NATURE OF MANAGEMENT AS SCIENCE, ART, AND PROFESSION
Nature of Management as a Science
Nature of Management as a Science Science is a systematized body of knowledge that explains certain general truths or the operation of general laws.
The basic features of Science are as follows:
1. Systematised body of knowledge: Scientific principles are based on cause and effect relationships.
2. Principles based on experimentation: Scientific principles are first developed through observation and then tested through repeated experimentation.
3. Universal validity: Scientific principles have universal validity and application.
The application of the above criteria to management is examined below:
(i) Management has a systematized body of knowledge. It has its own theory and principles that have developed over a period of time. Thus, this feature of science is present in management.
(ii) The principles of management are derived over a period of time through observation and repeated experimentation. Thus, this feature of science is present in management. However, since management deals with human beings and human behaviour, the outcomes of these experiments are not capable of being accurately predicted. Therefore, management can be called an inexact science.
(iii) Principles of management provide managers with certain standardised techniques that can be used in different situations. However, since the are not as exact as the principles of pure science, their application and use is not universal. They have to be modified according to a given principles of management situation.Conclusion: Management is an inexact science. It is neither as precise nor as comprehensive as the pure science like Physics or Chemistry.
Nature of Management as an Art
Art is the skillful and personal application of existing knowledge to achieve desired results. It can be acquired through study, observation and experience.
The basic features of an art are as follows:
1. Existence of theoretical knowledge: Any art (like dancing, public speaking, acting or music) presupposes the existence of certain theoretical knowledge.
2. Personalised application: The use of this basic knowledge varies from individual to individual. Art is, therefore, a very personalised concept. For example, two dancers, two speakers, two actors, or two writers will always differ in demonstrating their art.
3. Based on continuous practice: Art involves the continuous practice of existing theoretical knowledge.
4. Creativity: Art involves creativity. For example, a musician makes a unique composition based on seven basic notes.
Management is also an art because it satisfies all the features of an art.
(i) Existence of theoretical knowledge: A successful manager practices the art of management in the day-to-day job of managing an enterprise based on study, observation an experience. There is a lot of literature available in various areas of management (like finance, marketing, human resource, etc.) which the manager has to specialise in. There is existence of theoretical knowledge.
(ii) Personalised application: A manager applies the scientific methods and body of knowledge to a given situation, an issue or a problem in his own unique manner.
(iii) Based on continuous practice: Manage- ment satisfies this criteria as a manager gains experience through regular practice and becomes more effective.
(iv) Creativity: Like any other art, a manager after studying various situations, formulates his own theories for use in a given situation. This gives rise to different styles of management.
Nature of Management as a Profession
A profession has the following characteristics:
1. Well-defined body of knowledge: All professions (legal, medical, accounting, etc.) are based on a well-defined body of knowledge.
2. Restricted entry: Entry to a profession is restricted through an examination or through acquiring an educational degree. For example, to become a chartered accountant in India, a candidate has to clear a specified examination conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
3. Professional association: All professions are affiliated to a professional association that regulates entry, grants certificate of practice and formulates and enforces a code of conduct. For example, to be able to practice in India, lawyers have to become members of the Bar Council which regulates and controls their activities.
4. Ethical code of conduct: All professions are bound by a code of conduct which guides the behaviour of its members. For example, all doctors take the oath of ethical practice at the time they enter the profession.
5. Service motive: The basic motive of a profession is to serve their clients’ interests by rendering dedicated and committed service. For example, the task of a lawyer is to ensure that his client gets justice.
The application of the features of a profession to management is examined here:
(i) Well-defined body of knowledge: Management is a profession like Accounting, Medical and Legal professions as it also has a well-defined body of knowledge comprising well-defined principles based on a variety of business situations. This knowledge can be acquired at different colleges and professional institutes and through a number of books and journals. The subject of management is taught at different institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMS) in India. So, this feature of profession is present in management.
(ii) Restricted Entry: Entry to management institutes like Indian Institutes of Management (IIMS) is usually through an examination. Professional knowledge and training is considered to be a desirable qualification, since there is greater demand for those who possess degrees or diplomas from reputed institutions. However, there is no restriction on anyone being designated or appointed as manager in any business. Anyone can be a called a manager irrespective of the educational qualifications possessed. Unlike professions such as medicine or law which require a practicing doctor or lawyer to possess valid degrees, nowhere in the world it is mandatory for a manager to possess any such specific degree. So, this feature of profession is not fully present in management.
(iii) Professional Association: There are several associations of practicing managers in India, like All India Management Association (AIMA). But legally, it is not compulsory for managers to be members of such an association. So, this feature of profession is not fully present in management.
(iv) Ethical code of conduct: AIMA has laid down a code of conduct to regulate the activities of its members. But its membership is not compulsory for all managers. So, this feature of profession is not fully present in management.
(v) Service management of an organisation is profit maximisation, and not social service. However, profit maximisation as the objective of management does not hold true and is fast changing. Therefore, if an organisation has good management team which is efficient and effective, it automatically serves society by providing good quality products at reasonable prices.
Conclusion: Management is not a full- fledged profession like legal, accounting or medical professions because it does not meet the exact criteria of a profession.