Management is a specialty in dealing with matters of time and human relationships as they arise in organizations. We have seen just how organizations affect the past, present and future.
The management is an attempt to create a desirable future, keeping the past and present in mind. It is a practice that produces consequences and effects that emerge over time.
Management is practiced in and is a reflection of a particular historical era. Management acts in relationships that have a spill over effects for other people.
Management creates the influence. Management is the principal activity that makes a difference in how well organizations serve people affected by them.
The rapid development of management principles and practices has changed the nature of management. Management is a distinct activity, and the nature can be analyzed in the context of its having some salient features—an economic resource, a system of authority, a science or art and a profession.
Some of the nature of management are as follows:-
1. Management as Science 2. Management as an Art 3. Management as a Profession 4. Management – An Economic Resource 5. Management – A System of Authority 6. Management – A Science or an Art 7. Management – An Emerging Profession.
Nature of Management: Management as Science, Management as an Art and Management as a Profession
Nature of Management – 3 Important Nature: Management as Science, as an Art and as a Profession
Management is still emerging as a discipline. Therefore, Nature of management is swinging among science, art and profession. Management is a social science because it involves the study of human behavior. All the principles of management are not hard and fast laws like those of Physics or other sciences; rather, they are flexible guidelines to be modified different situations.
This happens because living and complex human beings cannot be studied in controlled laboratory situations. Experiment cannot test the validity of the principles of management. Management is young and growing science, developed in the 20th centenary. Therefore, management is called soft science or inexact science.
Management is an applied and interdisciplinary science, because this applies the principles just like a medical or legal practitioner. It also draws on freely the knowledge from several other sciences like Mathematics, Sociology, Psychology, Economics and Anthropology.
Thus, management is neither exclusively science nor an art but a combination of both, management includes the principles that are as true as science, at the same time the way of implementation of these principles is an art. Moreover, it may be noted that science and art are not mutually exclusive but complementary to each other. Art without science is blind while science without art is sterile.
Only management theory cannot lead success in the management. Without knowing the application of management theory in real business situations, having degree or diploma will be wasteful. The science of management may be learnt in the classroom but practice is required for its successful implementation.
Therefore, the theory and practice of management are complementary to each other for the effective and efficient functioning of an organisation.
Nature # 1. Management as Science:
Science can be defined as a discipline of knowledge which is based on some logical grounds. This is established by the systematic development and testing of theories based on observation. The general body of knowledge is created through continuous testing and experiment. The principles are evolved by testing of hypothesis and cause and effect relationship among variables are established by principles.
The Features of Science are as Follows:
i. Clarity of Concepts – Universal concepts that have evolved through experiments are very important feature of science. These concepts become very clear in science and there is no place for any vague concept in science.
ii. Clarity of Theory – The set of mutually dependent concepts and principles that evolve a branch of knowledge is called as theory. Theory is known as generalized set of principles and concepts.
iii. Systematized Theory of Knowledge – Science is a systematic theory of knowledge because scientific principles are applied in a systematic manner.
iv. Scientific Methods – Systematic procedure of observation, formulation of hypothesis and experiment of phenomena are studied by scientific methods.
v. Cause and Effect Relationship – The most important feature of science is cause and effect relationship. Science told us that there is some definite cause behind any effect in the universe. It means if the cause is same then during the all observations effect will be same and its vice-versa.
vi. Universal Application – The principle of science is universally applicable. They are applied without any discrimination. These principles are applied in all culture, situations and countries.
Nature # 2. Management as an Art:
To attain concrete results arts involves the practical application of personal skills and knowledge. Specific things are done in a practical way by arts. Every artists has its own style, therefore, art is a personalized process. The success of an artist’s is measured by the results achieved over a long period of time ensures the perfection, Music, Dancing and Painting along with shaping Gold into ornaments by goldsmith are few examples of art.
The essential elements of arts are:
i. Personal Skill.
ii. Practical Know How.
iii. Result Oriented.
v. Continuous Practice for perfection.
Management is an art because of the following reasons:
i. Application of skill and knowledge by manager to coordinate the efforts of his subordinates is like an art.
ii. The concrete practical results like profits, growth and social services are achieved by management in a given situation.
iii. Management is result oriented. New and different situations are converted into outputs.
iv. Creativity is much more required in management to achieve results. The different situation needs creativity like arts.
v. The continuous practice is required to achieve the perfection in management.
