Everything you need to know about management as an art, science and profession. Management has already been conceptualized as the social process by which managers of an enterprise integrate and coordinate its all available resources for the achievement of common, clear goals. It has developed into a body of knowledge and a separate identifiable discipline during the past six decades.

Practice of management as an art is, of course, as old as the organized human effort for the achievement of common goals.

Management has also acquired several characteristics of profession during recent times. Large and medium-sized enterprises in India and elsewhere are managed by professional managers – managers who have little or no share in the ownership of the enterprise and look upon management as a career.

Management as an Art, Science and Profession

Management is an Art or Science or Profession

Management — an Art, a Science?

Science implies existence of a body of knowledge in a systematised form based upon careful observation, accurate mea­surement, experimentation and inferences or conclusions de­rived from detailed analysis of data, i.e., facts and figures. The knowledge is verifiable through experiments giving us the cause-effect phenomenon. In other words, science provi­des the theory, principles and the laws on any branch of human knowledge. Science gives knowledge which in turn gives power for application.


Management is a developing science. It has now evolved certain basic principles and elements in the form of process of management which has universal application in each branch of human activity-profit-making as well as non-profit organisations. However, management is not comparable to exact sciences like physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

It deals with human beings and it is a social science like the science of economics. It is quite obvious that principles of manage­ment are not fundamental truths and their application may not yield the desired results always. Human behaviour is ever-changing and most unpredictable. It is not governed by the laws of mechanics.

Human being is not an inanimate machine. Hence, management dealing with complex human beings is bound to be an inexact science. Even then theoretical base of knowledge is essential for developing sound prac­tice. In fact, theory must be supplemented by practical know­ledge continuously. Science and art are complementary and each supplements the other.

Art reflects practical application of knowledge and it is perfected through knowledge and experimentation. Art is not only based on knowledge but it derives its creative power through intuition, inspiration and such other purely subjec­tive attributes.


A manager is not only a scientist but also an artist. As a scientist, he relies on the existing theory and philosophy of management and develops new knowledge, new principles and new schools of management thought. As an artist, he has to depend on his own experience, inner senses, intuition and judgment while making decision on any managerial problem and taking actions on the decisions to realise the set objecti­ves.

Scientific attitude and scientific method shall be applied in problem-solving approach, e.g. marketing research, busi­ness research, etc. But decision-making cannot be totally re­duced to science. In reality, human judgment and experi­ence enjoy the veto power in decision and as a decision maker manager is an artist. In the ultimate analysis, decision-making. The heart of management is an Art to be acquired by conscious effort and practice.

‘Knowledge is power’ is an old saying. But to be correct the saying should be ‘Applied knowledge is power.’ Neither science should be over-empha­sised nor art should be discounted. In reality, the science and the art of management go together hand-in-hand and both are mutually interdependent and complementary. Theoretical teaching of medicine and engineering is almost invariably ac­companied by practical work in a hospital or workshop. Prac­tice leads towards perfection.

Planning and organising are called mechanics of manage­ment and indicate emphasis on. the science of management, whereas leading (including communication), motivation, co­ordination and control are the dynamics of management emphasising the art of management.


Getting work done through people is an art of management. It is a tough job de­manding initiative, empathy, drive, tact, discretion and other higher qualities. We need artistic managerial ability to per­form a managerial job. If the art of management is conside­red as the use of acquired knowledge and cultivated judg­ment to produce a desired result, management is certainly dependent appreciably upon the display of an art.

The art of management is fully reflected in decision-making capacity of a manager, Judgment and imagination are essential even-in a computerised economy. Computer cannot replace manager in decision-making.

Is Management a Profession?

“A professional manager is one who specialises in the work of planning, organising, leading and controlling the efforts of others and does so through systematic use of classi­fied knowledge, a common vocabulary and principles and who subscribes to the standards of practice and code of ethics esta­blished by recognised body.” Louis A. Allen.

Managerial revolution has brought about separation of management from ownership in corporate management in all countries slowly but steadily. Hence, management is assum­ing professional character during the last four decades.


1. Body of Knowledge:

Management has now developed a specialised body of management theory and philosophy. Man­agement literature is growing in all countries. In fact mana­gement knowledge is the best passport to enter the world of employment.

2. Management Tools:

Tools of management have been developed such as, accounting, business law, psychology, sta­tistics, econometrics, data processing, operations research etc. These branches of management profession have enhanced the practical utility of the science of management.


3. Separate Discipline:

Management studies in many uni­versities and institutions of higher learning are recognised as separate discipline. Since, 1951, we have even specialised schools of management offering diploma as well as master’s degree in business management and administration.

