of the two concepts are quite dissimilar. The central function of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations whereas the leadership is to produce change and movement. Thus, management is about seeking order and stability; leadership is about seeking adaptive and constructive change. He believes that both management and leadership are essential for organizational success (Northouse, 2007, p.10).


Produces Order and Consistency


Produces Change and Movement

Planning and Budgeting

  • Establish agendas
  • Set timetables
  • Allocate resources

Establishing Direction

  • Create a vision
  • Clarity big picture
  • Set strategies

Organizing and Staffing

  • Provide structure
  • Make job placements
  • Establish rules and procedures

Aligning People

  • Communicate goals
  • Seek commitment
  • Build teams and coalitions

Controlling and Problem Solving

  • Develop incentives
  • Generate creative solutions
  • Take corrective actions

Motivating and Inspiring

  • Inspire and energize
  • Empower subordinates
  • Satisfy unmet needs




















Figure 1. Functions of management and Leadership. Source: Northouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Adapted from A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From Management (pp.3-8, by J. P. Kotter, 1990, New York: Free Press.

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Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009