Management is a science and the principles of management are true like principles of science. In the science we can measure in the quantitative terms but in management it is not possible because this is related with the human behavior. For example if we consider about the motivation then we find, needs are the cause by which individual are motivated to do work.
Here we can see that the cause is needs and effect is motivation. Science is present at this level but if we try to measure the motivation level or if we want to increase or decrease in the motivation level then we could not answer that how much needs will be required? It is obvious that management principles are not fully scientific but there is some part of science in these principles. Therefore, the nature management is called soft science.
Nature # 3. Management as a Profession:
Some important and essential features of a profession are as follows:
1. Well-Defined and Organized Body of Knowledge -A Well-defined and organized body of knowledge and problem is found to be well equipped with a well-defined and organized body of knowledge. This systematised body of knowledge consists with principles, theories and techniques. Cause and effect relationships are established by these principles and they had universal application.
2. Learning and Experience – Profession is known for its learning and experience. The subject knowledge is provided by education institutes and experience also teaches to such professional. As the managers will get more experience they will be more efficient and expert professional.
3. Codes of Ethics – Code of ethics govern the functioning of the professionals. This code of conduct is guiding the professionals to do their activities in very right and effective manner. Management profession also has its code of ethics.
4. Professional Qualification – Formal qualification and training is required for a profession. Doctors, lawyers, and Charted Accountants can practice only after acquiring formal education in the respected field. Management professional also have qualification by which they can practice.
5. Association – Every profession has an association to regulate the norms and exercise the practice. The standard of performance for the professionals is established by council. Management professionals also have an association to regulate the profession.
Nature of Management – 3 Major Nature: Management as a Science, Art or Profession
Management has a vast canvas and has various characteristics based upon various dimensions.
The nature of Management is given below:
Management is perhaps the only subject in academics which enjoys the distinction of being a science as well as an art and a profession. This is so because the contributions in the evolution of this subject have come from all the directions- artists, social scientists, economists, engineers, administrators, and practicing managers.
Management is an art because it requires the creativity and subjective skills of a manager like the communication skills, negotiation skills, motivational skills, etc. Every individual manager has his own personal traits—attitude, ethics, values and style, which constitute an art form.
Management is also a science as it requires a systematic study based upon scientific methods to analyse business problems and to find optimal solutions. While covering the development of management thought, we would come across the contributions of various scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who used scientific tools and techniques in laying the foundations of management as a discipline.
Management is undoubtedly one of the most sought after professions, which is evident from the immense achievements of successful managers in creating new enterprises, growing existing enterprises, and the lucrative pay packages offered by organizations worldwide to its managers.
The terms management and administration are often used interchangeably in common parlance. Extensive research in the literature reveals that there is a subtle difference between the two. American and European scholars seem to have a divergent view as to which term is a subset of the other.
American scholar Schulze (1919) is of the view that administration is a much broader concept, which encompasses management within itself. On the contrary, British scholar Sheldon (1930) and French scholar Fayol (1916) opine that management has a broader meaning than administration in a general sense.
Let us first look at the definitions of the terms administration; organization, and management as given by Schulze (1919).
Administration is the force which lays down the object for which an organization and its management are to strive and the broad policies under which they are to operate.
An organization is the combination of the necessary human beings, materials, tools, equipment, working space, and appurtenances (accessories) brought together in systematic and effective correlation, to accomplish some desired object.
Management is the force which leads guides and directs an organization in the accomplishment of the predetermined object.
While defining these terms, Schulze himself contends, “the words management and administration are so frequently used synonymously that one rather hesitates to draw a distinction between them, for, after all, usage gives a word its meaning.” He justifies his explicit distinction between the two terms by pointing towards the American model of the government, whereby the President typifies the administrative force, while the various governmental heads of departments typify the management force.
If we draw a parallel between a business enterprise and the American government, the Board of Directors of the enterprise may be taken as the administrative force, while the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) along with his subordinates would form the management force.
This characteristic of management requires the managers to decide and execute. Decision-making is an attribute which is of paramount importance for a manager. A manager has to take decisions all the time, some of which have short-term impact, while others have long-term impact.
Management has various tools and techniques to aid the decision-making on part of the manager. Thus, the expectation is that the manager will make informed and calculated decisions based upon past experiences rather than hunch or gut-feel.
