Management is an Art or Science?

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There is always a discussion about the nature of management whether it is an Art of doing things or it is a pure science of getting things done. Let’s discuss below now.

Management is an in-exact science, because in pure science, the principles are put into test in a laboratory and they are either proved or disproved exactly and precisely. For example, plant leaves have starch in them which can be proved or disproved in a Botany lab. Similarly, the management principles can be put to test in an organization where men, machine, money and materials (4 Ms) are practically integrated towards achieving some chosen organizational goals. These principles cannot be exactly proved or disproved either as they tend to be flexible to changing environment, policies and practical difficulties while synchronizing them together. So, management can be described as an inexact science.

Everyone believes that management is an art. No, it is not an art in Toto. Because the concept of art denotes the learning of skills and practising them in the day to day life like a mason or carpenter or mechanic or a musician being able to perform the respective art they learnt by way of skill display before anybody under any circumstances.

But the concept of management involves a set of required skills for anyone designated as a manager, but the level or span of their managerial skills would vary from person to person and individual to individual irrespective of the countries they belonged to. The nature of the administrative and managerial skills of our former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru cannot be compared to his counterpart and his own daughter Mrs.Indira Gandhi. So management is not an exact art of doing things.

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

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

To conclude, Management is neither a science nor an art, but a combination of both requiring people holding managerial positions to apply the scientific management principles and displaying popular managerial skills to accomplish the organizational goals as efficiently and as quickly as possible so as to be competitive in the globalised environment of business.

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