Everything you need to know about the nature of management. It is hard to define the nature of management.
Different people look at management differently. While a mathematician defines management as a logical process, a psychologist considers it as an art of understanding human behaviour.
However, such approaches are narrow as they look at a particular aspect of management, thereby, missing to see the subject as a whole.
Learn about the nature of management as:- 1. A Science 2. An Art 3. A Profession 4. An Art and a Science.
Learn about the Nature of Management
Nature of Management – As a Science, An Art, A Profession
Science is a systematically organised body of knowledge based on proper findings and exact principles and is capable of verification. Any subject which is scientifically developed and consists of universally accepted principles is a science.
In this respect, management can be considered a science. It satisfies the basic characteristics of a science.
The following are the important features:
1. Science is an organised body of knowledge comprising general principles. Management is also an organised body of knowledge comprising general principles.
2. Science uses scientific and systematic methods for observations. Management also uses scientific methods for observations and calculations.
3. The principles of Science are derived from practice and are verified by competent people. The management principles are also derived from practice and are proved to be true.
4. The scientific principles are exact and are universally applicable. The principles of management are also exact and are universally applicable.
5. Science has a predictive power. A manager also can predict from practice that sales will increase if advertisement expenses are increased.
Thus, management can rightly be called a ‘science’. But, management is not a perfect science like Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Management falls in the area of “Social Sciences.” Ernest Dale has called management a ‘soft’ science.
‘Art’ refers to the way of doing specific things. It indicates how an objective is to be achieved. It is the know-how to accomplish a desired concrete result.
Management possesses many of the important qualities of an art.
It can rightly be called an art due to the following similarities:
1. Just like an art, the process of management requires the use of know-how and skills.
2. Management is also practical like an art because it aims at the achievement of concrete results.
3. There is always a risk regarding the success of an art. There is an uncertainty regarding the success of a manager also.
4. The work of an art is highly personalised. The management is also personalised because every manager has his own approach to the solving of problems.
5. Finally, like an art the management is undoubtedly an art, and that too a fine art.
Management is regarded as a profession by many, although it does not possess all the features of a profession. A profession is an occupation for which specialised knowledge, skills and training are required.
The use of these skills is not meant for self-satisfaction, but for larger interests of the society. The success of the use of these skills is measured not in terms of money alone.
Management as a profession should possess the following attributes:
1. A profession involves the application of expert knowledge for solving problems. Management also requires expert knowledge for solving problems.
2. A person must compulsorily acquire the expert knowledge to practice a profession. Those who want to practice management as a profession must acquire expert knowledge.
3. Honesty and integrity are essential for a profession. They are equally essential for management also.
4. The principal motive of any profession is service. Modern management aims at giving priority to service to the customers.
5. Every profession has certain social responsibilities. The management has responsibilities to the various sections of the society like, owners, creditors, customers, employees, the government and the public at large.
Thus, we can conclude that management is a profession, although it is not a full-fledged profession. It is this aspect that has raised the status of the manager.
To sum up, management is a trinity of science, art and profession.
Nature of Management – Art or Science
Management- Art or Science?
Much has been said and written about the subject of management as an art or a science. If we consider science a discipline in the sense of our natural sciences, it cannot be said that management is a science. In natural science one is able to experiment by keeping all factors constant and varying one at a time.
In the natural sciences it is not only possible to define, analyze, and measure phenomena, but it is also possible to repeat the same conditions over and over again, which enables the scientist to experiment and to obtain a proof. This kind of experimentation cannot be accomplished in the area of management since we are dealing with the human element. As long as the human element is involved we cannot speak of scientific experiments in the strict sense of the word.
Taylor, in his Principles of Scientific Management, was thinking of knowledge of two different kinds.
When he discussed the best method of making a cut of specified dimensions in a piece of metal of particular size and hardness, he realized it is possible to repeat the same operation over and over again; in this connection he was thinking of scientific management as knowledge found in the physical sciences, where the same conditions can be repeated over and over again and experiments of this nature can be carried on.
But when Taylor turned to the human element, he realized that experiment and proof and less possible, and he thought of scientific management in a second way. Human beings are not standardized and experiments cannot be repeated under standardized conditions.
Taylor used the adjective “scientific” in its second sense in his studies of planning, organization, routing and costing. He used the word “scientific” there in its meaning of an organized body of knowledge about a subject “as opposed to mere traditional rules or empirical dexterity.”
In this case, the word “science” is used in the same sense in which we speak of political science or military science. Undoubtedly, political science and military science are greatly concerned with human beings. Principles of these sciences cannot be subjected to the same kind of experimentation as is customary in the exact sciences.
