What does management as a science art and profession mean? There have been many conceptions regarding what category management really falls under and it is quite interesting to note that the trade falls under more than one. Because there are well tested and experimented principles of public administration, management is regarded by some scholars as a science while some authors describe it as an art because more practice is required in management and some authors consider that management is going towards the paths of profession.
We could spend all day arguing where exactly management fits but for the purposes of this article we will look at management as a science, art and profession.
Explaining the nature of management as a science art and profession mean
The process of determining whether management is science, art or profession, requires remarkable understanding of the features and meanings of science, art and profession and marry them with management meaning and features. Let us try and fish out characteristics of the three phenomena of interest;
Management as a Science
Generally science is more than a study but rather a systematic and organised body of knowledge based on logically observed findings, facts and events. In science there exists exact principles which can be verified and it can establish cause and effect relations. What are the main features of science?
1. Principles are based on repeated experiments: Scientists carry out a series of repeated experiments under different conditions and places before developing scientific principles for communication. In the case of our subject matter, managers also test and experiment managerial principles under different conditions in different organizations. This passes experimentation a common feature between management and science.
2. Systematic body of knowledge: Organised and systematic study material is available and used to acquire knowledge in science. Likewise, in management there is availability of systematic and organised study material. Mutual presence of this feature is the first step towards the establishment of management as a science.
3. Universal Validity:
Scientific principles are generally agreed upon and after all observations amd experiments, they are applied universally and their validity is the same across the board. Management principles unlike scientific ones are not universally applicable as they have to be modified to suit different situations
4. Scientific principles are derived on the basis of logical and scientific observations: Before any principle or theory is passed, scientists do logical observations. One of the most important aspects of these observations is utmost objectivity because results cannot be half truths. Managers too have the responsibility to observe, but theirs is an observation of human beings and this can never be purely logical and objective.
Observation results in management are subjective while in science the derived principles are the same wherever you go. So this feature of science is excluded in management.
5. Replication is possible:
It is very possible for two scientists undertaking the same investigation separately and independently, treating the same data (under the same conditions) to obtain an identical result. Whereas managers have to conduct research or experiments on human beings. So if’ two managers are investigating same data, on different sets of human beings they will not get identical or same result because human beings never respond in exactly identical manner.
Management as an Art
Art is a very interesting subject as it has been given quite a number of definitions since time immemorial. It can be defined as systematic body of knowledge which requires skill, creativity and practice to get perfection. Some of art’s characteristics are very prevalent in management. What are the main features of art?
1. Personalised application: One can acquire as much theoretical knowledge of art as they can buy it can never suffice the demands of the field. Art is 80 percent a practical field and every artist must have personal skill and creativity to apply that knowledge. “For example, all musicians learn same ragas but they apply these ragas according to their personal skill and creativity which makes them different.”
2. Based on Practice and creativity: Regular practice is the best recipe for an artist to become finer or even reach perfection. Creative practice means an artist must add his creativity to the theoretical knowledge he has learned and this is an essential requirement. Same way with experience managers also improves their managerial skills and efficiency.
Managers too do not get to walk by the practical aspect of their jobs. They learn same management theories and principles but their efficiency depends on how well they use these principles under spontaneous situations by applying personal skills and creativity.
3. Existence of theoretical knowledge: Not only does art have various definitions, it also comes in different forms and each one of them there is systematic and organized study material available to acquire theoretical knowledge of the art. This is a feature that strongly suggests art is an art because there is systematic and organized body of knowledge available which can help in acquiring managerial studies.
Management as a Profession
Most people fail do differentiate between a profession and a job. One does not necessarily need specialized skills to qualify for a job. To qualify for a profession requires more. By definition a profession is an occupation backed by public servants specialized knowledge and training, in which entry is restricted. Let us explore the characteristics of a profession.
1. Well defined Body of knowledge: In every profession there is practice of systematic body of knowledge which helps the professionals to gain specialised knowledge of that profession. In case of management also there is availability of systematic body of knowledge.
There are large numbers of books available on management studies. Scholars are studying various business situations and are trying to develop new principles to tackle these situations. So presently this feature of profession is present in management also.
2. Restricted Entry: The entry to a profession is restricted through an examination or degree. For example a person can practice as Doctor only when he is having MBBS degree.
Whereas there is no legal restriction on appointment of a manager, anyone can become a manager irrespective of the educational qualification. But now many companies prefer to appoint managers only with MBA degree. So presently this feature of profession is not present in management but very soon it will be included with statutory backing.
3. Presence of professional associations: For all the professions, special associations are established and every professional has to get himself registered with his association before practising that profession. For example, doctors have to get themselves registered with Medical Council of India, lawyers with Bar Council of India etc.
In case of management various management associations are set up at national and international levels which have some membership rules and set of ethical codes, for example, AIMA in New Delhi, National Institute of Personal Management at Calcutta etc., but legally it is not compulsory for managers to become a part of these organizations by registration. So presently this feature of profession is not present in management but very soon it will be included and get statutory backing also.
4. Existence of ethical codes: For every profession there are set of ethical codes fixed by professional organizations and are binding on all the professionals of that profession. In case of management there is growing emphasis on ethical behavior of managers. All India Management Association (AIMA) has devised a code of conduct for Indian managers. But legally it is not compulsory for all the managers to get registered with AIMA and abide by the ethical codes.
So presently this feature of profession is not present in management but very soon it will be included with statutory backing.
5. Service Motive: The basic motive of every profession is to serve the clients with dedication. Whereas basic purpose of management is achievement of management goal, for example for a business organisation the goal can be profit maximisation.
But nowadays only profit maximization cannot be the sole goal of an enterprise. To survive in market for a long period of time, a businessman must give due importance to social objectives along with economic objectives. So presently this feature of profession is not present but very soon it will be included.