To gain a correct perspective as to what management is, let us examine the exact nature of management – whether it is a science or an art?
Management as Science
To gain a correct perspective as to what management is, let us examine the exact nature of management – whether it is a science or an art? An understanding, therefore, of the exact nature of science as well as art may help in understanding the discipline in a better. Any branch of knowledge to be considered a science, (like the ones we have – physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.) should fulfill the following conditions:
1. the existence of a systematic body of knowledge encompassing a wide array of principles;
2. principles have to be evolved on the basis of constant enquiry and examination;
3. principles must explain a phenomenon by establishing cause-effect relationship;
4. the principles should be amenable for verification in order to ensure accuracy and universal applicability.
Looked at from this angle, management as a discipline fulfils the above criterion. Over the years, thanks to the contributions of many thinkers and practitioners, management has emerged as a systematic body of knowledge with its own principles and concepts. Principles help any practicing manager to achieve the desired goals. However, while applying the principles, one should not lose sight of the variables in the situation, since situations differ from one to another. Thus, the importance of personal judgment cannot be undermined in the application of principles. Further, management is a dynamic subject in that, it has drawn heavily from economics, psychology, sociology, engineering and mathematics, to mention a few. It is multi-disciplinary in nature, but a word of caution. Though management considering its subject matter and the practical utility may be considered as ‘science’, for reason discussed below, it cannot be viewed as an ‘exact science’. In other words, it is a science, but an ‘inexact science’ because:
1. Firstly, management by definition involves getting the things done through people. Compared to the other inputs, ‘people’, who constitute the human resource of any organization are unique in respect of their aspirations, attitudes, perceptions and the like. Dissimilarities in the behavior pattern are so obvious that standard research may not be obtained in otherwise similar conditions.
2. Secondly, the behavior of the human beings cannot be accurately predicted. Hence, readymade and standard solutions cannot be prescribed.
3. Thirdly, management is more concerned with future which is complex and unpredictable. As the saying goes, ‘many a slip between the cup and the lip’, changes in the environment may affect the plans and render even the most well drawn plans ineffective.
4. Lastly, since a business organization exists in an environment, it has a two way interaction with the environment. The organization influences the environment by its several decisions and in turn is influenced by the various elements of the environment. Important among these are technological, economic, socio-cultural and political factors. The whole thing is so complex that however effective the plans are, one is prone to be taken over by the unexpected changes in the environment.
Unlike the pure or exact sciences where the results are accurate in the case of management, the various factors discussed above may force even the excellent plans and the strategies go haywire. Too many complexities and uncertainties render management an ‘inexact science’
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Nature Of Management
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