Management as a Science, Profession and Art
Category : Management Essays
Management as a Science, Profession and Art
According to (2002), management can variously be defined as a science, profession and art and its status lies somewhere between the three with strong elements of each.
The term “management” is a broad concept which can not be limited to any of the specific areas. Management is part of the everyday life. Management starts with managing oneself. It is the combination of planning, organizing, controlling, directing and coordinating.
In the early twentieth century, defined management as “the art of getting things done through people.” Thus, management is functionality, as the action of measuring a quantity on the basis and of adjusting some initial plan or as actions taken to reach one’s intended goal ().
Moreover, there are other literatures which suggested the definition of management. Henri Fayol, in the early twentieth century, defined it as the process of ‘forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling’. In addition, management is called ‘the social process of planning, coordination, control and motivation’.
Additionally, some other literatures defined management as ‘organizational direction based on sound common sense, pride in the organization and enthusiasm for its works’. More recently still, management is described as ‘coping with change and uncertainty.’ It is clear that management is partly the process of getting things done through people; and partly the creative and energetic combination of scarce resources into effective and profitable activities, and the combination of the skill and talents of the individuals concerned with doing this.
In addition, management has also been defined as the creation and maintenance of internal environment in an enterprise, where individuals working together in groups can perform efficiently & effectively towards the attainment of the goals. It is the environment created for a better performance of work efficiently hence working towards attaining common goals.
Management is variously defined as science, profession and art. The truth of its status lies somewhere between the three, and there are strong elements of each.
Management as a science
Management is a science in the sense that there are precise, scientific and exact aspects that have to be learned and assimilated. Any manager must have a good grasp of certain quantitative methods and financial and statistical data, as well as certain less scientific, but well tried and tested, elements such as human motivation and the effect of different payment systems on the performance of different occupations. In addition, it may also be described as science, because it also encompasses development of truisms that are often represented as best practices with their emphasis are on measurement and replication of findings across contexts and domains.
Moreover, as (1912) tirelessly reiterated, management must be based on detailed empirical information and on having this information made available to all sectors of society. The centrality of Taylor's commitment to the systematic and rigorous utilization of data was stressed by (1951) when applauding his contribution to economic planning and also by (1922), a business figure who pioneered the application of Taylor's stabilization methods. Therefore, it can be concluded that management is defined as science because it consists of systematic and planned activities.
In addition, it is science because of the extent to which managers are willing to invest in the accumulation of knowledge and their acceptance that management practice be based on the rigorous application of knowledge. Management had a greatly enhanced capacity to plan and control the use of the organization's resources, a capacity that was particularly significant in times of economic crises.
Further, management is a science in a way that organizations had better control and planning ability to better adapt to conditions and conditions and to make such economies and plans advisable for the maintenance of the business. Management involves precise measurement, research and planning. The scientific aspects of many 'scientific' disciplines are often geared towards achieving efficiencies such efficiencies are expected to result in ease of definition, verifiability, replication and measurement of knowledge. Therefore, it may be expected that science will always have its place in the definition of management, and postulation and verifiability of truth.
Management as a Profession
Management is a profession in so far as there is a general recognition that there are certain knowledge, skills and aptitudes that must be assimilated and understood by anyone who aspires to be a truly effective manager. Management is not a true or traditional profession in the sense that it is not a fully self-regulating occupation, and nor is there yet a named qualification that must be achieved before one is allowed to practice. However, pressure to be both educated and qualified is growing universally. There is recognition also of the correlation between this and expert and effective practice.
To determine if management is a profession, profession is first defined. There are many definitions of profession, professional, or a process of professionalization. An effective definition comes from , who describes a profession as "a type of high-grade, non-manual occupation, with both objectively and subjectively recognized occupational status, possessing a well-defined area of study or concern and providing a definite service, after advanced training and education." (1964)
To further qualify this definition, it is useful to look at Greenwood's list of characteristics that define a profession: systematic theory, autonomy, community sanction, ethical codes and a culture (1966). , on the other hand, argues that there are four values associated with professionalism: expertise, autonomy, commitment, and responsibility (1963). In addition, identifies five characteristics of an archival profession: specialized knowledge or theory, community sanction, professional cohesion, culture, and institutionalized altruism (1994). Moreover, Abbott defines a fully formed profession as an organized body of experts who apply some particular form of esoteric knowledge to particular cases (1988).