As achievement of results is necessary for a manager, s/he has to implement the decisions as well. A well-thought of decision would not yield desired results unless it is meticulously implemented. Hence, decision and execution should go like hand in glove on part of a manager.
The key ingredients that decide the sustainability of an organization are its competent workforce, sound technology, and prudent financial judgements. Managing these resources (people, technology, and finance) is vital for any organization.
Managing doe people is undoubtedly the most important and challenging task for managers, as human beings may be compared to the most complex of machines—they have feelings, emotions, and sentiments. Getting things done through people may not always be a Cakewalk. People need to be motivated, trained, and directed to make them do the work wholeheartedly.
When we talk about people, these may not only be the subordinates or superiors within the organization, but also vendors, customers, stakeholders, and shareholders. It is important to understand the subtle difference between the terms stakeholders and shareholders. Shareholders are the people or organizations holding an equity stake in the enterprise.
They share the profit and bear the losses depending upon the performance of the enterprise. Stakeholders may be anybody affected by the operations of the enterprise -employees, shareholders, government, suppliers, customers, or local people getting affected (e.g. local people getting displaced due to a factory being set-up on a land where they currently live). It is thus important for a manager to develop the art and skills of dealing with such a vast variety of people.
Technology is increasingly becoming crucial for the success of an enterprise irrespective of industry. The kind of transformation organizations have witnessed due to rapid advancements in technology over the past few years is dramatic.
For example, in the banking industry, Internet banking has become more of a norm than exception within a short time span of past few years. Thus, it is imperative that recent advances in technology are monitored and deployed by managers in order to keep their organizations competitive.
Another example from the textile machinery—our local Indian machines (manufactured in places like Coimbatore) are finding it difficult to compete against the more sophisticated German machines in the Indian market. Under pressure from the Chinese competition, the Indian textile manufactures prefer German machines to increase their production capacities. This goes on to demonstrate how important it is for our local textile machinery manufacturers to improve their research and development capabilities.
Management of technology is therefore an integral part of a manager’s responsibilities. The processes used in transforming the input resources into output of desired goods and services are also dependent upon the technology used, thus adding to its importance.
Needless to say, managing the monetary part of an enterprise is necessary for a manager. It starts with the preparation of budgets for various activities of the organization, keeping a track of the money invested, ensuring a return on investment (revenue generation-the top line) and finally, the profits (or losses) made (the bottom line).
In addition, the manager has to pay attention to the market price of the equity shares of the company, as the primary objective of an enterprise is to maximize the wealth of the shareholders. The Ambanis of Reliance are famous for protecting the interest of their shareholders under the worst of circumstances.
Managing money is important in non-profit organizations as well, as the focus there is to minimize the cost of operations while fulfilling the strategic organizational objectives.
The systems approach to management envisages that a manager should be adept in managing the complex system comprising of –
iii. Situations, and
Resources are the men, machines, materials, tools, equipment, capital, buildings, facilities, etc. Resources are not unlimited for an organization which makes it all the more important for a manager to deploy and use a judicious mix of various resources in achieving the end objective of favourable results.
There may be close interrelationships between some of these resources, which need to be understood by the manager. For example, if the manager decides to install highly automated machines in the plant, it may lessen the number of workers required in the factory. Similarly, if a bank increases the number of ATM machines in a city, it would require lesser number of teller counters and personnel manning them in its branches.
Processes are the predetermined steps followed by an organization to convert various resources (inputs) into desired output of products and services. Ill- conceived processes may result in wastage of resources, effort and worst of all— low quality products and services. A manager has to, thus, carefully design and deploy suitable processes, which eliminate the wastes and optimally utilize the resources for best results.
There are various management techniques like methods analysis which aid the managers in this effort. For example, a thorough process analysis may reveal that the patients in a hospital have to unnecessarily wait for long durations at various stages of their medical examination, check-ups, tests, medicine distribution at the dispensary, etc. This would require redesigning of the patient OPD (Out- Patient Department) process so as to reduce waiting time of the patients.
Situations of various sorts often demand prompt action/decision from a manager. Some of the situations may be unprecedented and abrupt with very less reaction time on part of the manager. A positive attitude, will, and patience to handle such situations are expected from a manager.
Three examples come to mind when we talk of extreme situations managers may face over their career time. One is that of Manjunath, an executive of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (and an alumnus of IIM Lucknow) who was shot dead a few years back by a retail outlet owner in Lakhimpur Khiri (U.P.) for his honest actions to stop adulteration of petroleum products at the outlet.
