Is Management an Art or a Science ?

This is one of the important questions you should be asking yourself .

MBAs who call, consider themselves as Manager should read this first.

Nobody should be considered as good Manager just because he/she is just an MBA. There are more subtle aspects to the word “Management”.

 

useless managerWhen MBAs think of the word “Manager” , they perceive him/her as someone who likes to control people under him/her or delegates the work to them, always gives instructions to his/her  subordinates.

This definition is totally wrong.

Manager” is someone who identifies strength of every individual in his/her group and helps to bring best out of them.

So let’s delve into it.

” Management is a universal phenomenon. It is a very popular and a widely used term. All organizations – business, political, cultural or social are involved in management because it is management which helps and directs the various efforts towards a definite purpose. “

This is one of the enduring questions in the field of management is to ascertain if it is an art or a science.

Well, Management is considered as both science as well as an art.

Management is a science because it has universally accepted principles, it has a cause and effect relationship etc.,

Management is an art because it requires personal skills, practical knowledge, creativity etc.
Art is defined as a “A superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation” and Science as “Any skill or technique that reflects a precise application of facts or a principle.” Those who believe in management as an art are likely to believe that certain people are more predisposed to be effective managers than are others, and that some people cannot be taught to be effective managers.

Practicing managers who believe in management as a science are likely to believe that there are ideal managerial practices for certain situations.

Management combines features of both science as well as art. The term ‘management’ today has several different connotations that highlight the different aspects of its nature.

Let’s see management from an Art angle

Observation & Experience

1. A successful manager practices the art of management through observation and experience. There is an existence of lot of theoretical knowledge in various areas of management like marketing, finance and human resources.

Theories & Terms

2. There are various theories propounded & terms coined by many management thinkers, which prescribe certain universal principles. A successful manager applies these scientific methods and body of knowledge to a given situation, an issue or a problem, in his own unique manner. A good manager works through a combination of practice, creativity, imagination, initiative and innovation. A manager achieves perfection after long practice. Refer to Peter Drucker

Styles of Management

3. A successful manager applies this acquired knowledge in a personalized and skillful manner in the light of the realities of a given situation. He/she is involved in the activities of the organization, studies critical situations and formulates his/her own theories for use in a given situation. This gives rise to different styles of management.

Implementation

4. The best managers are committed and dedicated individuals; highly trained and educated, with personal qualities such as ambition, self-motivation, creativity and imagination, a desire for development of the self and the organization they belong to. All management
practices are based on the same set of principles; what distinguishes a successful manager from a less successful one is the ability to put these principles into practice.

Now let’s look at Management through the lenses of Science.

Jargons

1. Management has a systematized body of knowledge. It has its own theory and principles that have developed over a period of time, but it also draws on other disciplines such as Economics, Sociology, Psychology and Mathematics. Like all other organized activities,
management has its own vocabulary of terms and concepts. They are called “Jargons” and managers need to communicate to their peers through jargonic language.
situation.

Evolution

2. The principles of management have evolved over a period of time based on repeated experimentation and observation in different types of organizations.

Conclusion

managers born or madeThe old saying that “Managers are Born” has been rejected in favour of “Managers are Made”.

It has been aptly remarked that management is the oldest of art and youngest of science.

To conclude, we can say that science is the root and art is the fruit. The practice of management is an art. However, managers can work better if their practice is based on the principles of management. These principles constitute the science of management.

Management as an art and a science are therefore not mutually exclusive, but complement each other.

Reference : Management Studies : Volume 1 by Camilet Cooray

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Sukrut is a passionate geek, internet visionary and a full time blogger, he has been teaching MBA students from the past two years, he is a chemical engineer by qualification,. Read my full story here

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