Joseph C. Rost's Approach

Joseph C. Rost (1991) has also done an extensive literature review trying to find out what leadership is not and how it differs from management.

His book "Leadership for the Twenty-First Century" presents a critique of leadership studies. He outlines the problems with leadership studies beginning with an overview of studies from an assessment of 450 books, chapters, and journal articles. He examines definitions of leadership from 1900-1979 and how they were used in the literature in the 1980s, the nature of leadership, leadership and management, leadership and ethics for the 1990s, and leadership in the future.

He wrote:

""Management is an authority relationship between at least one manager and one subordinate who coordinate their activities to produce and sell particular goods and/or services." (Rost, 1991, p. 145).

"Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes." (ibid, p. 102).


The characteristics that distinguish leadership from management are given as follows:


  • Influence relationship
  • Leaders and followers
  • Intend real changes
  • Intended changes
  • Reflect mutual purposes


  • Authority relationship
  • Managers and subordinates
  • Produce/sell goods/services
  • Goods/services result
  • Coordinated activities


Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License

Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009