Another equally appalling situation was faced by L.K. Chowdhury, the CEO of Graziano, an Italian electronics MNC with office in Greater. Noida, when on 22 September 2008, the workers dismissed by him had beaten him to death. Such situations are not limited to the Indian context as the third instance is about Sid Agarwal, the CEO of SiPort in California, who was shot dead by a sacked employee, Jing Hua Wu in November 2008.
These incidents have raised several questions and debates in business schools about the approach managers should adopt to avoid such gory incidents. However, all situations faced by managers may not be this extreme. For example, a manager may have to handle a crisis due to delay in delivery of raw material from a supplier, resulting in halting of production in the factory.
Relations developed by a manager with customers, subordinates, superiors, suppliers, government officials, media, etc. play a major role in growth/survival of an organization. It requires a conscious effort on part of a manager to continually communicate with people, exchange views with them or to send them greetings/ gifts on festivities, etc.
Ambanis of Reliance are often accused of maintaining close relations with government officials and political parties to swing some government policies in their favour. However, this approach is neither new nor illegitimate in the present business context, as long as ethical and legal limits are not broached.
Nature of Management – As an Economic Resource, a System of Authority, a Science or an Art and an Emerging Profession
Management is a specialty in dealing with matters of time and human relationships as they arise in organizations. We have seen just how organizations affect the past, present and future. The management is an attempt to create a desirable future, keeping the past and present in mind. It is a practice that produces consequences and effects that emerge over time. Management is practiced in and is a reflection of a particular historical era. Management acts in relationships that have a spill over effects for other people.
Management creates the influence. Management is the principal activity that makes a difference in how well organizations serve people affected by them. The rapid development of management principles and practices has changed the nature of management. Management is a distinct activity, and the nature can be analyzed in the context of its having some salient features—an economic resource, a system of authority, a science or art and a profession.
There are five factors of production, viz. land, labour, capital, management and entrepreneurship. These various factors are classified as human and non-human factors in an organisation. Management is the mover and development is a consequence.
Now-a-days, the organisational activities are so complex that their management requires specially qualified people. Sometimes, entrepreneurs themselves discharge managerial responsibilities. In company form of organisation, the management and ownership is completely separate.
Management as a factor of production can be made efficient by training and development programmes as other factors are made. However, management itself is responsible to make other factors—land, labour and capital—efficient in the organisation, as management coordinates various factors of production. From this point of view, management is an important factor of production and industrialization.
Any country, whose management is not efficient, can remain backward as it may remain backward in the lack of natural physical resources.
Management is the catalyst to maximize results. Management is also the catalyst to use the resources of the organisation in an optimum way. Thus, management as a coordinator of different resource emerged, because efficient management is the most critical input in the success of any organized group activity as it is the force which also involves and integrates other factors of production.
Management is a system of authority. A system can be defined as a set or assemblage of things connected or inter-related and inter-dependent so as to form a complex unity. The authority may be defined as the legal right to command others to act or not to act in a prescribed manner. Thus, management is the arrangement of various types of authorities.
Theo Haimann has described management as a group of top level managers. “A system of authority is a relationship between two individuals, one superior, and the other subordinate. The superior frames and transmits decision with the expectation these will be accepted by the subordinate. The subordinate executes such decisions and his conduct is determined by them.” Managers get the things done by others.
This shows that managers have some right by which they get the things done. This right is called authority which every manager must have to perform his functions effectively. System of authority is the way to the management job. It conditions the actions and behaviour of every management member in the organisation.
Management delegates some legitimate power to managers to perform the task effectively. The use of authority by a manager, however, depends upon his approach to the authority, his personality factors, subordinates, and situational variables.
Management is recognized as a science recently. Prior to this, the knowledge of the practices of management was not systematically organised. But now management acquired the shape of an organised knowledge, has its own boundaries and field of activity. Yet managers can work better by using the organised knowledge about management. It is this knowledge that constitutes a science.
Thus, managing as practice is an art; the organised knowledge underlying the practice may be referred to as a science. It is said that management is the oldest of arts and the youngest of sciences’. This explains the changing nature of management.