Semi­nars, special courses, workshops, training programmes are becoming fashionable and popular for orientation and retrain­ing in management areas, e.g., export management, personnel management, general management, production management, marketing management, financial management, etc.

4. Specialisation:


There is a growing tendency to select and appoint highly qualified, trained and experienced persons to manage the business in each functional area of business. Thus we have today increasing tendency in favour of manage­ment by experts or professionals.

5. Code of Conduct:

Enlightened businessmen have recog­nised that management is a social institution and it has social responsibilities to be fulfilled-towards customers, employees, and the public or community. Corporations have now social conscience and awareness. Consumer-oriented marketing con­cept is a reflection of corporate code of conduct.

Pressure of consumerism, trade unionism, public opinion, and legislation are definitely inducing the management to evolve a code of ethics. No longer buyer beware is ruling the exchange relations in the market. Now we have seller beware in place of buyer beware influencing market practices.


6. Professional Association:

We have now Business Mana­gement Associations in many countries to promote the spread of knowledge in all management areas and to build up the bright public image of managerial profession.

The work of a manager is shown below:

Central Framework of Management System:

1. Top Bar — Organisation.

2. Right Bar — Communication.


3. Left Bar — Human Relations.

No organised activity could exist for long without the holy three of the Bicycle. Manager has to use the central frame effectively.

Supporting Mechanism to Management System:

(1) Rear wheel- It represents Technical know-how, Admi­nistrative office, plant, personnel, marketing, purchasing, fin­ance, planning, and research.

(2) Front wheel- It represents managerial functions- planning, organising, leading, controlling etc. Manager pro­vides the motive power to run the wheels of business enter­prise. He is also the coordinating and controlling authority.

(3) The Head-lamp represents goals and objectives to be achieved.


(4) On the carrier we have goods and services required in the market.

(5) Roadway for business journey indicates economic, social and political factors — the environmental variables.

(6) Surrounding landscape includes attitudes and behaviour of workers, customers, public and community. Organisation is moving forward under the torch of goals.

Manager is the pilot or driver driving the vehicle of busi­ness enterprise, and negotiating with the environment to secure optimum use of resources.

Management is an Art or Science or Profession

Is Management a Science or an Art?

We should know what science is and what is an art before discussing whether management is a science or an art?


What is a Science?

Science is a body of knowledge developed systematically, based on observation, measurement, experimentation and drawing inferences based on data. The knowledge can be verified through cause-effect relationship. The knowledge provides principles, theory and laws.

Management satisfies the characteristics of science like:

i. Body of knowledge is developed systematically. Management knowledge is developed through a number of systems like input-output system, organisational system, functional system etc.

ii. Management knowledge is developed through observation, measurement and experimentation.

iii. Inferences are drawn based on data analysis.


Management is a developing science. However, management cannot be equated with exact sciences like physics and chemistry. Most of the managerial activities like decision-making, planning, organizing and directing cannot be an exact science.

What is an Art?

Art is to understand, how a particular activity can be done. Art can be acquired by conscious effort and practice. Management is getting things done by and through other people. They have to continuously analyse the environment and formulate the plans and strategies.

They have to modify the strategies based on environmental changes. The principles of management and theories of management cannot be implemented as learnt, in the real world. They are to be applied after making necessary modifications based on the real life situations.

Thus, management is both a science and an art as it acquires the characteristics of both.

Is Management a Profession?

Any occupation to be called a profession should satisfy the following:


(i) Body of Knowledge:

Management knowledge is developed systematically and scientifically based on research studies, experiments, experiences and observations. Further, management literature is continuously developed by researchers and practitioners.

(ii) Development and Updating the Knowledge:

Management knowledge has been developing continuously. Managers should update their knowledge by learning and acquiring the latest developments through training, executive development and formal study.

(iii) Professional Journals:

There should be professional journals to publish the findings of research studies. There are a number of professional journals all over the world to publish the findings of research studies and latest developments in management: Harvard Business Review, Vikalpa, Decision, Indian Management and Indian Journal of Industrial Relations.

(iv) Professional Associations:

There should be professional associations in order to monitor and enable professional development. Further, they implement the code of conduct. Management professional associations in India include- All India Management Association (AIMA), National Institute of Personnel Management, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India etc.

(v) Code of Conduct:

The professionals should behave ethically while discharging their duties. AIMA, National Institute of Personnel Management, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and other professional organisations formulate the code of conduct.