“Yet no one has ever objected to the use of the words science and scientific as applied to these activities, while there is constant disputation and confusion about the application to the activity of management.”
The question arises as to whether or not management is an art. Art means the knowing-how, the application, whereas under science one normally understands the knowing-why. Chester I. Barnard, an eminent contributor in the area of management, pointed out that it is the function of the sciences to explain the phenomena, the events, the situations of the past, and that their aim is not to produce specific events, effects, or situations, but explanations which we call knowledge.
However, “it is the function of the arts to accomplish concrete ends, effect results, produce situations that would not come about without the deliberate effort to secure them. These arts must be mastered and applied by those who deal in the concrete”. This know-how is indispensable to the manager, and it can only be learned in practice and through experience.
Management contains both elements, those of a science and those of an art. This is not a contradiction in terms, for art and science complement each other and are not mutually exclusive. Consider the example of the physician. There is no doubt that he depends on the sciences for his training and his basic knowledge, but he could not do without the art, the application, the know-how, of practicing medicine which he gains from his experience.
The same holds true for the manager. He depends on the managerial principles and concepts. In his practical experience in the business life itself, he will learn the art of being a manager. The theory and practice, or the art and the science, are mutually helpful.
Recently, considerable attention has been given to analytical approaches to management, resulting in the emergence of mathematical formulae, business games, operations research, scientific decision-making, and so forth.
Nature of Management – As per the Opinion of Chester I. Barnard, Luther Gulivict, Robert N. Hilket, Mc. Farland, Kennith Andrews and Others
1. Management as an Art:
Art is the systematic application of skill or knowledge in effecting accomplishment of results. As per opinion of Chester I. Barnard, “It is the function of art to accomplish concrete and results, produce situations that would come about without the deliberate effort to secure them. The art must be mastered and applied by those who deal in the handling resources”.
Management is one of the most creative arts as it required a vast knowledge and certain innovating, indicating and integrating skills in relation to production and marketing functions. It is the art of management that the factors of production can be blends to secure maximum profit at a minimum cost. A manager practices the art of managing business.
The essential feature of an art are as follows:
(a) It requires theory of learning.
(b) It involves use of personal skill and knowledge.
(c) It is a way to achieve desired results.
(d) It in one of the most creative art because it is concerned with getting work done through and with others.
(e) It calls for abilities, intuition, and judgment which are personal attributes.
(i) Manager gets perfection in the art of managing through continuous practice. The perfect practice makes a person perfect.
(ii) Managing involves application of management concepts and principles under different conditions.
(iii) The modification of attitude and behaviour of group towards achievement of goals is an art.
(iv) The responsibility of manager is to modify the behaviour and attitude of his team member as per requirement of situations.
(v) The integration of skills with implementation process is an art.
Art is very important in management because in many cases high degree of creativity is necessary in applying the managerial knowledge and skills. The applying behaviour modification models at work place is an art of a manager.
Science in the systematised body of knowledge related to a particular field of study which is based on proper findings and exact principles can be applied under similar circumstances of business environment.
As per views of Luther Gulivict, “Management is already a field of knowledge and is becoming a science, because the inter relationships being involved are being explained systematically and the emerging theories are being tested and improved by logic and facts of life”.
However management science is not accurate as physics or chemistry because it deals with human beings whose behaviour are highly unpredictable and complex.
The essential features of science are as follows:
(a) It is a systematised body of knowledge.
(b) It is developed through scientific experiments.
(c) The principles of science establish a cause and effect relationship between various factors.
(d) The validity of scientific principles can be tested at any time.
(e) The scientific principles have universal applicability without any limitation.
Thus management is a science because it contains a systematic body of knowledge in the form of general principles. Management principles are universal in nature but they cannot be expected to give same results in every situation. There-fore, management is a social science.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has stated that, “Management is the art and science of preparing, organising, and directing human effort applied to control the forces and utilize the materials of nature for the benefit of man”. Robert N. Hilket describes that, “In the area of management, science which combines art are two sides of the same coin”.
Management is a process which combines art as well as science in getting the desired results in the best possible manner. Science provides the knowledge about the certain things and art deals with the application of knowledge and skills. Thus management is both a science and an art.
3. Management as a Profession:
Due to the globalisation and specialization of economy, the modern management has emerge as distinct profession. The dictionary meaning of profession is, “Calling in which one profession to have acquired a specialised knowledge which is used either in instructing, guiding or advising others”.
Mc. Farland has pointed out the following characteristic of management as a profession:
(i) Existence of an organised and systematic knowledge.
(ii) Formalised methods of acquiring training and experience.
