The debate on whether management is an art or science, is very old. This hot debate, however, is not very much in the air though the controversy is not yet resolved.
According to Wikipedia, management is the administration of an organization, whether it be a business, a not-for-profit organization, or govt body. It involves the activities of setting the strategy of a corporation and coordinating the efforts of its staff members to achieve its objectives.
Specification of exact nature of management as an art or science or both is essential to specify the procedure of learning of management. The learning process in science is different from that of art. Learning process in science requires the assimilation of principles while learning of art requires regular practice.
Most of the controversy about management as a science or an art is due to the fact that managers have used intuition, commonsense, and experience in controlling companies. They were not trained professional managers. Following are the key differences between commonsense and science:
Science is founded on logical consistency, systematic explanation, critical evaluation and experimental analysis. Science is a systematized body of knowledge. The process of scientific theory construction and verification can invole the following steps:
1. The formulation of a problem or complex of problems according to observation;
2. The building of theory to offer solutions to the problem or problems depending on inductions from observations;
3. The deduction of specific hypotheses from the theory;
4. The recasting of the hypotheses with regards to certain measures as well as the operations needed to test the hypotheses;
5. The devising of real situation to examine the theorem; and
6. The real testing in which confirmation does or does not occur.
Why Management is an Art ?
Henry Mintzberg is among the most well-known and notable advocate of the school of thought that management is an art. Management consists of the activities of planning, organizing, making decisions, controlling and integration of all resources which requires special skill and art.
The meaning of art is associated with the getting of a desired result through the application of skills. Art demands practical knowledge thus learning of theory is just not enough. It is crucial to know practical application of theoretical principles. Like any other art, management is also creative in nature . It fuses human and non-human resources in beneficial way in order to achieve desired results. Read More
Reasons why Management is a Science
Managers who believe in management as a science will certainly feel that there are ideal managerial practices for many situations. Management as a science has systematized body of knowledge, notion and principles. As a science management includes concepts, hypothesis, theories, experimentation all validated and analyzed appropriately to explain about cause and effect relationship between many facts or events happened.
Science can be broadly split into two sets:
- Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
Physical sciences like Physics, chemistry and mathematics are exact and accurate, in contrast, social sciences usually are not so exact and precise since they take care of human beings. Management is a social science as it relates to human beings. Since it is not possible to predict human nature with accuracy, the decisions taken in management might be just one way of doing things in a provided scenario and not the only way of accomplishing things.
Management is an Art or Science or both
To become an effective manager, a individual needs the understanding of management principles and the skills of how to utilize the knowledge. Lack of either will lead to inefficiency. A comparison between science and art is presented below.
- Advances by practice
- Advances by knowledge
Watch a Video on Management is an art or science or profession
You can see that management makes use of both scientific knowledge and art in managing a business. As the science of management increases so should the art of management. An equilibrium between the two is necessary. Neither of them should be overweighed or ignored.
A number of experts believe that more gains in science of management will limit art more and more. This is correct to a limited degree only. The reality is that to be valuable, knowledge or science has to be applied, that is, art must be present. For that reason, the saying that ‘knowledge is power’ is to a certain extent true. The right saying should be ‘applied knowledge is power.’ Individuals possessing ample knowledge may have little use in case they are not aware of how to use knowledge. This is specifically true for management, which is a situational phenomenon.
In this article we discussed whether management is an Art or Science. Management is similar to a coin with both sides, it could be considered as science and art because: it handles collection of data and hypothesis which has to be performed scientifically and also systematically and on the other hand art because: it needs a basic body of knowledge and in addition it gives room for creativity.