Is management an art or a science?
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Having worked under a number of bosses and management teams in my career and also having worked as a union official often in conflict with management figures, my opinion is that management is definitely an art and it is the art of understanding and dealing with people. I have also found no correlation between good management and the possession of management qualifications. Such qualifications exist because of the belief that managment can be taught, that it is somehow a science. Of course some aspects are concrete and can be taught, money management for example, but the greater part of the job involves getting the best out of people in a way that makes them want to get the best out of themelves. Sometimes people who do management courses and gain qualifications are quite unsuited to senior positions because of their personalities but, because the world is so full of litigation these days, they have to be appointed in preference to those who would be excellent at the job but do not have the paper qualifications. The good managers I have met have all been very different and it would be really hard to define what made them good at the job, but the bad managers I have encountered have frequently been petty-minded and bullying or just plain lazy and incompetent. If a manager cannot inspire respect, s/he will almost certainly be ineffective.
Management today displays characteristics of both an art and science, and therefore can be described a mixture of art and science.
In olden people there were no management principles or preferred methods of management to guide a person embarking on a a management career. People became good or bad managers depending on their personal knowledge, understanding and skill. It was not possible for other people, or even the successful managers themselves, to understand and describe the right methods of management appropriate for different situation. In such condition it was reasonable that management is an art for which some people have the knack and other don't.
Since end of nineteenth century there were many pioneering management professional who started analysing the process of management and providing guidelines and methods for good management. With this development of management as a science e began, and today it has vat body of systematic and verifiable body of knowledge to guide managers and management.
In spite of existence of this vast body of scientific knowledge, there are still critical area of management where individual skill and judgment is essential for managing effectively. Thus we see that management is an art as well as a science.
I agree with others in thinking that management is definitely a science. There is lots of literature out there to tell you how to manage people, but to be honest I don't think you can apply science to the management of people as we are not robots whose reactions and actions can be predicted and catered for. Management is much more of an art because you have to be so skilled and you need to be able to improvise to cope with a team of differing individuals and their different needs/motivations/concerns/personalities. That is something that no scientific formula can help you with!
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