Is management an art or science?

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amanda1226's profile pic

amanda1226 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Management is the ultimate mix of art and science. In order to be a successful manager, you need to be able to execute the scientific duties. These include executing on the details of how things get done, otherwise known as logistics. Calculating the percentages for success by taking on a certain project or responsibility is crucial. Understanding what your company needs from you, your department and your subordinates is like having values for different variables in any mathematical equation.

The art in management is understanding people, what drives them, what motivates them and what makes them successful. Really understanding those you are supervising, their strengths/weaknesses, skills and abilities is a true art. It takes careful care and precision to learn and take that knowledge, and make it useful.

When you combine the knowledge from both sides of the topic, you get management in its optimal form, using art and science to support each other.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The best answer to this is to say that management is both an art and a science.  It clearly has aspects of each. 

Management is, in a sense, a science.  Managers have to be able to have a handle on technical details.  They have to look at the work processes in their workplaces with a scientific eye.  They have to be able to analyze this process to determine how they can be done more effectively.  Management also has a body of knowledge that has been obtained through studies over the years.  This body of knowledge gives managers instructions that they can follow.  In these ways, management is a science because it can be analyzed objectively and best practices can be understood.

Management is also, however, an art.  Managers have to be able to deal with different people and different situations.  They deal with so many situations that there cannot possibly be set rules for how to act in each situation.  Therefore, they have to act as artists.  They have to try to understand many situations based on their own intuitions about how to deal with people.  Because there are no set rules for every situation, management is also partly an art.

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