(vi) Specialised Educational Qualifications:

There should be specialised educational qualifications for employment for professional jobs. Specialised educational institutions are established to impart specialized education. Indian Institutes of Management and Departments of Management in the Universities are established to provide specialized management education leading to Post­graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and Master of Business Management (MBA) degree.

Management satisfies all the characteristics of a profession. Therefore, management is a profession like medicine and law.

Management is an Art or Science or Profession – Meaning, Features, Testing and Conclusion

There is a conflict about the nature of management whether management is a science or an art. Some management experts consider it as a science, while some place it in the category of Art. It is a very old and misleading conflict.

Before understanding the issue about the nature of management, it is important to understand the meaning of science and art.

The features and meanings of science and art and its presence in management will become clear in the following description:

Management as a Science:

It is important to understand the meaning of science before accepting management as a science.

Meaning of Science:

Science refers to that systematic body of knowledge which is acquired on the basis of observation and experiments and verification of this knowledge is possible. For example- a person completes his study of engineering. During the course of his study, he gets a complete theoretical knowledge of the subject. His acquiring of knowledge in this manner is a science.

Definitions of Science:

Following are the Important Definitions of Science:

(1) According to Keynes, “Science is a systematised body of knowledge which establishes relationship between cause and effect.”

(2) In the words of G. R. Terry, “Science is a body of systematised knowledge accumulated and accepted with reference to the understanding of general truths, concerning a particular phenomenon, subject or object of study.”

On the basis of the above definitions, Science seems to have the following five characteristics:

(1) Systematised Body of Knowledge.

(2) Based on Collection of Facts, Analysis and Experiments.

(3) Universal Application.

(4) Cause and Effect Relationship.

(5) Verification of Validity and Prediction of results Possible.

Testing of Management as a Science:

It is important to apply these characteristics of science to management in order to find out whether management is a science or not.

(1) Systematised Body of Knowledge:

It is necessary for science to be a systematised body of knowledge. Management is also a systematised body of knowledge because it came to be recognised after years of research and experimentation by management experts.

(2) Based on Collection of Facts, Analysis and Experiments:

After applying this characteristic of science to management, we find that development of management took years for the collection of facts, their analysis and experiments. In other words, management came into existence because of the continuous and encouraging labour of the theorists and various people concerned.

(3) Universal Application:

Scientific principles are based on truth and they can be applied at every time and in every situation. Thus, its universal application is possible. In the field of management too, managerial knowledge and principles of management are considered to be based on truth and they, too, can be applied anywhere and in every situation.

For example- the principle of unity of command which means that subordinate employees should get orders from only a single officer is universally applicable in the field of management. In case there happen to be more than one high officer the subordinate employee will not be able to understand as to what command is to be given priority, which will ultimately affect his efficiency. In this way, many other principles of management are applied universally.

(4) Cause and Effect Relationship:

Scientific principles always explain the relationship between cause and effect. When it is applied to management we come to know that the principles of management also establish this relationship between cause and effect.

For example- poor planning and plant layout affect production. Here poor planning is the cause and less production the effect. Similarly, the principle of distribution of work explains the correct or proper distribution as the cause and increase in efficiency as the result. In this way, we find these characteristics of science in management.

(5) Verification of Validity and Prediction of Results Possible:

Mere collection of knowledge and facts is not science. For science, validity and prediction of results is important. The validity of the principles of management can also be verified and results can be predicted on application of any special principle. Thus, the principles of management, like the principles of science, can prove their validity on the touchstone of practicality.

For example- the principle of unity of command when put to practice tells us that a subordinate who has one officer to give him command will be more efficient than the other subordinate who gets commands from more than one officer. On the other hand, because of the relationship between cause and effect, the possible results of the application of any principle can be predicted. For example- the application of the principle of the unity of command gives us the knowledge of possible results.


The management cannot be treated as a perfect science, but as its principles are subject to change with time, situations and human nature, it is better to call it Applied Science or Inexact Science. Ernest Dale has called management a soft science because its principles are not very rigid.

Management as an Art:

Meaning of Art:

Art refers to the skill to put into action, a systematic body of knowledge, for the achievement of a specific task. For example- when a person after completing the course of engineering working as an engineer in a company, his work is known an art.

Art is an individual process because every artist has his own way of doing things. In reality, art is a creative process and its success can be measured by the results achieved by the artist. The manufacture of furniture by a carpenter and ornaments by a goldsmith are examples of art. Art can be improved with the help of continuous practice.

Definitions of Art:

Following are the important definitions of Art:

(1) According to G. R. Terry, “Art is bringing about of a desired result through application of skill.”

