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Nature of Management as a Science, Art and Profession

Last Updated : 11 Jan, 2024
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The term management is used in various senses. Some consider it as an activity, some treat it as a group, some call it a discipline, whereas some look at it as a process. Management as an activity is getting things done through others. Management as a group is all those who manage. Management as a discipline is a body of knowledge, and as a process is what managers do. We define management as the process of getting things done through and with people to achieve a common goal effectively and efficiently. The nature of management can be analyzed in the terms of science, arts, and profession.

Management as a Science 

To understand this topic, we should first know what does science means? Science means a systematized body of knowledge that can be acquired through observation and experimentation. It consists of universally accepted principles that establish a relationship between causes and their effects.

The essential features of Science are:

  • Systematized body of knowledge: Science is a systematic body of knowledge. Its principles are based on a cause-and-effect relationship. 
  • Observation and Experiments:  All scientific principles are first developed through observations and then tested through repeated experimentation under controlled conditions.
  • Causes and Effect Relationship: Science is based on causes and their effects. For example, if a person eats lots of fast food without any physical activity, he will put on extra weight.
  • Universal Validity:  Scientific principles have universal validity and can be applied in all situations and times. basic truths.

We can say management has some features of Science as :

  1.  Management is a systematized body of knowledge in the form of basic principles and concepts. It not only has
    theories and principles that have developed over time, but it also draws on other disciplines, such as
    Economics, Sociology, Psychology, and Mathematics. Like all other organized activities, management has its vocabulary of terms and concepts.
  2. The knowledge of management has been built up through endless observation and experiments. Management experts and practitioners have developed the knowledge after thorough analysis,  inquiry and experience. The principles of management make use of the scientific method of observation and analysis. As management deals with human behaviours that cannot be scientifically predicted, the methods of observation used in management are not completely objective.
  3. Principles of management establish a cause-and-effect relationship between various factors. If there is a cause or an action, there will be an effect due to that cause. For example, dual subordination leads to confusion.
  4.  Principle of management is not applicable universally as they are not exactly like the principles of science, only the fundamental principles of management are universally applicable. These results can be tested and verified. The principle of management is modified as per the situation. However, managers are provided with certain fundamental techniques that are used in different situations. 

Therefore, management is a science. It can be said that management is a social science because it deals with people and their behaviour. 

Management as an Art 

Now, what do we mean by arts? Arts means the practical application of knowledge and skills to achieve the desired results. It is personal application of knowledge to achieve results. It is attained through study, observation and experience.

The essentials features of arts are:

  • Theoretical knowledge: Art comprises the application of theoretical knowledge. A particular art has its basic principles and theory. Some fundamental principles have been derived by the experts which apply to their particular form of art. For example, painting has its principles and theory to start with.
  • Personal skills: Every artist has his way of working. The use of basic knowledge varies from individual to individual. Even how they tackle their problems for reaching the result or the goal which they are willing to achieve differs. Applying this basic knowledge with practise, creativity, imagination, initiative, and innovation is a personal skill.
  • Creativity: Art consists of lots of creativity. The theoretical knowledge should be practised and applied differently to become more creative and achieve the ultimate goal. 
  • Perfection through Practice: As arts require nonstop practice to gain mastery. By performing the task again and again, the artists gain perfection through practise. For example, a dancer who practices for hours daily will get smooth and perfect with his steps through practise.

We can say management has some features of arts as :

  1.  There are many texts available in forms of theoretical knowledge for different areas of management, like marketing, finance, and human resources, in which the manager has to specialize. A manager practices the art of management in his everyday job of managing a business based on these studies, observations and experience. 
  2. Every manager has his unique method of working.  He tackles various problems based on his own opinion and understanding of the situation. There are many theories of management introduced by various management thinkers, which define certain universal principles. A manager applies these universal principles and theoretical knowledge in different situations and problems. So, management is an individual skill.
  3. Management is creative, as it converts inputs into outputs. A manager applies this attained knowledge in his personal and skillful way in the realities of a given situation. Management is goal-oriented and result-oriented. It aims at achieving ultimate productivity and profitability, i.e. at the lowest cost.
  4.  Management also involves regular practice. An efficient manager can convert a challenge into an opportunity through unceasing decision-making and leadership. Most management practices rely on the same set of principles and theories. The distinction between a successful and a less successful manager is his ability to put these principles into practice.

Therefore, management is an art.

Management as a Profession

What is a profession? Profession means a vocation requiring specialized knowledge, practical training, service motive and a code of conduct. A Profession is an addicted group of individuals who obey ethical standards and hold themselves out and are accepted by the public as having special knowledge and skills.

The essential features of a profession are:

  • Specialized Knowledge:  All professions are based on a well-defined body of knowledge that can be acquired
    through instruction.
  • Formal Education and Training: Almost all professions provide specialized education and training in their respective field. The professionals have to complete their education and training to get a job. There are various universities and formal institutions for attaining a complete education. For example, a doctor needs to complete his formal education and training to practice his knowledge before providing his services to the people. 
  • Service Motive: The basic motive of a profession is to serve their client’s interests by rendering dedicated and committed service. All professionals are also anticipated to serve society rather than simply earn profit.
  • Statutory Body: A legally recognized body regulates all professions. All professions are affiliated with a professional association that regulates entry, grants certificates of practice, and formulates and enforces a code of conduct.

We can say management has some features of the profession as :

  1. Management has a transmittable body of specialized knowledge. Management is growing all over the world as a discipline. It is based on a systematic body of knowledge comprising well-defined principles based on a variety of business situations. This knowledge can be attained at different colleges and professional institutes and through several books. 
  2. Some specialized institutions provide education and training in management. Having completed their education and training, students get placed as managers. Management is taught at different institutions, few of these have been set up with the definite purpose of providing management education, for example, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in India.
  3. The elementary purpose of management is to help the organization to achieve its stated goal. This may be profit making for a business enterprise and service for a hospital. But, profit maximization as the only objective of management will not help the company. Having a good management team that works effectively and efficiently will serve society by offering a better quality of products at reasonable prices. Alike other professional managers are also anticipated to serve society rather than simply earning profit for the owner.
  4. A legally recognized body regulates all professions. Managers also have their associations (e.g., All India Management Association). There is no compulsion for managers to be members of such an association. However, management associations are not statutory bodies. 

Although management does not retain all the essential attributes of a profession, it is no doubt arising as a profession. 

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