Management: An Art and a Science How is management both an art and a science?

Expert Answers
coachshera eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with bmaruffi that business is indeed a science, particularly when we look at the systems and methodology involved with the financial management of a business, the legal aspects of starting, running a business, HR compliances, technology infrastructures, intranet security, etc.

Business is an art because of the unknown elements involved: particularly people's (customers and employees) behavior. The art of managing a successful business depends heavily on the creative and strategic  abilities of the leadership along with their "intuitive" understanding of people and trends. 

 Three of my mentors and experts are cited below  I would also recommend reading Good to Great  and the Awakening the Entrepreneur Within.

Chip Connelly (Joire de Vivre Hospitality) is another incredible business leader who balances the science and art of business seamlessly.  

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Management includes some emotional elements, which means that it cannot be completely scientific. Managers always manage people, never machines. This is the "art" part of management.

Planning, implementation, and specific goals all also make a big part of successful management. Numbers play in to any business too. These are the scientific elements of management.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Management involves being able to see the big picture, to plan ahed to the future, to put out fires as they happen, and to work with people.  All of that requires both skill and charisma.  In other words, a manager who does not use both art and science will not be successful.  The job involves finesse and attention to detail.

malkaam | Student

"Management means getting things done by the efforts of other people." -Lawrence Appley.

Art is a combination of knowledge and skills. Art keeps changing and basically is the application of theoretical principles by science to get excellent results. Management at times is described as an art that how managerial principles can be applied in real world situations. it consists of the following aspects:

Practical knowledge: Managers do have practical knowledge of the domain, also they know how to apply it. they know the pros and cons of any act as they know that only knowledge is not enough, but one should know how to apply it as well.

Personal Skills: Peculiar abilities which you own are not held by every other person. E.g. Painters paint the similar things in a different manner. It varies form person to person. Some may paint it effectively while others may not catch attention. Similarly every manager has personal skills as well while applying managerial principles, on the basis of his experience which might fetch better results or fail.

creativity: The act if making something in a efficient way and a different manner, and using it in such a way to manage, is creativity. it is based in creativity and intelligence of a person.
Vision is definite and based on the facts, it is one's destiny.
Management is also a collection of human and non human resources by using them in a different manner to achieve desired objectives.

practice: Practice makes man perfect. No one is born a true artist. in the same way, no one learns to manage right out of the womb. they furnish their skills over the time through practice.

Goal oriented: Managerial activities are always goal based, directed towards achievement of results. for this very purpose, various resources human and non human resources are blended so the ability of managers of using available resources brings it near to arts.

While, it is also known as a science because it focuses on the following:

Principles: management comprises of universally accepted principles, that is why a many believe that it is a science.
E.g. rewarding and employee for good performance.

Experimentation and observation: First, managers observe some new techniques then employ them in business to check results, so they can eventually be adopted or avoided.

cause and effect relation: Science is based on cause and effect relationship as it is always based on finding relationships between the variables. 
E.g. heating a metal. Satisfactory performance of employees in any organization is a result of a positive working condition and the two variables are performance and working conditions.

test of validity and predictability:Validity means soundness. in science soundness of the scientific principles can be verified at any given time and they provide similar results every time and in near future probable events can be predicted by using such principles. 
In management the validity of principles can be established by applying them in different solutions and matching the outcome with the original result.
For example, one of the principles in Management is unity of command. if it is tested in a situation where an employee has to work under two bosses and in situation where employee has to perform under 1 boss, their performance will be different from each other.

epollock | Student

Management is both an art and a science because it relies on both aspects: Science in the form of data and analysis of data for making correct choices; and, Art in the form of luck and ability to get along with people in order to maximize shared authority and responsibility. 

krishna-agrawala | Student

Management displays characteristics of science as well as an art. Therefore management is an art as well as sciences. Like any discipline of science, management also has a recognized body of knowledge and methods to guide management decisions and actions. At the same time managers have to frequently also rely on their personal skills and judgment, which are more like art of management rather than science.

chandra-lata | Student



bmaruffi | Student

Management is a science  because there is a great deal of method involved in proper management.  For a manager to understand the Psychological, Sociological and Economical factors in business he/she would need to be scientific minded.   For the manager to be successful they would also need to be a creative thinker, which is what connects management to art.  A good manager is able to quickly think about problem resolution in all the areas of science to produce a positive outcome from their decision.  Without creativity this would be virtualy impossible. 

 Good luck in Graduate school.