Management; Art or Science ? - Kickoffall Info Hub

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Management; Art or Science ?

To understand the basic nature of management, it must be analysed in terms of art and science, in relation to administration, and as a profession, in terms of managerial skills and style of managers.
Management is Combination of Art and Science
Management knowledge exhibits characteristics of both art and science, the two not mutually exclusive but supplementary. Every discipline of art is always backed by science which is basic knowledge of that art. Similarly, every discipline of science is complete only when it is used in practice for solving various kinds of problems faced by human beings in an organisation or in other fields of social life which is more related to an art. Art basically deals with an application of knowledge personal skill and know-how in a specific situation for efficiently achieving a given objective. It is concerned with the best way of doing things and is consequently, personalised in nature.

Management as a Science 
Science means a systematic body of knowledge pertaining to a specific field of study. It contains general principles and facts which explains a phenomenon. These principles establish cause-and-effect relationship between two or more factors. These principles and theories help to explain past events and may be used to predict the outcome of actions. Scientific methods of observations, and experiments are used to develop principles of science. The principles of science have universal application and validity.

Thus, the essential features of science are as follows:
-  Basic facts or general principles capable of universal application
-  Developed through scientific enquiry or experiments
-  Establish cause and effect relationships between various factors.
-  Their Validity can be verified and they serve as reliable guide for predicting future events.

Let us now examine as to what extent management satisfies the above conditions:
-  Systematic body of knowledge: Management has a systematic body of knowledge consisting of general principles and techniques. These help to explain events and serve as guidelines for managers in different types of organisations.
-  Universal principles: Scientific principles represent basic facts about a particular field enquiry. Management contains sound fundamental principles which can be universally applied. For instance, the principle of unity of command states that at a time one employee should be answerable to only one boss.  
-  Scientific enquiry and experiments: Scientific principles are derived through scientific investigation and reasoning. Management principles are also based on scientific enquiry and investigation. These have been developed through experiments and practical experience of a large number of managers.  
-  Cause and effect relationship: Principles of science lay down a cause and effect relationship between related factors. The principles of management establish cause and effect relationship between different vari-ables. For instance lack of balance between authority and responsibility will cause management to become ineffective.
-  Tests of validity and predictability: Validity of scientific principles can be tested at any time and any number of times. Principles of management can also be tested for their validity. For example, the principle of unity of command can be tested by comparing two persons, one having a single boss and other having two bosses. The performance of the first person will be higher than that of the second.

Management as an Art
Art implies the application of knowledge and skills to bring about the desired results. The essential elements of arts are:
-  Practical knowledge
-  Personal skill
-  Result oriented approach
-  Creativity
-  Improvement through continuous practice

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