Organizational Management vs. Organizational Leadership: Which Degree Is for You?


Organisational Management

If you have strong organizational skills and are interested in business and people, you may find that one of the new “organizational culture” degrees is a perfect fit for you. There are two main tracks you can choose from: organizational management and organizational leadership. Each is complementary with the other but also each also features the chance to develop a slightly different set of organizational strengths and skills. When you are browsing a site like this site, investigating programs that offer an organizational management degree or an organizational leadership degree, use this helpful side-by-side guide to determine which track is a better fit for your interests, skills, personality and long-term career goals.

How Business Is Done: Two Complementary Perspectives

One track focuses on the implementation aspect — what could often be called the fulfillment of the “business plan.” The other track focuses on overseeing, motivating and managing the people who are in charge of implementation. Each track needs the skills of the other. The first track is organizational management; the second track is organizational leadership.

Management vs. Leadership

While the overall number of credit hours you will be required to complete either degree plan will remain the same, you will notice that your higher-level classes are specifically targeted toward the track you have chosen. After completing a core group of courses that are foundational for career success in both tracks, the following is an overview of what to expect for the remainder of your track-specific coursework at the bachelor’s degree level.

  • Organizational management. With this degree track, you will primarily be studying topics such as marketing principles, business statistics, managerial economics, accounting and business policy.
  • Organizational leadership. With this degree track, you can anticipate learning about management principles, organizational theory, leadership theory and application, change management and innovation.

Once you have completed your degree plan and have graduated, you can put your newfound knowledge and skills to work in the exciting new career track you have chosen.

A Day in the Life: Organizational Manager

As an organizational manager, your total focus will be on how organizations operate and function. Whether you work for a business or a nonprofit, a social service agency or a health organization, you will be working behind the scenes (and occasionally in the limelight) as a leader, overseeing all of the different business processes from accounting to marketing. If you have an organized mind that loves to explore and refine systems and processes, create and complete checklists, and continually monitor and improve outcomes, profits and performance, you will excel as an organizational manager. You may even choose eventually to become an entrepreneur or move into the public policy or nonprofit sector where your organizational management skills are sorely needed.

A Day in the Life: Organizational Leader

When you pursue a career as an organizational leader, your total focus will be on people: How they work individually or in teams, what motivates one employee as opposed to another and how various groups of people interact. You will also focus on developing and implementing strategies to improve employees’ success rates and how the organization interacts with its interpersonal dynamics to improve outcomes. The goal for today’s organizational leader is to determine how best to motivate, encourage, equip and inspire employees to become leaders in their areas of responsibility and advance in their own careers. Skilled organizational leaders are needed across every field today, but are in particular demand in human resources, training and development, and EAPs (employee assistance programs).

Whether you choose to pursue a career as an organizational manager or an organizational leader will be determined by your personality, aptitudes and goals. The more you understand about the focus of each track, the better equipped you will be to choose the track best for your aspirations and interests.

About the Author: Kayla Peterson graduated two years ago with her organizational management degree. She started out in organizational leadership and switched to organizational management when she discovered her love of finance and accounting.



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