Management – As a Science:
Science is a systematized body of knowledge pertaining to an area of study and contains some general truth explaining the past events or phenomena. Science is organized knowledge. The essential feature of any science is the application of the scientific method to the development of knowledge. Thus, a science comprises clear concepts, theory and other accumulated knowledge developed from hypothesis, experimentation and analysis.
The observations are made on the basis of scientific methods which involve determination of facts through these observations of events and verifying the accuracy of these facts through continued observation.
Science has, thus the following features:
(i) It is a systematized body of knowledge and uses scientific method for observation.
(ii) The principles are evolved on the basis of continued observations.
(iii) The principles are exact and have universal applicability and are verifiable.
(iv) It should ensure predictable results.
(v) It should have a method of scientific enquiry.
(vi) It should contain cause-and-effect relationship.
Management may be a systematized body of knowledge and its practice may be evolved on the basis of observations. However, the principles of management are not as exact as in the natural sciences. The principles of management are flexible and are used with various modifications in various situations. Principles of management are fundamental truths, explaining relationships between two or more sets of variables.
Management as a science requires clear concepts—mental images of anything formed by generalization from particulars. Management as a science pertains to an area of study and contains some principles establishes relationships between variables and limits have been ascertained and underlying principles discovered.
Management – As an Art:
Art is the know-how to accomplish a desired concrete result. Art is the bringing about a desired result through the application of results. If a science is learnt, the art is practiced in the sense that how a particular work will be accomplished in the best way. Specifically, science is to seek knowledge and art is to apply knowledge.
People learn the particular art and through continuous practice they reach at the level of perfection. Art is practice-based and performing it requires continuous practice over a long period of time.
Thus, an art has the following features:
(i) It requires personal results to perform a task,
(ii) It requires practical knowledge or practical know-how,
(iii) It is result-oriented
(iv) It is creative in nature and constant practice aimed at perfection.
Management is an art, because while performing the activities of getting things done by others is required the knowledge of certain underlying principles which is necessary for every art. The manager gets perfection in the art of managing through continuous practice.
A manager applies his knowledge and skills to coordinate the efforts of the people and adopts his own approach towards a problem depending upon his perception and the environmental conditions.
E.F.L. Brech has observed that “a systematic study of knowledge underlies the competent practice of management, hardly anyone today would deny: and much of the knowledge lies in various fields which are of themselves academic disciplines. The summation of such parts cannot constitute a new science – what the advocates really mean is that competence in management necessitates both an adequate basis of knowledge and a mature scientific approach, they do not mean that management is on all focus with nuclear physics.”
From the above discussion, we can say that management is both a science and an art. It is considered a science because it has an organized body of knowledge which contains certain universal truths. It is also called an art because management requires certain skills which are the personal possession of the managers.
Profession may be referred to any occupation by which a person earns livelihood. It can be defined as an occupation, for which specialized skills are not meant for self-satisfaction, but these are issued for the longer interests of the society and the success of these values alone cannot be measured in monetary terms. Thus-
(i) All professions are occupations in the sense that they provide means of livelihood;
(ii) All occupations are not professions because some of them lack certain characteristics of profession.
Nature of Management – Is Management an Art or Science or As a Profession?
Is Management an Art or Science?
Art refers to know-how or systematic skills for the effective accomplishment of desired results. Every art is practical in that the proof of the practitioner’s competence lies in the tangible results that he can show. Art is used in creating things; hence it is creative in nature. Any manager’s work is to get the things done by the people for getting the desired targets. In this process, many a time he has to use his skills to deal with human beings so that they cooperate with manager and fulfill the mission without any difficulty.
Instead of ordering by using his official power, he can as well guide them in a friendly way, so that they may feel a sense of working. A manager must use his skills to motivate the people under him by creating a friendly atmosphere in the organization, so that everybody feel that he is for his organization and he realizes the benefits when the goal of the organization is reached. Hence, we can say management as an art of getting things done by the people for the accomplishment of desired goals.
Science refers to organized theoretical knowledge empirically derived, critically tested and generalized into theories, laws and principles. Many a time manager, who is making a decision, has to deal with the data on his hand and use mathematical techniques. While making decisions, he has to use logical thinking and scientific methods to obtain optimal results. Hence, we can say that management is both art and science. The science of management provides certain general principles, which can guide managers in their professional effort. The art of the management consists in tackling every situation in an effective manner.
