Is Management an Art or a Science Essay

One of the enduring questions in the field of management is whether it is an art or a science. In order to be able discuss whether management is an art or a science we need to define what ‘management’, ‘art’ and ‘science’ are. Management is a set of activities (including planning and decision making, organizing, leading, and controlling) directed at an organization’s resources (human, financial, physical, and information) with the aim of achieving organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner.

In general an art defines as “skill in conducting any human activity” and science as “any skill or technique that reflects a precise application of facts or a principle. ” Management as a science would indicate that in practice, managers use a specific body of knowledge consisting of principles, generalizations, approaches and concepts to apply in certain situations. That is, when faced with a managerial problem, the manager who believes in the scientific foundation of his or her craft will expect that there is a rational and objective way to determine the correct course of action.

The principles of management have been developed and formulated on the basis of observation, research, analysis and experimentation and also based on relationship of cause and effect like other sciences. Another proponent of the management as science, many early management researchers subscribed to the vision of managers as scientists. The scientific management movement was the primary driver of this perspective. Scientific management’s emphasis on both reducing inefficiencies and on understanding the psychology of workers changed manager and employee attitudes towards the practice of management.

These are the basic characteristics that can be proved management is a science, but not exactly. Management as an art requires no specific body of knowledge, only skill. Conversely, those who believe management is an art are likely to believe that there is no specific way to teach or understand management, and that it is a skill borne of personality and ability. One more reason for considering management as an art is that in many situations, practicing managers are unlikely to believe that scientific principles and theories will be able to implement in actual managerial situations.

Instead, these managers are likely to consider a broad range of social and political factors, and likely to take different actions depending on the context of the problem. And application of management knowledge calls for innovativeness and creativity. In this case managers go on discovering new ideas, relationships and more efficient ways of doing things. Both views of management, as a science or as an art, can provide ample evidence to support heir viewpoints, and they all seem correct and reasonable from their perspective.

But an efficient manager has to acquire a theoretical knowledge of management and subsequently, use it to develop it and, gather experience. Robert Hilkert has beautifully explained that “In area of management , science and art are two sides of the same coin” Thus, in my opinion I think that management is a combination of both science and art, because managing as practice is an art and the organized knowledge underlying the practice is a science.

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