(iii) Existence of an association with profesionalisation as its goals.
(iv) Existence of an ethical code to regulate the behaviour of the members of the profession.
(v) Charging of fees based on service rendered, but with due regard for the priority of service over the desire for monetary reward.
Kennith Andrews identified the following characteristics of management as a profession:
(ii) Competent application.
(iii) Self Control
(iv) Social responsibility, and
(v) Community sanction.
The American Management Association has contended that management as a profession meets the following basic but specific characteristics:
(i) It has a body of knowledge that is transferable. This body of knowledge is being constantly enlarged and enriched from the experiences of successful managers as well as from the research findings of sociologists and scientists in related areas.
(ii) It follows a scientific approach. There are prescribed patterns for managerial operations.
(iii) It requires specific skills and tools that are used in the profession of management duties and responsibilities.
(iv) It adheres to a code of ethics. A professional manager is conscientiously in his role and is honest in his attitude and philosophy.
(v) It has a required discipline. As in the case of other professional carriers, managing requires a discipline for effective performance.
Management is proceeding towards professionlisation because of the following reasons:
(i) Management has a distinct field of knowledge.
(ii) Education in management can be imparted in business schools, colleges, institutions and universities.
(iii) The practice of management requires a lot of training and experience.
(iv) Management associations have been attempting to evolve a common code of conduct for the practising managers.
(v) Managers give due weightage to their social obligations towards customers, workers, government and society.
From the above views, it is cleared that management fulfils several essentials of profession. No minimum qualifications have been prescribed for managerial personnel. The management associations have no legal right to enforce their code of conduct. The managers are responsible to the owners as well as to other social groups.
According to Peter F. Drucker, “Management is a practice rather that a science or profession through containing elements of both. No greater damage could be done to economy and society than to attempt to professionals management by licensing managers or by limiting access to management to people with special academic degree.”
Management is an art, profession and science is not merely an academic question but raises certain issues which are concerned with future development of management. It still remains a developing field; changes are taking place continuously in its nature, significance and scope. In recent past society has been challenging ethical and moral basis of management decisions and demanding professionalisation of management.
Nature of Management – As Science, Art and Profession
Managing, like most other practices such as – medicine, engineering and accountancy is an art or is essentially a know-how. It is doing things in the light of the real commercial world. Yet managers can do better or improve their performance by using their organised knowledge about management. Such knowledge has a scientific character and, in this sense, management is a science. In short, while managing as practice is an art, the organised knowledge underlying the practice is no doubt a science. In this context, science and art reinforce each other and are interlinked.
As science progresses over time, so should improve. In truth, science underlying managing is fairly crude and largely inexact because the diverse variables that managers deal with are fairly complex and largely unpredictable. In spite of this, such management knowledge can certainly improve managerial practice. Executives who attempt to manage by ignoring the scientific aspects of management must depend on luck, hunch, intuition or their past experience.
In managing, as in any other field, unless practitioners are to learn by trial and error and it is believed that manager’s errors are their subordinate’s trials, there is no other way of gaining meaningful and effective guidance other than the accumulated knowledge underlying their practice.
1. Management as a Science:
Management is a systematised body of knowledge relating to a particular area of study. It is a study of the physical and natural world using theoretical models and data from experiments or observations. It includes certain fundamental principles, theories (theorems), concepts and hypotheses which seek to explain causation (i.e., cause- and- effect relationship) between (among) two (or more) variables. The principles of science are universally applicable and these can be tested by carrying out controlled experiments. In other words, in any scientific experimentation the conditions arc controlled (as in a laboratory test).
To be treated as a science management should have the following six characteristics:
(i) Systematic collection of knowledge – The base of any scientific enquiry is a systematic body of knowledge which provides a framework for analysis.
(ii) Observation based on scientific principles – Test or application of any scientific method should be based on observation and enquiry.
(iii) Carrying out experiments – Scientific methods and principles are developed through observations and tested through repeated experiments. Scientists carry out controlled experiments in order to verify or falsify a proposition or a hypothesis. Every time an experiment is carried out the same causation or cause- and-effect relationship is found.
(iv) Exactness of scientific laws (principles) – Any scientific law is exact in nature. Every time an experiment is carried out, the same result is obtained. Let us take, for example, the law of gravitation. Every time a coin is dropped from the top of a building, it will fall on the ground within a few seconds.
(v) Verifiability of principles – Once an observation is confirmed through repeated experimentation and testing it becomes an accepted and established scientific principle. The reason is that the application of a scientific principle gives predictable results.
(vi) Universal applicability – Any scientific principle is universally applicable. The application of the principle will give the same result if certain prescribed conditions are satisfied.