Hence, we can summarize the nature of management as:
i. It is an art.
ii. It is a science or a discipline.
iii. It is a process of achieving results.
iv. It is a social process involving integration of people for common objectives.
v. It is organized to lead to the achievement of pre-determined objectives.
vi. It is a profession, which involves specialized training and is governed by an ethical code arising out of its social obligations.
Management as a Profession:
The managerial work needs both scientific knowledge and art of managing things tactically. Recollect your knowledge – When you go to a shop to purchase soap, you will ask for a particular brand. If that brand is not available in the shop, the shopkeeper will not send by saying that the brand is not available. But he influences you to go for some other brand available with him or he gets it from nearby shop and gives it to you. It is the art that he does not want to lose a valuable customer. Now let us see how management is a profession.
In the present day scenario, management may be included in the category profession. It is because varied duties of managers – like, Materials Manager, Design Manager, and controlling staff, needs certain special knowledge to tackle the problem and take decision and guide the people under him to act.
It can also be recognized as other professions like Doctor, Lawyer. But in some textbooks, it is mentioned that the discipline of management has so far not received as much as acceptance to its claim to being a profession. The definition of profession says— “a calling in which one professes to have acquired some special knowledge use by way either of instructing, guiding, advising others or of serving them”.
But in present day context we see that a materials manager must have acquired profound knowledge of the subject to advise, guide, instruct the personnel regarding the selection, use, purchase of materials. So also a design engineer must have profound knowledge in design field to guide people. Many a time industrialists go to consulting firms to get advice regarding their managerial problem, Hence, we can say that Management is also a profession.
Over a large few decades, factors such as growing size of business unit, separation of ownership from management, growing competition etc. have led to an increased demand for professionally qualified managers. The task of manager has been quite specialized. As a result of these developments, the management has reached a stage where everything is to be managed professionally.
A profession may be defined as an occupation that requires specialized knowledge and intensive academic preparations to which entry is regulated by a representative body.
The essentials of a profession are:
1. Specialized Knowledge:
A profession must have a systematic body of knowledge that can be used for development of professionals. Every professional must make deliberate efforts to acquire expertise in the principles and techniques. Similarly, a manager must have devotion and involvement to acquire expertise in the science of management.
2. Formal Education and Training:
There are no. of institutes and universities to impart education and training for a profession. No one can practice a profession without going through a prescribed course. Many institutes of management have been set up for imparting education and training. For example, a CA cannot audit the A/C’s unless he has acquired a degree or diploma for the same but no minimum qualifications and a course of study has been prescribed for managers by law. For example, MBA may be preferred but not necessary.
3. Social Obligations:
Profession is a source of livelihood but professionals are primarily motivated by the desire to serve the society. Their actions are influenced by social norms and values. Similarly, a manager is responsible not only to its owners but also to the society and therefore he is expected to provide quality goods at reasonable prices to the society.
4. Code of Conduct:
Members of a profession have to abide by a code of conduct which contains certain rules and regulations, norms of honesty, integrity and special ethics. A representative association to ensure self-discipline among its members enforces a code of conduct. Any member violating the code of conduct can be punished and his membership can be withdrawn. The AIMA has prescribed a code of conduct for managers but it has no right to take legal action against any manager who violates it.
5. Representative Association:
For the regulation of profession, existence of a representative body is a must. For example, an Institute of Chartered Accountants of India establishes and administers standards of competence for the auditors but the AIMA however does not have any statuary powers to regulate the activities of managers.
From above discussion, it is quite clear that management fulfills several essentials of a profession, even then it is not a full-fledged profession because:
(i) It does not restrict the entry in managerial jobs for account of one standard or other.
(ii) No minimum qualifications have been prescribed for managers.
(iii) No management association has the authority to grant a certificate of practice to various managers.
(iv) All managers are supposed to abide by the code formulated by AIMA.
(v) Competent education and training facilities do not exist.
(vi) Managers are responsible to many groups such as shareholders, employees and society. A regulatory code may curtail their freedom.
(vii) Managers are known by their performance and not mere degrees.
(viii) The ultimate goal of business is to maximize profit and not social welfare. That is why Haymes has rightly remarked, “The slogan for management is becoming— ‘He who serves best, also profits most’.”
Nature of Management – Is Management an Art or a Science?
A discipline is usually considered either an art or a science. The discussion on whether management is an art or a science has been an on-going philosophical debate from the time the term ‘management’ has been coined. This argument emanates because of the newness of the discipline and the contingent and ephemeral nature of management.