(2) In the words of T. L. Massie, “In any activity that is classed as an art the emphasis is on applying skills and knowledge and accomplishing an end through deliberate effort.”

On the basis of above mentioned definitions it can be asserted that Art consists in doing a job efficiently and achieving an objective effectively by using practical know-how and personal skill.

From this point of view, art has five characteristics:

(i) Personal Skill;

(ii) Practical Knowledge;

(iii) Concrete Result-oriented Approach;

(iv) Development through Practice; and

(v) Creative Power.

Testing of Management as an Art:

Whether management is an art or not will be known by the application of the characteristics of art in management, description of which is as under:

(1) Personal Skill:

In this context management is an art because in order to achieve the objectives of an organisation, the manager makes use of his personal skill to overcome all the obstacles hindering the way of successful attainment of the objectives of the organisation. Thinking and taking decision are important in the work of management and these qualities are found in varying degree among different managers. Consequently, their style of getting work out of other people is also different.

It is not necessary that a style or system of work which is successful for one manager will certainly be successful in case of another manager. Therefore, the quality of personal skill being a characteristic of art is present in case of management.

(2) Practical Knowledge:

Art points towards practical knowledge and is related with its actual application. Management is also practical knowledge and in business the importance of a manager is known from the fact of applying the principles of management efficiently and effectively and not from the amount and extent of knowledge of the principles of management that he possesses.

Performance of managerial functions requires a manager to have the power of making decision, efficient conduct and quality of leadership and these qualities reflect his practical knowledge. Thus, practical knowledge is inherent in management and, therefore, it can be called art.

(3) Concrete Result-Oriented Approach:

The basis of art is the attainment of meaningful results. In this context management also consists of the same concept because management is also concerned with the achievement of realising objectives. For management meaningful results are – getting maximum profits with the minimum of investment and labour; achieving the objective of production and sales; ensuring appropriate profit on capital; etc.

The success of a manager is determined by the fact that how efficiently and economically he gets the pre-determined objectives of the organisation. Thus, it will not be inappropriate to call management an art on the basis of its result-oriented approach.

(4) Development through Practice:

Just as art can be embellished with the help of practice, in the same way managerial skill also improves with practice. Every manager has a desire to become a complete expert in his field. They can fulfil his desire by continuous practice. A fully developed manager not only moulds the organisation according to the changing circumstances but also has the capacity to change the outer circumstances according to his will. Thus, management possesses this characteristic of art too.

(5) Creative Power:

Art possesses the inherent power of creativity. Similarly management has the quality of creative art. In management the work is completed by motivating other people and establishing coordination between their activities. In other words, management is not an unproductive process but its objective is to create an atmosphere in which all people can perform their functions efficiently.

The above analysis clearly establishes that management possesses all the characteristics of art and on this very basis it has been accepted as an art.


Therefore, we can say that management is both a science as well as an art. As a science, management with the help of its principles provides the necessary guidance to the managers to achieve practical efficiency. With reference to art, management, in the form of best work technique, helps the managers to face every type of situation successfully. It is, therefore, reasonable to treat management both as a science and an art.

Management – as a Profession or Professionalisation of Management:

Meaning of Profession:

The nature of management gives rise to an important question – whether management is a profession. One has to learn the meaning of profession and understand its characteristics before answering this question.

To understand the meaning of profession, a study of the following definitions will be meaningful:

(1) According to Webster dictionary, “Profession is that occupation in which one professes to have acquired specialised knowledge, which is used either in instructing, guiding or advising others”.

(2) According to Hodge and Johnson, “Profession is a vocation requiring some significant body of knowledge that is applied with high degree of consistency in service of some relevant segment of society”.

(3) Prof. Dalton E. McFarland has mentioned the following five characteristics of profession –

(i) The Existence of a body of Specialised Knowledge and Techniques;

(ii) Formalised Method Acquiring Training and Experience;

(iii) The Establishment of Representative Organisation with Professionalism as its Goal;

(iv) The Formation of Ethical Codes for the Guidance of Conduct; and

(v) Due Regards for the Priority of Service over the Desire for Monetary Reward.

In conclusion it can be said that under profession a man after training and long experience acquires proficiency with which he impartially serves different sections of society.

Testing of Management as a Profession:

After having understood the meanings of profession it now remains to be decided whether management should be treated as a profession. In order to find an answer to this question it shall have to be ascertained whether all the characteristics of a profession are found in management.

