Management as Profession, Science and Art - Principle of Management

Principle of Management

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Management as Profession, Science and Art

Management as a Science as well as an Art

Management is regarded as a science as well as an art. Science refers to a systematic body of knowledge with reference to understanding of some phenomenon or subject or object of study. It establishes a cause and effect relationship between variables. It is based on systematic explanation, experimental analysis, critical evaluation and logical consistency. In science we learn the ‘why’ of a phenomenon. For example, two molecules/atoms of hydrogen and one molecule/atom of oxygen makes water (H2O). Similarly we can say earth moves round the sun. Any subject of study to be called a science should have the following characteristics:

  1. There must be a systematized body of knowledge that includes concepts, people and theories.
  2. We should be able to establish a cause and effect relationship.
  3. Its principles should be verifiable.
  4. Its should ensure predictable results.
  5. It should have universal application.

Management as a subject of study fulfils almost all the above characteristics. Theories and techniques like scientific management, PERT and CPM, break even analysis, budgeting etc. are all scientific in nature. However, since it deals with human beings, we cannot predict a definite cause - effect relationships. Hence management is not treated as a pure or full-fledged science. As for the art, you know that it refers to bringing about the desired result through application of skill. It is a personalized process and states that there is no best way of doing a thing. Thus, it is creative and it improves by practice. In art we learn about the ‘how’ of a phenomenon. For example, take the case of painting. There is nothing called the best way of painting. More one paints, the more he improves and learns how to paint. Now look at management. Here also we apply a lot of skill (like technical, conceptual, human etc.) and it is also creative in nature. Nobody can say that this is the best way of managing. It varies from one manager to another. The more one manages, the more experienced and expert he becomes. Thus, management is a combination of both science and art.

Management as Profession:

In the first lesson you had learnt that profession is an occupation. To be precise, any occupation that satisfies the following requirements is called a profession.

  1. It must be an organized and systematized body of knowledge. Take for example professions like engineering or chartered accountancy. These require a specialized knowledge.
  2. There is always a formal method of acquisition of such knowledge. In other words, individuals, to pursue a specific profession, must acquire the specialized knowledge through some formal institutions. For example, you need to get a degree in law or engineering to pursue the profession of a lawyer or engineer.
  3. There exists an association to devise certain code of conduct for the professionals. This code of conduct lays down norms to be observed by the professionals while doing their job. Violation of the prescribed code can lead to derecognizing the professional to practice.
  4. A profession is no doubt an occupation to earn one’s livelihood but the financial reward is not the main measure of their success. The professional use their specialized knowledge to serve the long-run interests of the society and are also conscious of their social responsibility. Though management may not meet all the requirements of a profession in strict sense of the term, but it meets most of the above requirements and is, now a days, regarded a fully fledged profession. A number of institutions have come up to teach management in a formal way and train future managers. Various associations like American Management Association in USA, All India Management Association in India have been functioning as representative bodies of managers and have duly devised codes of conduct for managers. Many more organizations have come up in the specialized fields of management.

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