The most dependable view regarding the nature of management is that management is science and art, both. Both art and science are not naturally exclusive fields of endeavour but are complementary to each other.
Science is the systematised body of knowledge pertaining to a particular field of enquiry. Such systematised body of knowledge contains, concepts, theories experimentation and principles which are universal and true. According to Chester L. Bernard, “Science explains the phenomenon, the events, the past situations and that their aim is not to produce specific events effects or situations but explanations that we call knowledge. The various concepts and principles of science are developed on the basis of observation and experiments.”
Now, let us see whether management can satisfy the tests which we have listed above for science. Management has a systematised body of knowledge pertaining to its field and the various concepts, principles and techniques have been developed through deductive and inductive reasoning. For example, in the area of designing an effective organisation structure, there are a number of principles which serve as guidelines for delegating authority. The unity of command, the consistency of authority and responsibility are some of the important principles which help to decide proper delegation of authority. In the field of management, some of the important techniques related to budgeting, cost-accounting, planning and control are part of a management theory. These techniques are there to help the manager to plan and execute the activities and goods effectively. But management is not so exact a science as other physical sciences like Physics, Chemistry, etc. The main reason is that it deals with the people and it is very difficult to predict their behaviour accurately. Since it is a social process, it falls in the area of Social Sciences.
Management is a behavioural science. Its theories and principles are situation bound because of which their applicability does not necessarily have the same results every time. That is why Ernest Dale has called management a “soft science” which does not have hard and fast rules.
Art is about bringing out the desired results through the application of skill. It is concerned with the application of knowledge and skills.
Management is one of the most creative art forms, as it requires a vast knowledge and certain innovating, initiating, implementing and integrating skills in relation to goals, resources, techniques and results. As an art, management calls for a corpus of abilities, intuition and judgment and a continuous practice of management theories and principles. Management is an art because:
Thus, we can conclude that management is both a science and an art.
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