Is Management an Art or a Science

Topics: Management, Scientific method, Epistemology Pages: 2 (518 words) Published: January 21, 2011
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...
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