To find out an answer to this query, the following analysis is important:

(1) Body of Specialised Knowledge and Technique:

The foremost quality of a professional is the possession of specialised knowledge and technique. Management has its own principles based on experiments and which requires special competence to bring them into use. On the basis of this speciality, management can be accepted as a profession.

(2) Formalised Methods of Acquiring Training and Experience:

These days management has made available the facilities to acquire specialised knowledge through education and training. The principles of management are efficiently taught at different universities and training institutions. These days most of the managers join this profession after getting education and training from these institutions.

Some people acquire this knowledge by reading literature on management, participating in management conferences, or by attending management related programmes organised by the company or by some university. Business organisations select only those people as managers who are trained and experienced. It is, however, true that some people are still working as managers without managerial ability and formal training.

But their managerial capability cannot be under estimated because they have accumulated a lot of experience by working in a number of big and small organisations before getting this post. Thus, we find that both types of managers possess almost similar ability. Hence, on the basis of this characteristic of profession, management can be treated as a profession.

(3) Establishment of Representative Professional Association:

The third characteristic of profession is that it must have a representative professional association which performs the following important functions:

(i) To regulate the behaviour of its Members;

(ii) To create a code of conduct for guiding the activities of the Profession;

(iii) To build up and promote the image of its members as a professional;

(iv) To prescribe minimum qualifications of its members; and

(v) To regulate entry to Profession.

In India, Representative Professional Associations with regard to other professions have already been established. There are representative professional associations like the Bar Council of India for Lawyers; Medical Council of India for Doctors; Institute of Chartered Accountants for Chartered Accountants, etc. Similar institutions have been established abroad as well.

In India, All India Management Association (AIMA) has been established and in various parts of the country local management associations have been established which are duly associated with AIMA. Through these management associations, special efforts are being made to take care of the social responsibility of the managers and the code of professional conduct is also being prepared.

In India, management associations are moving towards the completion of works decided by professional associations but their chief function is to do research in various fields of management. It is true that no rules have been found to regulate the professional conduct and there is no uniformity about the entry into managerial profession. For example- a degree in law is essential for joining the legal profession but there is no such condition for being a manager.

Similarly it is essential to be a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in order to function as a Chartered Accountant but it is not essential to be a member of the AIMA in order to be a manager. Therefore, it can be said that in India this characteristic of management as profession is conspicuous by its absence and on this basis management cannot be accepted as a profession.

(4) Code of Conduct:

Members of a profession are bound to follow a code of conduct. By Code of Conduct, we mean the rules and regulations framed to guide the behaviour of professionals. The code of conduct of already recognised professions like Law, Medical and Chartered Accountant, etc., have already been prescribed but no such code of conduct has been laid down in connection with management nor is there any need of obtaining a licence to enter the profession of management.

On the basis of these facts it can be asserted that management is not at all a profession. The code of conduct which is being developed in connection with the profession of management is likely to include chiefly to maintain secrecy about the confidential matters of the organisation, not to utilise the internal information of the organisation for personal interests, to utilise the resources of the organisation for its long-term welfare, etc.

(5) Priority of Service over Economic Consideration:

Like all other business activities adopting a profession is also a means of earning money under which on the basis of a specialised knowledge, one gets some proper remuneration for service of society. That is why, professionals are respected in society. For example- a doctor follows his profession for his living but social service happens to be his chief objective. Though there is no code of conduct regarding management but its social responsibilities are being stressed upon increasingly.

It is expected that by acquiring maximum efficiency at minimum cost they will look after the welfare of the employees, workers, consumers and thus serve the society and the country. It is also expected that they will forget their personal temporary economic benefit and put in all their experience and ability for the welfare of the organisation. From this point of view, there should not be any hesitation to accept management as a profession.


On the basis of the above study it can be said that management does fulfill some of the characteristics of the profession and some of the characteristics have yet to blossom or develop. In this way, management as a profession in India is still in its infancy and its development is moving at a slow speed. The chief cause for the slow growth of management as a profession in India is that majority of the industrial enterprises are run by some leading industrial houses.

As a result of it, management as a profession has not made rapid progress. Even then the demand for professional managers is increasing day by day. In conclusion, we can say that in India management as a profession is still developing. More the increase in development, greater the recognition of management as a profession will come to it.

Management is an Art or Science or Profession

Management has already been conceptualized as the social process by which managers of an enterprise integrate and coordinate its all available resources for the achievement of common, clear goals. It has developed into a body of knowledge and a separate identifiable discipline during the past six decades.