No doubt, management has a systematised and specialised knowledge base. Writers and researchers on management use scientific methods to collect and analyse data about the behaviour of people in organisations. In addition, various testable propositions have been developed to find out causation or cause-and-effect relationships among variables. These principles have also been empirically tested and verified by many research scholars. Most of these principles have universal application. These have been applied in different times. For this reason management is called a science.
However, management is not an exact science such as astronomy, physics, chemistry or biology.
It is an inexact science for the following reasons:
(i) Most of the principles of the management do not get empirical support.
(ii) Since management studies human behaviour it is not possible to establish any cause-and-effect relationship.
(iii) The application of management principles largely depends upon external (environmental) factors.
(iv) Management deals with actual behaviour of people at the workplace and not with cogs in a wheel.
Since people’s behaviour varies from organisation to organisation and time to time, it is largely, if not entirely, unpredictable. And their behaviour cannot be subjected to laboratory experiments. In addition, management studies the behaviour of people in groups, and as an organisation is a part of the broader social system or society, it is treated as a social science.
Management is a universal discipline but the practical application of its theoretical principles may show different results depending on situations. However, it is easier to describe management than to practice it. The work of management, the complex task of getting organisations and people to perform well, is not particle physics. But without a theory it is not possible to ascertain what is happening within the organisation as also in the external environment. This is why management is treated as a soft science.
The application of management principles and management skills is an art. The objective is to achieve desired goals. Whereas science is concerned with acquisition of knowledge, art is practical application of the same knowledge.
An art has the following four features:
(i) A body of knowledge – Art is based on the knowledge of certain concepts, principles and techniques as they are applied in a particular area of specialisation such as dancing or painting.
(ii) Application of knowledge and skills – At an individual level art implies application of the knowledge and skill acquired by an individual in a particular field, such as – acting or singing. As a practitioner every artist develops his (her) own skills and style of doing things.
(iii) Practice – Art is mastered and modified through continuous practice. Otherwise, there is loss of specialisation.
(iv) Creativity – Art is essentially a creative activity, and an artist uses his skill, efficiency, ability and own style for giving improved performance.
Management is considered an art for at least six reasons:
(i) Use of knowledge – The practice of management requires the knowledge of management theories, principles and techniques.
(ii) Application of personal skills – Every manager has to apply his personal skills to tackle various diverse problems which he faces. In some situations managers are required to use their own judgment to take rational decisions as also to overcome crisis situations.
(iii) Situational nature – Management is situational in nature. This means that every manager has to apply his own knowledge and skill in order to deal with a particular situation.
(iv) Learning through practice – The art of management can be learnt and mastered through repetitive performance and continuous practice. Only practice can make a manager perfect or less imperfect than he (she) originally is.
(v) Achieving goals – The process of management is directed toward achieving organisational goals.
(vi) Creative nature – Like any other art management is creative in nature. Managers generate new ideas through their own work experience and these are later applied in practice.
Every manager is supposed to and is often found to apply his knowledge of management as also his personal skills while interacting with others for achieving desired results. The real art of management lies in moulding the attitudes and behaviour of people in an organisation toward achieving organisational goals. As an art, management calls for ability to work with others, capacity to take right decisions and formulate plans. All these require sound knowledge and personal judgment.
The effectiveness and efficiency of a manager depends on his (her) personal skills, types of people to be managed and types of situations faced. Unlike a musician, a manager is not able to apply the same principles or techniques in different situations and environments.
3. Management as a Profession:
The term ‘profession’ is usually defined as an occupation based on specialised knowledge and training and to which entry is restricted by a professional association, A professional is a person with a recognised set of skills and knowledge which qualify him (her) to practise a certain occupation. Usually this knowledge is gained from lengthy training and is certified after passing an association, often by a professional (or qualifying) examination, as is the case with doctors, architects and lawyers.
The essential requirements or tests of a profession are the following:
(i) Application of Specialised Knowledge:
(ii) Restricted Entry Based on Formal Education and Training:
Entry to a profession is based on formal education and degree (such as – MBBS or LLB) and training or internship. But entry to a management profession is not so restricted. Persons without MBA degrees can do managerial jobs or a teacher of economics can join a management institute as a faculty member.
(iii) Professional Body or Association:
For the development and regulation of any profession, the existence of a representative body is mandatory. For example the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) lays the standard of education and training for those who want to enter the profession. Only the persons holding degree and membership of the Institute can work as company secretaries. But this is not the case with management.
