Like any other practice-whether engineering, accountancy, law or medicine; Management is an art. Artistic application of management know-how is evident.
It is understood that managing is doing things artistically in the light of the realities of a situation.
But a modern manager can do better by using the knowledge, methods, concepts, theories, etc. of managing at his/her workplace.
As a matter of fact, this knowledge, methods, concepts, theories related to managing can be treated as science. It raises the question is management is an art or science or both.
How Management is an Art
To manage effectively, one must have not only the necessary abilities to lead but also a set of critical skills acquired through time, experience, and practice.
The art of managing is a personal creative attribute of the manager, which is more often than not, enriched by education, training, experience.
In fact, the art of managing involves the conception of a vision of an orderly whole created from chaotic parts and the communication and achievement of this vision.
Managing is the “art of arts” because it organizes and uses human talent.
Elements of Art in Management
- Practical Knowledge: Art requires practical knowledge, learning of theory is not sufficient. Art applies theory to the field. Art teaches the practical application of theoretical principles. For example-Learning how sing does not make you a musician; one must know all composition and be able to use them. Similarly, A person may have a degree that says he knows what a manager does but it doesn’t know how to apply management knowledge in real life situations he will not be regarded as manager.
- Personal Skill: A manager will not depend on his theoretical knowledge or solution alone. he or she must have some qualities that make him or her unique.
- Creativity: An Artist’s work is not limited to his practical knowledge. He thinks outside the box and creates things extraordinary. Management is also creative in nature like any other art. Management is all about finding a new way to be well different from other.
- Perfection through practice: Every artist becomes better through item and practice. they learn from their mistakes. Similarly, managers become more expert as he spends more time in management thought.
- Goal-Oriented: Art is result oriented. Management works are also a goal or result oriented. Management takes steps for the attainment of the goal.
How Management is a Science
Science is obtaining information about a particular object by a systematic pattern of observation, study, practice, experiments, and investigation.
Management process also follows the same pattern. Gathering data and facts, analyzing them and making a decision based on analysis, are the basic functions of the management.
Management follows a systematic method to find the possible solution for a problem. It is true that the science underlying managing is inexact or a soft science at best.
It is not as “Science” as physical sciences such as chemistry or biology which deal with non-human entities.
The inclusion of the human element in managing makes this discipline not only complex but also debatable as a pure science.
Human behavior is unpredictable; people think, act or react differently under identical circumstances.
And so, management can never become as pure science. However, the study of the scientific foundations of management practice can definitely improve one’s management skills.
Managers who attempt to manage without management science have to trust their intuition or luck at their peril rather than their expertise or skill.
Thus, they have to turn for meaningful guidance to the accumulated knowledge of managing.
The Elements of Science in Managing
Science presupposes the existence of organized knowledge. The essence of science is the application of scientific method to the development of knowledge that proceeds through the stages discussed below:
- Concepts: Scientific approach requires a clear “concepts” of mental images of anything formed by generalization from particulars. Managing has concepts to deal with situations.
- Methods and principles: “Scientific method” involves the determination of facts through observation. This leads to the development of “principles” which have value in predicting what will happen in similar circumstances. Similarly, management requires observation and sets standard or principles according to it.
- Theories: Any branch of science has theories. A ‘theory” is a systematic grouping of interdependent concepts and principles that give a framework to, or ties together, a significant area of knowledge. Management studies over the years developed many proved theories for making management more realistic or scientific.
- Organized knowledge: Science is organized Knowledge. If we compare, management at the present day is a distinct field of organized knowledge. Concepts, methods, principles, theories etc. are now the core of management.
- Practice: The theories of managing are the results of practice, and the role of such theories is to provide a systematic grouping of interdependent concepts and principles that furnish a framework to, or ties together significant pertinent management knowledge. The theories of motivation, leadership, and so on may be cited/mentioned as examples. But it is to be borne in mind that concepts, methods, principles of management are not as rigid as those of the physical sciences. They may undergo revision and change under new sociopolitical and economic circumstances.
Management is a Science as well as Art
Science teaches us to know while art teaches us to do. In order to be successful, managers have to know and do things effectively and efficiently. This requires a unique combination of both science and art of managing in them.
It may, however, be said that the art of managing begins where the science of managing stops. Since the science of managing is imperfect, the manager must turn to the artistic managerial ability to perform a job satisfactorily.
Thus, it may be said that managing in practice is definitely an art but the body of knowledge, methods, principles etc. underlying the practice is science.
Even some people might have a different opinion regarding this matter. But as matter of fact, the art and science of managing are not so much conflicting as complementary.