Profession: Is management a profession?

With the gradual development of theory and practice of management, claim is lately been made of its being recognized as profession in the same way as law, medicine, engineering and teaching.


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Two questions must be answered in this context: What is a profession? Is management a profession?

The common features of a profession are:

(a) Specialized knowledge and technical proficiency,

(b) Formal teaching and training,


(c) Establishment of professional associations,

(d) Suitable ethical code of conduct, and

(e) Licencing to restrict the entry of unqualified persons. Now let us see how for management fits into this, description to qualify as a profession.

Managers also require specialized knowledge of management principles and conscious efforts to gain proficiency. The manager requires an intense devotion and involvement to acquire expertise in the art and science of management.


There are universities and institutes to impart knowledge and formal training for management profession. A number of institutions are rendering formal management education: Indian Institutes of Management, University departments and institutes, All India Management Association, Administrative Staff College of India, International Institute of Management Science etc.

Now private capitalists have also established various management institutes as XLRI Jamshedpur of Tata, BIT Ranchi of Birla, Modi Nagar Institute of Modi for teaching and issuing of degrees and diplomas to qualified candidates.

To enforce code of conduct there are an authorised representative body for each profession, e.g., Indian Medical Association, Indian Institute of Engineers, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Indian Bar Council. For the management profession, Indian Management Association is also engaged to fix code of conduct for the managers.

No doubt management is a profession but not an outright profession in India. But it a growing profession. The old saying ‘managers are born, not made’ is not valid in the modern era.


Some decades ago, key managerial positions of family-owned businesses were held mostly by family members on the basis of hereditary. Today, managers have to be academically and technically competent for their jobs. They derive their status through personal ability rather than by means of birth or political power. But management lacks certain features of full-fledged profession:

1. In the profession of management, the minimum requirement of academic degree and training has not been fixed. In fact, management in multi-disciplined. So competent persons of various subjects enter in the field of management. Peter F. Drucker has rightly warned that, “no greater harm could be done to our economy or our society than to professionalize management through licening requirement or specifying special degree as necessary’ training.” Licencing is practically non-existent in India.

2. There is absence of universal code of conduct. Some associations have formulated some code of conduct for particular field, but there also lack of strict implement­ation defeats the purpose. In fact, in other profession the client is clear to whom loyalty owes. For example, the doctor has to be loyal to his patient. But a manager has to serve many husbands like Dropadi of Mahabharat as owner, employees, society etc. In such case loyalty is divided.

3. Prevalence of corruption is a widespread phenomenon is the sphere of management. These days’ books and journals are flooded with stories of managerial irrespon­sibility and corruption. Managers are lacking to service motto, dedication and commitment to their profession.


4. Political interference in the case of public enterprise management is a great hurdle in the professionalization of management. ‘The management, of business enterprise should be entrusted to persons technically qualified and professionally competent to manage, rather than to civil servants or to the members of legislatures.’

Some effective measures for the professionalization of management in India have been suggested by Dr. Ansari:

1. The government should encourage the appointment of persons holding degrees or diploma in management in its public enterprises.

2. The government should establish an All-India Institute for management, which will ensure uniformity of knowledge, technique, discipline etc.


3. The government can create Indian Managerial Service for competitive examination on the pattern of Indian Administrative Service.

4. The industrialists should adopt fair recruitment policy of managers. Merit and not the caste, colour or family of the candidate should be given consideration.

5. The industrialists should do heavy investment on intensive training for the managers to sharpen the knowledge in changing world.

6. Educational institutions should pay more attention on researches in management so that ambiguity in various terms and concepts can be removed.


7. The syllabi of management education should be tailored with the stories of industrial stalwarts like Tata, Birla, Bata, Modi, etc.