No doubt, the All India Management Association (AIMA) has been set up for spreading professionalism among managers. But it has no authority to prescribe the minimum qualification for taking up managerial jobs or to regulate the functions of managers. Furthermore, becoming a member of any recognised management association is not mandatory for becoming a manager.
(iv) Ethical Code:
Every profession must have a code of conduct which prescribes norms to be followed by its members. It also gives a precise specification of professional ethics for its members. But there is no universally accepted code of conduct for practising managers.
(v) Social Recognition:
Since today’s managers recognise and discharge their social responsibilities towards customer’s, workers and other stakeholders they enjoy a social status and command social respect, i.e., respect from other members of a society. So they are not guided just by the profit motive.
(vi) Charging of Fee for Service:
Management consultants charge professional fees for their services to their clients much like doctors and lawyers. However, their number is small.
In other words, this is not a very widely adopted practice. It is more an exception rather than a rule.
Management can be treated as a profession for the following reasons:
(i) The field of management is based on an organised body of knowledge which can be taught and learnt.
(ii) Management of modern organisations requires competence of professional managers who can apply the techniques of raising productivity or cutting costs or improving the industrial relations situation. So, there is a need of formal education and training in management.
(iii) For prescribing standards of education and training for their members various associations of managers have been formed in different countries of the world. For example, in the UK. The Management Charter Initiative has attempted to identify core ‘competencies’ of management as a first step to creating a profession of management. At the managerial level, core competencies are the basic skills and knowledge required to perform a job.
(iv) Various associations of managers such as – The All India Management Association (AIMA) have been set up in different countries to prescribe codes of conduct for their members.
(v) Managers are aware of their responsibilities towards various groups of the society such as – customers, suppliers, workers, governments at different levels and the public at large. Since they are guided by the service motive, they enjoy high status in the society like doctors and chartered accountants.
(vi) Management is result oriented in nature.
Management cannot be fully regarded as a profession because it does not fulfill all the requirements of a true profession.
Three main arguments against professional status of management go as follows:
(i) Entry into any management job is not restricted by an entrance examination. There is no prescribed qualification for becoming a manager.
(ii) Management does not have an All India Association which can prescribe professional standards to be followed by practising managers.
(iii) There is no ethical code of conduct for managers which are universally applicable as in the case of doctors and lawyers.
Thus, professionalisation of management still remains an incomplete journey. However, it is striving hard to reach its destination.
Management has not yet been viewed as a profession in India for at least two reasons:
ii. No professional body has been able to enforce minimum standards.
However, numerous associations concerned with particular aspects of management, for example the National Institute of Personnel Management or the Institute of Materials Management, have identified training requirements. They also hold examinations in an attempt to achieve or gain professional status.
In short, whether management will gain the status of a full-fledged profession is not yet clear. There are both supporters and opponents as far as the issue of professionalisation of management is concerned.
Nature of Management (with Characteristics)
It is hard to define the nature of management. Different people look at management differently. While a mathematician defines management as a logical process, a psychologist considers it as an art of understanding human behaviour. However, such approaches are narrow as they look at a particular aspect of management, thereby, missing to see the subject as a whole.
If we look at the literary meaning of science, it means a “study of the physical and natural world using theoretical models and data from experiments and observations.” Many writers claim that management qualifies to be called a science. The advancements made in various areas of management, knowledge derived through research in behavioural sciences, etc. can be claimed as evidence to advance the claim of management as a science.
Any branch of knowledge, if it claims to be a science, must fulfil the following criteria:
1. Laws must be constant- Scientifically established laws are constant. They do not change. Laws of gravitation, Newton’s laws, etc. are some of the examples because such laws should be capable of being applied anywhere and anytime.
2. Show a clear cause-effect relationship- Scientific laws clearly show what happens under certain set of conditions. It clearly shows what can be the result when certain conditions are changed. It explicitly mentions what can be obtained by changing the inputs.
3. Capable of withstanding the test of time- A scientific law must be capable of proving itself any number of times. It must give constant result each and every time it is put to test.
The various functions and sub-functions of management have been studied in-depth; models and experiments have led to acceptable deductions and writers have hailed management as an applied science. But we have to accept the fact that management cannot claim to be a science like physics, biology or any other branch of scientific subjects.
Science is subject to physical laws that hold good in all conditions and are constant. However, management is not subject to any such laws. It is true that management has a systematised body of knowledge; it works on concepts and certain principles that may be using scientific techniques. Although management uses scientific methods in many areas, like decision-making, it does not amount to being a complete branch of science.
Likewise certain writers are of the opinion that management is an art. We may see ‘art’ as a skill that can be perfected through practice. This means that theoretical learning is not enough by itself; it must be backed up by constant practice that will enable the practitioner to overcome hurdles and reach goals. Here we see that though theoretical knowledge is useful, the practical experience is of great importance. It arms the practitioner with the wherewithal to accomplish what he or she sets out to do.