First, let us understand what science and art are. Science may be described as a systematised body of knowledge based on proper findings and exact principles, and is capable of verification. It deals with fundamental truths and its findings apply in all the situations and are replicable.
Art refers to the way of doing specific things and indicates how an objective can be achieved. Therefore, art is skillful application of knowledge, which entirely depends on the inherent capacity of a person; in this case, a manager. It comes from within a person and is learnt through practice and experience.
We know that management is about people and other resources. There are goals of the individual as well as the organisation, and both have to be achieved. This involves creating an environment where people and resources interact to achieve goals.
If we apply the insight on what science and art are, and extrapolate it on the definition of management, we can see that management is a science as it has developed some systematised knowledge based on proper findings and principles, and many management actions are replicable.
There is systemic knowledge on various management aspects; for example, how to value a firm, how people get motivated, or how to sequence production. Many management aspects are verifiable. For example, if we increase the motivational factors, productivity tends to increase.
We can take a decision based on scientific method such as defining a problem, developing a hypothesis, collecting data, analysing them, and proving or disproving the hypothesis. In this sense, management is a science.
However, are all these possible always? Perhaps, not. For example, though we know how to value a firm, we do not fully understand the relative way the factors used in valuing a firm work. Similarly, management principles are operated by people and their impact is also on people, unlike in physical sciences.
Therefore, their idiosyncrasies and emotions affect decisions, and this often makes the principles invalid. For example, motivation of various people in an organisation may vary and what motivates one may not motivate another and application of a motivating method in one situation might yield the desired results, but it may not yield result in another similar situation.
Even in the same situation, it might motivate some, but not others, and to make it worse, it might even demotivate some. For example, providing a school bus for children of employees might be a motivation to some people, whereas it may not be so to others who do not have school going children.
Another challenge is that environmental idiosyncrasies often affect management. For example, higher productivity may not result in profits since the market which buys the product may not have the money or may have found a substitute. In this sense, management practices are not replicable, as in science.
Management is largely about people—employees, customers, suppliers, and managers. People take decisions not only based on rationality but also based on emotions, which vary from time to time and person to person. Therefore, all factors that affect a decision, and all data related to the factors involved cannot be captured scientifically.
At least, we cannot do that as yet. As a result, management is based on practice, experience, and intuition, which are subjective and often based on individual managerial competencies. Hence, management is a judicious combination of practices in art and science. Perhaps, it is more prudent to call it a social science. Perhaps we can call it science art, a term that we can coin to refer to integration of science and art.
Nature of Management – Management as Science or as an Art
For understanding the nature of management, it is necessary to know whether management is a Science or an Art. Let us examine the difference between Science and Art.
i. Scientific principles are systematic knowledge.
ii. They are based on scientific analysis and observations
iii. There is cause and effect relationship of different factors.
iv. Genuineness of scientific factors can be tested and verified.
i. Art is a practical knowledge.
ii. It is the skill that an individual possesses.
iii. Creativity is the main factor of Art.
iv. It has a result-oriented approach.
v. Knowledge combined with experience makes advancement in the subject.
When you go by the principles of Science, management can be considered as a Science, as a management possesses – qualities of Science. Science is a systematised body of knowledge related to an area of study and holds the facts explaining past events. Management as a science provides guidance to find solutions to specific and critical problems. It makes possible to achieve the objective and evaluation of results.
Art of the management deals with the application of skills and efficiency for obtaining desirable results in the specific situations. Management is, therefore, a science as well as an art. To practise a profession efficiently, one must know the science and art aspects of the one’s profession. The following example will be relevant in this connection.
You might have noticed in your locality that many a medical practitioners have their name-boards in the front of their clinics with a number of qualifications. Also, you might have noticed that very few of them turned out to be successful in their profession.
In fact, every one of them might have attained sufficient professional knowledge of the Medical Science in their respective fields. Knowing the scientific aspect of the profession alone is not sufficient to make them popular medical practitioners. Possibly, the art aspect of the profession might not have been developed by most of them. Art of a profession means the KNACK or the way of doing a practice and in a way, giving utmost satisfaction to the patients.
If an individual rightly understands the art of the profession and applies with knack, he is bound to get the response of appreciation from others and makes a name in his profession for himself. Therefore, management is a science as well as an art.