"Management is both an art and a science." Please explain this quote.

Expert Answers
gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea that management is both art and science is a truism and a kind of short hand. That is to say, a lot of people say it, and it is commonly held to be true, and it serves as a way of indicating a rather complex reality involving management. A science has known laws. It works with facts and reason and produces—when it gets to application via technology—dependable results. By contrast, art is highly personal and subjective. It works with emotions and the interplay between individuals and communities. Managers must do both: produce reliable results and deal with emotional humans.

wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My first reaction is that Management is neither an art nor a science; it is wrong-headed to label it either one. It is a real-life application of business principles, linked to applied psychological principles, garnished with an inborn skill at time management; it is a human activity whose success is measured as commodity .  It lacks some of the requirements to call it an art and lacks some of the requirements to call it a science.  Remember: The definition of a word is another word.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a lot of research on forms of management that work, but good management is much more.  You cannot simply follow a set of rules to be successful.  Management is about finesse, instinct, dedication and passion.  You have to manage in a way that meets your personality, because if you try to make your manager persona different than your personality you will likely be unsuccessful.  Thus, management is an art based on principles.

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.

alemburhan | Student

Management is the oldest of arts and the youngest of sciences. This explains the changing nature of management.

As a science -

  1. Management is a systematized body of knowledge and its principles have evolved on the basis of observation
  2. The kind of experimentation (as in natural sciences) cannot be accompanied in the area of management since management deals with the human element
  3. In management, it is not possible to define, analyse and measure phenomena by repeating the same conditions over and over again to obtain a proof

As an Art, management has the following characteristics -

  1. Management while performing the activities of getting things done by others is required to apply the knowledge of certain underlying principles which are necessary for every art
  2. Management gets perfection in the art of managing only through continuous practice
  3. Management implies capacity to apply accurately the knowledge to solve the problems, to face the situation and to realise the objectives fully and timely

The science of management provides certain general principles which can guide the managers in their professional effort. The art of management consists in tackling every situation in an effective manner.

hpus12 | Student

The concept of management is universal and very old. That is why different views have been expressed about its nature by different writers from time to time. The continuous and rapid development of management principles and practices in organization has changed the nature of management. The main points of view about the nature of management are given below:

-Management as an Inborn or Acquired Ability

-Management as an Art, Science or Both:

  • Management as an Art:Art refers to the way of doing specific things; it indicates how an object can be achieved.
  • Management as a Science:Science may be described as a systematized body of knowledge based on proper findings and exact principles and is capable of verification.


Conclusion- Management is an Art and Science Both

From the above study, we conclude that management is an art and science both. According to American Society of Mechanical Engineers. "Management is the art and science of preparing, organizing and directing human efforts to control the forces and utilize the material of nature for the benefit of men. "Thus, it has now been accepted that management is an art as well as science. It has the elements of both arts and science. In the words of Dean Stanley, "Management is a mixture of an art an science - the present ratio is about 80% art and 20% science."

jdukowitz | Student

Management is an art because, to be effective, you must know how to understand and work with people to make them more effectve as individuals and as part of a team than they would have been without you. The science represents the tools that have been developed to plan, organize, direct and monitor the performance of the group.


sruthi19 | Student

since art is concerned with personal application of knowledge some kind of ingenuity and creativity is required to practise the basic principles.

it is said to be art because:

1) A successful manager practise the art of management in the day-to-day  job of managing an enterprise based on study observation and experience.

2) There are various theories of management as propounded by many management thinkers, which prescribe certain universal priniciples.

science is a systematised body of knowledge that explains certain general truths or the operation of general laws. we can say that management has some characteristics of science

1) manageement has a systematised body of knowledge.it has its own theory & principles that have developed over a period of time.

2)the principles of management have evolved over a period of time based  on repeated experimentation and observation in different type of organisations.

3)Since the principle of management are not as exact as the principle of science their application and use is not universal.

Thus, management as an art & a science are therfore not mutually exclusive but complement each other.

ariel-mcgavock | Student

Management can be seen as a science because there are general principles that hold true across all businesses. However, managers need to balance the requirements of their companies with the needs of their customers and employees. They may need to make decisions that are not covered by existing policies and therefore require personal opinions and experience, which lends itself to a management-as-art approach. 

rubo | Student

how management is both an art and a science?

bgl5704 | Student

The fact is only a certain type of person can manage. And scholars have designed ways in which managing should be done. So then there are steps that may or maynot be followed that leads to management being considered a science. However, an art is a service almost and because different people use different methods to complete their task of management it can also be considered a form of art.