Practice of management as an art is, of course, as old as the organized human effort for the achievement of common goals. Management has also acquired several characteristics of profession during recent times. Large and medium-sized enterprises in India and elsewhere are managed by professional managers – managers who have little or no share in the ownership of the enterprise and look upon management as a career.

The nature of management as a science, as art and as a profession is discussed hereunder:

Management as a Science:

Development of management as a science is of recent origin, even though its practice is ages old. Frederick W. Taylor was the first manager-theorist who made significant contributions to the development of management as a science. He used the scientific methods of analysis, observation and experimentation in the management of production function. A perceptive manager, as he was, he distilled certain fundamental principles and propounded the theory and principles of scientific management.

Many others including Gantt, Emerson, Fayol, Barnard, etc., followed his work. During the last few decades, great strides have been made in the development of management as a systematized body of knowledge, which can be learnt, taught and researched. It has also provided powerful tools of analysis, prediction and control to practising managers. Management scientists who have developed mathematical models of decision-making have particularly strengthened the scientific character of management.

Another characteristic of science in management is that it uses the scientific methods of observation, experimentation and laboratory research. Management principles are firmly based on observed phenomena, and systematic classification and analysis of data. These analyses and study of observed phenomena are used for inferring cause-effect relationships between two or more variables.

Generalizations about these relationships result in hypotheses. The hypotheses when tested and found to be true are called principles. These principles when applied to practical situations help the practitioner in describing and analyzing problems, solving problems and predicting the results.

Even though management is a science so far as to possess a systematized body of knowledge and uses scientific methods of research, it is not an exact science like natural sciences. This is simply because management is a social science, and deals with the behaviour of people in organization.

Behaviour of people is much more complex and variable than the behaviour of inanimate things such as light or heat. This makes controlled experiments very difficult. As a result, management principles lack the rigour and exactitude, which is found in physics and chemistry. In fact, many natural sciences, which deal with living phenomena such as botany and medicine, are also not exact.

Management is a social science like economics or psychology, and has the same limitations, which these and other social sciences have. But this does not in any way diminish the value of management as a knowledge and discipline. It has provided powerful tools of analysis, prediction and control to practising managers and helped them in performing their material tasks more efficiently and effectively.

Management as an Art:

Just as an engineer uses the science of engineering while building a bridge, a manager uses the knowledge of management theory while performing his managerial functions. Engineering is a science; its application to the solution of practical problems is an art.

Similarly, management as a body of knowledge and a discipline is a science; its application to the solution of organizational problems is an art. The practice of management, like the practice of medicine, is firmly grounded in an identifiable body of concepts, theories and principles. A medical practitioner, who does not base his diagnosis and prescription on the science of medicine, endangers the life of his patient.

Similarly, a manager who manages without possessing the knowledge of management creates chaos and jeopardizes the well-being of his organization.

The practitioner uses principles of management like the principles of medicine not as rules of thumb but as guides in solving practical problems. It is often said that managerial decision-making involves a large element of judgement. This is true too. The raging controversy whether management is a science or an art is fruitless.

It is a science as well as an art. Developments in the field of the knowledge of management help in the improvement of its practice; and improvements in the practice of management spur further research and study resulting in further development of management science.

Management as a Profession:

We over and over again pay attention to professionalization of management in our country. By a professional manager, we generally mean a manager who undertakes management as a career and is not interested in acquiring ownership share in the enterprise, which he manages. But, is management a profession in the true sense of the word? Or, is management a profession like the professions of law and medicine?

According to McFarland, a profession possesses the following characteristics:

(i) A body of principles, techniques, skills, and specialized knowledge;

(ii) Formalized methods of acquiring training and experience;

(iii) The establishment of a representative organization with professionalization as its goal;

(iv) The formation of ethical codes for the guidance of conduct; and

(v) The charging of fees based on the nature of services.

Management is a profession to the extent it fulfils the above conditions. It is a profession in the sense that there is a systematized body of management, and it is distinct, identifiable discipline. It has also developed a vast number of tools and techniques. But unlike medicine or law, a management degree is not a prerequisite to become a manager.

In fact, most managers in India as elsewhere do not have a formal management education. It seems reasonable to assume that at no time in the near future, the possession of a management degree will be a requirement for employment as a career manager.

Management is also a profession in the sense that formalized methods of training is available to those who desire to be managers. We have a number of institutes of management and university departments of management, which provide formal education in this field. Training facilities are provided in most companies by their training divisions.

A number of organizations such as the Administrative Staff College of India, the Indian Institute of Management, Management Development Institute, the All India Management Association, and the university departments of management offer a variety of short-term management training programmes.