Management as an art has the following characteristics:
1. Practical Knowledge:
Mastery over any art requires delving into its theoretical aspect as well as practicing it. Hence, simply gaining theoretical knowledge is not sufficient. It is very essential to know the practical use of theoretical principles. For example, to operate the computer, the user must know the purpose of the keyboard, CPU, mouse and some main computer programs. Likewise, a manager can never become an efficient employee just by graduating from a Business school. To excel, he must learn the art of applying management principles in real life situations and gaining first-hand experience to validate his theoretical knowledge.
2. Personal Skill:
Every manager gains the same theoretical knowledge as others in the business do. Yet, every manager has his or her own style of managing. That is why the quality of performance and success of every manager varies. For example, India is populated with many good playback singers. But Lata Mangeshkar has a distinct voice which no one has. Similarly, the art of management is also distinct because every manager does work on the basis of his nature, knowledge, notions, experience, etc. This distinctness makes someone a good manager and others bad.
Just like a good artist dreams to produce something authentic and new by using his creativity, management too aims to come up with a different product by making judicious use of its human and non-human resources. For example, Snapdeal(dot)com is the first online retailer to put luxury yachts on sale for the customers.
4. Perfection through Practice:
As the saying goes, “Practice makes a man perfect.” In the same way, managers also learn and excel by way of trial and error. By applying management principles in their workplace, over a period of time they become well- honed in their roles.
Even when we learn and practice an art, we look ahead to achieve concrete results. For example, a classical dancer may aim at performing for international audience. In like manner, management is also focused on accomplishing, pre-set goals. Managers make use of men, money, machinery, raw material and management methods to materialise the goals.
In this way, we can conclude that management is an art of studying human nature and activities. And the success of the enterprise lies in proper interpretation of the human nature.
In general sense, profession means occupation. An occupation requires certain specialised education, training and skills which should be used in the interest of society as a whole.
Management fulfills the requirements and manages to qualify as a profession on the basis of the below given criteria:
1. It is a specialised body of knowledge and capable of being transferred. In the current age, management as branched out into specialised areas like Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Marketing and Sales, etc.
2. Management, like any other profession, requires formal education and training. For example, a person becomes a qualified manager only after he has fulfilled the basic educational requirements of the profession.
3. Management professionals are expected to serve the society like other professionals.
4. Like all other professionals, management professionals also have a code of conduct which they adhere to.
Management is Both an Art and a Science:
According to American Society of Mechanical Engineers, “Management is an art and science of preparing, organising and directing human efforts to control the forces and utilise the material of nature for the benefit of men.” Thus, it has now been accepted that management is an art as well as science. It has the elements of both art and science. In the words of Dean Stanley, “Management is a mixture of an art and science – the present ratio is about 80% art and 20% science.”
It is regarded as an art because the performance of managerial functions require certain skills which are personal traits of any individual. It is recognised as science because it is based on systematised body of knowledge and its principles have evolved on the basis of observations over a period of time.
Various aspects which proves the facts that management is an art and science have been discussed below:
1. It Requires Practical Knowledge – Managers shall possess practical knowledge of the domain in which they are working and shall also know how to apply it. They shall be aware of the pros and cons of any act as they know that only knowledge is not enough.
2. Manager Shall Possess Personal Skills – Peculiar abilities which are possessed by one individual may not be possessed by other individual. For example, an architect may design different structures on the same plot. This art may vary from one individual to other. One may design it effectively whereas others may not catch attention. Similarly, every manager has personal skills as well while applying managerial principles and it may vary on the basis of his experience and therefore may end up different results.
3. Creativity is Necessary – The act of making something in an efficient way and a different manner, and using it in such a way to manage, is creativity. It is based in creativity and intelligence of a person. Management also involves use of human and non-human resources in a different manner to achieve desired objectives.
4. Learning through Practice – It is said ‘Practice makes man perfect’. No one is born a true artist. Similarly, no one learns to manage right out of the womb. An individual gains skills of management over the time through practice.
5. Management is Goal-Oriented – As managerial activities are always goal-oriented and intended to achieve desired results, various resources – human and non-human resources – are blended so that the ability of managers of using available resources brings it near to arts.
Management is recognised as science because:
1. It is based on Set of Principles:
Management comprises of universally accepted principles which are followed by managers to a large extent in pursuing their jobs. It is because of this reason many people believe that it is a science. For example, there is a general trend of rewarding an employee who performs well in the organisation for motivating him and enticing other employees to follow the same.