Established professions have systems of instruction and training together with entry by examination and other formal prerequisites. They are believed to possess and enforce some kind of code of ethics or rules of behavior. They are also thought to rely on fees for services. These various definitions are, in fact, closely linked and comprise the same fundamental principles of what constitutes a profession.
Most definitions of a profession focus on theory-based education as opposed to on-the-job training, existence of professional bodies responsible for regulating a profession, and a service orientation among the practitioners. Even though in the case of management, some of the characteristics of a full profession (1988) have not yet developed, the existence of others, such as professional education and training, professional organizations, professional literature, and codes of ethics (1998) are sufficient to accord it the elevated status of a profession.
argues that changes in technology provide most new professional tasks. He gives an example of engineering which "arose out of increasingly technical quality of machinery and physical structure. Civil engineers designed fortifications and siege machinery, bridges and canals. As these problems became more technical and more complex, the requisite education increased correspondingly, and civil engineering achieved professional status by late 18th century in France. Mechanical engineers were a later artisan group, which was transformed into a professional one as manufacture became more and more complicated." (1988)
In the same manner, significant changes to the increasingly complex body of knowledge and expertise required to handle records in electronic systems may bring about - if the chance is seized by managers - this element of specialized, esoteric, and exclusive knowledge mentioned in many traditional definitions of a full profession.
As according to Taylor, “management is a profession as it is also subject to analysis and needs laborious study and experimenting of all sorts, just the same as any other profession based upon any other science." (1923)
However, it is argued that a profession cannot develop without research into the nature of the discipline with which the profession is concerned. In light of developments taking place, management is undergoing the process of professionalization by acquiring some of the characteristics of a fully developed profession:
Ø formal education to degree level
Ø existence and strengthening of professional organizations
Ø foundation and development of professional literature
Ø increased research activity supplying the discipline with new theoretical frameworks
Ø new knowledge to deal with issues of technological development affecting the work of organizations and effective management of their records
In addition, research activities are important and necessary if a profession is to continue developing and maintaining its status. In the case of management, this is indeed taking place now.
The managers showing the quality of dynamism and creativity with new and innovative ideas, analyzing calculated risks, undertaking and implementing them to maximize the returns on investments & profits, as well as enabling the organization in gaining majority in the market share are said to be professional. Professional managers follow the management principles and practices based on information and experience. Managers are said to be professional when they apply the theories of management to solve the emerging problems in the organization.
Management as an Art
Management is an art in the sense that within these confines and strictures there are great scope for the use of creativity, imagination, initiative and invention within the overall sphere of the occupation. The scientific methods and body of knowledge referred to must be applied in their own way to each and any given situation, issue or problem. This is the creative aspect of the manager’s role and function; and anyone in a managerial position who seeks for prescriptive solutions to organizational problems is likely to fail.
In management, creativeness is required. Skills and the techniques describe the art of management. There are some skills and techniques in which is known to possess art in management.
The following are some of the activities in management in which art is being applied:
Ø managers compete for resources against all other organization with the appropriate skills and techniques
Ø managers must make only what creates overwhelming value
Ø reward those who discovers it
Ø buy what else you need and re-label it
Ø mix internal and external products to increase your value
Ø retain employees by being successful
Ø competing in the marketplace while growing more powerful
According to (2006), management is more art than science. It is working with and through other people to accomplish the objectives of both the organizations and its members.
Management is considered an art as with the following functions in which (2006) enumerated.
Ø The rational assessment of a situation and the systematic selection of goals and purposes;
Ø The systematic and creative development of strategies to achieve these goals;
Ø The marshalling of the required resources;
Ø The rational design, organization, direction and control of the activities required to attain the selected purposes; and
Ø The motivating and rewarding of the people to do their work.
Strategic management is not a task but a rather a set of managerial skills that should be used throughout the organization in a wide variety of functions. The most valuable of all managerial skills is the ability of the manager to implement strategies. Management is an art, because it requires defining a new way of looking at the nature of organizations, nature of work, nature of information, and the interrelationships thereof. Therefore, art will always have a part in the definition of management to surface and question the assumptions underlying the given truths that science has postulate.
Management has a specific economic & social objective hence is can be applied everywhere. Management is hence a combination of the three concepts. Without one of those three, management may not work. With the systematic evolution of management, professionalism of the managers is more likely required to cope with the dynamic marketplace. Management may not be a full profession as described with the lack of other aspects of being a profession however it has been more likely continuing to become one. Management is an art because as what art means, management is what it is as being a profession. In addition, management requires the skills and a creative thinking in all aspects of management.