Management partially fulfills the third characteristic of profession. There are a number of representative organizations of management practitioners almost in all countries such as the All India Management Association in India, the American Management Association in U.S.A., etc. However, none of them have professionalization of management as its goal.

Management does not fulfill the last two requirements of a profession. There is no ethical code of conduct for managers till now as for doctors and lawyers. Some individual business organizations, however, try to develop a code of conduct for their own managers but there is no general and uniform code of conduct for all managers. In fact, bribing public officials to gain favours, sabotaging trade unions, manipulating prices and markets are by no means uncommon management practices.

Furthermore, managers in general do not seem to adhere to the principle of “service above self”. Switching of jobs by managers evidences, however, little regard is paid to the elevation of service over the desire for monetary compensation. Indeed, such mobile managers are regarded as more progressive and modern than others.

It may be concluded from the above discussion that management is a science, an art as well as a profession. As a social science, management is not as correct as natural sciences, and it is not as fully a profession as medicine and law.

Management is an Art or Science or Profession – Biews by Different Authorities

1. Interdisciplinary Discipline:

The concept of management is universal and very old. Therefore, different views have been expressed about its nature by different authorities. Emergence of giant corporations in large number has necessitated the growth of management as a discipline. For this, it has drawn knowledge, tools and techniques from a number of disciplines. That is why management perspective is an interdisciplinary activity. Thus, a special independent management discipline is merged with combination of so many other disciplines.

2. Social Process:

Management is a continuous process of getting things done through people. Management is a social process of motivating people to work together to accomplish common goals. It indicates the social nature of management.

3. Management as an Inborn Quality:

In the prescientific management period i.e. prior to 1880 there has been a leading concept that management is an inborn quality. At that time people thought that it was not necessary to study any of management concepts as they believed that, managers are born and not made.

In their opinion some people are so efficient and talented since their birth that they lead and get success in the field of business. But as we see today, this concept is totally reversed by the new development. In modern era managers are not born but are made by equipping people with specialized knowledge in the field of management.

4. Management as a Science:

In order to ascertain the status of management as a science, it is necessary to know the meaning of the word ‘Science’ and then apply that to management.

A science is a systematised body of knowledge. It is based upon information that has been empirically verified through the scientific methods. The scientific method involves identification of conditions or facts through observation and verification of principles through experimentation.

When certain facts and principles are interpreted into broader conclusions, they constitute the theory of a particular science or body of knowledge. Verified principles of a science are useful for a practitioner as they help to predict the outcome of certain actions.

Science is an organised body of knowledge based on proper findings and exact perpetual principles. It establishes relationship between cause and effect and its findings are safely applicable in all the situations. There are a number of branches of natural sciences like physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy etc. There are social sciences like sociology, political science, economics etc.

Management mainly relates to the social science. It is a behavioural science of inexact nature. The process of management is very much related with behaviour of people at work and their behaviour cannot be predicted in exact manner. Management deals with human beings, so it is a social science and is not an exact science like natural sciences.

Management is a developing science. It has now evolved certain basic theories based, on behavioural science. The form of process of management which has universal application in each branch of human activity. Thus management can be known as a science though not natural science. It is quite obvious that principles of management are not fundamental truths and their application may not yield the desired results always because human behaviour is ever changing and most unpredictable.

It cannot be governed by the laws of mechanics as a human being is not an inanimate machine. Hence, management dealing with complex human beings is bound to be an inexact science. Even the theoretical base of knowledge is essential for developing sound practice. In fact, theory must be supplemented by practical knowledge continuously. Science and art are complementary and each supplements the other.

5. Management as an Art:

Art is the best way of doing things. Art is the bringing about a desired result through the application of skills. Art is concerned with the exercise of the know-how for the effective accomplishment of desired results. It is concerned with the application of knowledge and skills.

Every manager has to apply certain knowledge and skills while dealing with the people to achieve the desired results. Like any art, management is also creative. It develops new situations, new designs and new systems needed for further improvement.

Management is one of the most creative art as it requires a vast knowledge and certain innovating, initiating, implementing and integrating skills irrigation to goals, resources, techniques and results. Moulding the behaviour of people at work towards achievements of certain goals in a changing environment is an art. As an art management calls for a corpus of abilities in continuous practice of management theories and principles.

Management is an art because it requires vision, knowledge and communication. Artistic skills are developed, likewise managerial skills can be developed. Management is an art in the sense that management principles are developed not for the sake of knowledge only but for application in specific situations also.