2. It Involves Experimentation and Observation:
Most of the time, managers observe some new techniques which are then employed in business. Finally, the results are examined so they can eventually be adopted or avoided.
3. It Deals with a Study of Cause-and-Effect Relationship:
Just as science is based on cause-and- effect relationship to find relationships between the variables. Similarly, management also deals with studying of relationship between actions taken by the managers and its impact on the performance of subordinates or workers. It has been noticed that satisfactory performance of employees in any organisation is a result of a positive working condition. In this case, the two variables are performance and working conditions.
4. It Can Test Validity and Predictability:
Validity implies the quality of being logically or factually sound. It is the extent to which a concept, conclusion or measurement is well-founded and corresponds accurately to the real world. In science, soundness of the scientific principles can be verified at any given time and they provide similar results every time and in near future, probable events can be predicted by using such principles. However, in management, the validity of principles can be established by using them in different situations and comparing the outcome with the original result.
For example, if one intends to measure validity of unity of command, he can have a situation where an employee has to work under two bosses and a situation where employee has to perform under one boss, the performance of the employee can be examined under these two different situations and accordingly, inferences can be drawn on the validity of the management principle.
Since the principle of management are not as exact as the principle of science, their application and use is not universal. Therefore, it cannot be fully recognised as Science. Ernest Dale has called management a ‘soft’ science. According to some management experts, management is a behavioural science at its principles and theories may not lead to same results even if applied under same situations at different point of times.
Thus, management as an art and a science are not mutually exclusive but complement each other. One can conclude that the science of management provides certain general principles which help the managers in their professional work schedule whereas the art of management enables them to deal with every situation in an effective manner.
Profession may be defined as – “a specialised kind of work which is practiced using classified knowledge, a common vocabulary, and requiring standards of practice and code of ethics established by a recognised body.”
Any profession has certain characteristics as listed below:
i. There should be a specialised service based upon advanced specialised knowledge and skill.
ii. There shall be a confidential relationship between the person practicing profession and the client.
iii. It shall be charged with a substantial degree of public obligation by virtue of its profession of specialised knowledge.
iv. It shall enjoy access to a common heritage of knowledge, skill and status to the cumulative store and the professionals shall also contribute through their individual and collective efforts.
v. It shall perform its services to a larger interest of the general public.
vi. It shall receive its compensation through limited fees rather instead of direct profit from the improvement in goods, services or knowledge, which it accomplishes.
vii. He shall be bound by a distinctive ethical code in its relationships with clients, colleagues and the public.
In the light of the above requirements for profession, it is not clear whether management can be called a profession or not. One can arrive at proper conclusion only if the features of management are compared with the characteristics of recognised profession like medicine, law, accountancy, etc., which are discussed below –
1. Availability of Systematic Knowledge:
Every profession has a well-defined area of organised knowledge. Management also deals with different areas of knowledge drawn from diverse fields like economics, mathematics, etc., which facilitate managers to perform their job better. The coordination in decision-making by managers of different organisations is possible as it is an application of the same theory followed by all managers in their decision-making.
2. Formal Methods of Acquiring Managerial Skills:
Nowadays, formal education and training is an important source of knowledge. If the knowledge is gained through experience from one living mind to another, then it is not considered appropriate for practicing managers.
3. Code of Ethics:
In order to protect the integrity of members, professionals must be governed by a strict code of ethics formulated and enforced by professional bodies. In case of management, there is no such association for enforcing code of ethics on the managerial role.
4. Social Responsibility and Commitment:
True professionals are expected to serve with thorough dedication and commitment. Monetary benefits are not the measure of their success. In fact, managers are expected to serve keeping in view the long-run interest of the organisation. At the same time, they should also be conscious of their social responsibilities. They should realise that they are entrusted with resources of society and they must ensure their effective use.
From the above discussion, we may conclude that management cannot be regarded as a profession in all respects but it has some of the characteristics of a profession.
Nature of Management: Whether Management is Regarded as a Science, or An Art of as a Profession?
We will try to understand the nature of management in light of the two statements:
1. Whether Management is regarded as a Science or an Art?
2. Whether Management is regarded as a Profession?
It is widely debated whether management is considered a science or an art. To arrive at a conclusion, we must try to see the traits and nature of Science as well as art.
Some principles and theories which have logic, something which is proved, some relationships, principles, etc. which have been observed, experimented and analysed and then finally a conclusion is drawn, is regarded as science.
Similarly, Management principles, techniques and theories are also drawn from observations, research work, experiments and testing. However, Management is not a pure science like physics, chemistry, etc. It is an inexact science, a social science dealing with people and their behaviours.
