IS MANAGEMENT A SCIENCE OR ART?

Management can be defined as the systematic process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling people and resources in the effective and efficient pursuit of organizational goals.

But, the question is:

Is management a science or art?

The short answer is that management is both an art and science.

Art means the application of knowledge and skill in achieving a predetermined result.

Management is an art because it requires the application of skills and personalized knowledge.

People differ, and managers must come up with ways to manage people and resources differently from the general knowledge they have acquired. This is where management, as an art, comes in.

Managers must use different techniques appropriate for different situations.

Hence, management is an art.

Management is also a science because it has universally accepted principles which are expected to be followed by all managers.

For example, managers are expected to plan before taking any course of action.

Management as science offers the knowledge that management as art applies based on the circumstances

Reasons Why Management Is An Art

1. Its application is personalized: The personalized application of management principles means that the application of management principles depends on the person.

This is because the way a particular management principle is applied by one person differs from the way another person will apply it.

For example, How I apply the principle of delegation may differ from how you do.

You might favour low-level delegation whereas I might favour high-level delegation

The way and manner in which a management principle is applied depend on the approach of the manager, the personality of the management and more importantly, the skill of the management.

For instance, if a manager lacks sufficient leadership skills, he may not be able to apply leadership principles of management as he should.

2. It involves the use of individuals' discretion and perception: Managers are only taught general principles.

However, students learn that some situations call for individual judgment when they start managing people.

The perception of a manager towards a particular situation would differ significantly from that of another manager.

3. It involves creativity: Even though they are general principles, management must also apply creativity in managing people and resources.

For instance, an emergency usually required an immediate response unlike the planning principle advocated by various management scientists.

Management, as an art, required that managers must find creative & unique ways to manage their teams, works, resources etc.

Every situation is unique in and of itself and with the slightest variations, the best way to manage can change. 

So managers need to be flexible, open-minded and creative to come up with unique solutions and ideas for problem-solving

4. Use of practical knowledge: Mere learning of management principles is not enough. It must be applied.

The application of management principles is what makes management an art.

Reasons Why Management Is A Science

1. It has a systematic and organized body of knowledge: Management has a structured body of knowledge that is derived from universally accepted principles, making it a science

Universally accepted principles of management such as the principle of authority and responsibility, planning, and the principle of unity of command have all been codified into a body of knowledge that can be learned and practiced by anyone.

2. It has cause and effect relationship: Management is a science because it has cause and effect relationship.

For instance, we know that lack of planning will result in poor management just as we know that imbalance between authority and responsibility will render management authority.

Fair and equal compensation has also been seen to increase job satisfaction.

3. Its principles are developed through research and experiment: Management principles are generally derived from research and experiment.

For example, Henry Fayol gave fourteen principles of management, which he used to move Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambault-Decazeville from a struggling company to a successful company.

Similarly, F.W Taylor introduces scientific Management after conducting several studies, including the time and motion studies etc.

READ ALSO: DEFINITIONS OF PLANNING BY DIFFERENT AUTHORS

To conclude, Management is both an art and science of getting things through and with resources.

Management is a science because it is universally accepted, has a cause and effect relationship and its principles are developed through scientific research.

Management is also an art because it requires the skilful application of available knowledge, creativity and personal skills of managers. 

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