6. Management is Both a Science and an Art:

Management is a science and an art. Theoretical knowledge must be supplemented and perfected by practical knowledge. Both theory and practice are equally important for management. According to koontz and O’Donnell, “Managing as practice is an art; the organised knowledge underlying it, may be referred to as a science. Art needs the existence of science and science requires skillful application of knowledge.”

They are two sides of the same coin and to obtain the best of both, theoretical knowledge must be supplemented and perfected by practical knowledge. Both theory and practice are equally important and there is nothing to choose between them. Hence science and art are not exclusive but are complementary. It is, for practical purposes, accepted now that management is a science as well as an art.

7. Management as a Profession:

Since the emergence of separation of management from ownership, the management is being taken as a profession also. The term professional management has acquired an important position in the corporate sector.

A professional manager is one who specialises himself in the work of planning, organising, leading and controlling the efforts of others and does so through systematic use of classified knowledge, a common vocabulary and principles and who subscribes to the standards of practice and code of ethics established by recognised body.

Hence management is assuming a professional character during the last four decades. It should be noted that all professions are occupations in the sense that they provide means of livelihood. But all occupations are not professions because some of them do not possess the basic characteristics of a profession.

An occupation can be a profession if it has in it the followings basics:

i. Requirement of specific knowledge.

ii. Competent application of specific knowledge.

iii. Social responsibility

iv. Community sanction

v. Self-control.

According to Dalton Mc. Farland the bench marks of a professional include –

a. The existence of a body of specialised knowledge or techniques.

b. Formalised methods of acquiring training and experience

c. Establishment of a representative organisation with professionalisation as its goal.

d. Formation of ethical codes for the guidance of conduct.

e. Charging of fees based on services but with due regard for the priority of service over the desire for monetary reward.

a. Body of Knowledge:

Management has now developed a specialised body of management theory and philosophy. Management literature is growing in almost all countries. In modern era we have a systematic body of knowledge that can be used for development of professional managers. Management is also taught in many educational institutions and in universities.

More the more Management is emerged as a separate discipline like science arts etc. It is a fact that management as a discipline contains a well-defined body of knowledge and a number of sophisticated tools and techniques meant to translate the theory into practice.

b. Formal Education:

Many institutes of management have come into being in India and other countries which offer courses in management. In the modern era competent application of management knowledge and skill has becomes almost indispensable. Therefore it is essential that the managers acquire certain management skills through formal education and training.

The people having formal education in management can definitely give better performance. Therefore giant organisations give preference to graduates and post graduates who have acquired specialisation in some area of management like personnel, marketing, financial, production etc.

c. Representative Organisation:

A representative body or association is that which enforces standards and controls the entry to the field through licensing and so on. For the regulation of the activity of the members of a profession, existence of such a representative body is a must. Frankly speaking we do not have such a body or an association in the field of management in our country. This body may lay down the code of conduct for the members and the level of education and training for those who want to enter this particular profession.

We have very few organisations like “Indian Management Association.”, “The all India Management Development Association” which try to impose code of conduct to their member but do not have means for enforcing it. These organisations do not have any authority to set or prescribe minimum qualification for taking up managerial posts, unlike the recognised professional groups such as the Medical Council of India, The Bar Council of India etc.

d. Ethical Standards:

It is essential to have professional ethics. Unfortunately whole world lacks in this. Simple reason for this is, that there are very few organisations representing professional managers. Existing such organisation do not have proper co-ordination. Eventually this profession, though of outmost importance for gearing up and developing industrial and business economy aimed at national goal of economic development, is being neglected.

What is needed today is that there should be strong associations having affiliation to the international association, thus fixing global standards. If this need is catered to some universal standards can be formulated to regulate education, training, entry in the profession and so on.

e. Community Sanction and Monetary Rewards:

Management professionals are expected to have commitment to services rather than financial reward. Management professionals have a high status in the eyes of community as a whole including the men who are directly involved in achievement of goals. As these can be satisfied if they are properly rewarded in terms of money. Their achievements are ultimately the achievement of the organisation to which they render their services.

Naturally they deserve high monetary rewards. That is why management consultants or professionals charge high fees, which they feel to be commensurate to the services rendered by them. Community sanctions and monetary rewards go hand in hand which is a precondition for terming an occupation to be profession.

8. Management is an Universal Process:

Application of principles and techniques of management is not restricted only to business but they have universal application also. They are applied to social, religious, charitable and nonprofit organisations also. In absence of management, none of the organisations can walk a single step. Without management, organisational goals and objectives would not be achieved. Management is the life blood of the organisation.