Anything that requires personal skill, knowledge, application, creativity, practice and anticipation is regarded as qualities of an art. All these attributes are present and required in management. Managers use their personal skill and knowledge in dealing with complex situations through application of the principles and techniques to get the desired goals.
Bringing in uniqueness and novelty for business growth and diversification holds true for management. The hunch, the anticipation, the foresightedness is essential for a manager to accept the challenge, turn it to an opportunity and obtain the desired results.
Thus, we see, Management is a mixture of both art and science, and combines their features.
Let us first understand the meaning and characteristics of a profession. Profession is a specialised occupation. A service is offered to the public by a professional after acquiring specialised education, training and experience in a particular subject. He/She registers or becomes a member of the professional association and starts practising it.
Following are the features/characteristics of a profession:
1. Specialised body of knowledge – Professionals must acquire a deep knowledge, ability and talent in a particular field.
2. Formal education and training – One must acquire a degree, diploma, certificate from the professional institute such as CA, LLB, MBBS, etc. and undergo training that helps in practical exposure.
3. Professional association – After acquiring the professional degree and undergoing training, a professional needs to take membership of the concerned association. For e.g., Medical Association of India for doctors, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for Chartered Accountants, Bar Council for lawyers and so on.
4. Code of conduct – The association to which a professional gets registered, issues a set of guidelines, which the members are bound to follow, failing which, the membership gets cancelled.
5. Honesty and Integrity – A professional must follow the basic qualities of honesty, morality integrity and hard work in deliberation of their jobs. They must not succumb to any means of unfair practices, whatsoever.
6. Service motive – Professionals are respected in the society for their dedicated service towards the society. This noble act of service must be kept in mind while charging fees to their clients or while offering quality service.
Management though, majorly constitutes all the attributes of a profession, still it is not considered as a true profession. Receiving specialised knowledge and education and obtaining certificates and licences have not been made compulsory in India. Though in many western countries, it has been recognised as a profession, but in the Indian context it is marching towards acceptance of Management as a Profession.
Nature of Management: Notes
Management is the bone of contention between Arts and Science. While it has been claimed that management is an art struggling to become a science by a few, there are a few others who contend that the formal study of management began as a science but has been contaminated by too many factors from various disciplines, thus making it best — a soft science. Actually management is an eclectic discipline with elements of both arts and science, as any practising managers will confirm.
There is a body of objective, yet incomplete knowledge that is believed to be the best thinking on the subject of management. Management science is a body of systematized knowledge accumulated and accepted with reference to the understanding of general truths concerning management.
Management science is expansive, more flexible and vulnerable to changes or alterations that may vary from time to time, pertaining to marketing/commercial trends while the case is not so in physical science. Physical science such as math or chemistry is comprehensive or accurate. Physical science deals with non-human entity, and it is this inclusion of the human element that raises questions in some minds about management qualifying as a pure science.
For instance, in strictly identical circumstances or situations, two different individuals need not necessarily think, act or react in an identical way. The response stimuli in each individual could differ drastically and sometimes even differ to an incomprehensible extent based on each individual’s psychological, social response or individuality too.
Therefore management will never become pure a science as the physical sciences, but great strides have been taken (made) in systematizing knowledge and generalizing certain truths which will be evident. Management is indeed a social science, a term that accurately describes its true nature.
The art of management is a manifestation of personal creative power plus a projection of individual/ team skills in performance. As far as each company’s success rate is concerned the entire scheme of activities is a continuous process. This process involves constant analysis, research, problem-identification and error-rectification wherein the contemplation of the problems, events and possibilities develops personal creative powers on one hand, while, experience, observation, and study of results contribute to better efficiency and skilled performance on the other.
In other words, management art involves envisioning an orderly whole from chaotic parts, communicating the vision, (and) thereby making provisions for achieving the goals. It is the “art of arts” because it organizes and uses the human talents.
If science teaches one to know, art teaches one to do. Whereas Managers ought to be a combination of both being able to know and being able to do things efficiently and effectively to be successful. They are indeed a unique scientific and artistic combination in practice. However, quite often, the old say — “knowledge is power” is true only in its application. Those whom we meet happen to be people who are very intelligent but lazy and unwilling to apply their knowledge to solving problems and accomplishing objectives.
In a certain sense, it can be said that the art of management begins where the science of management stops. Facts are first used, “the known” is given preference, and data owned tangibles are considered. These scientific aids are pursued to their limits, but in any given case they may seem in adequate.
It is then that the manager should be able to rise up to the need and turn to artistic managerial abilities to perform what is called a skilled performance.