Is Management a science or an art?

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wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is called the Manichean fallacy -- that something is either one thing or the other; it is an oversimplification, built into the mind's desire to say "yes-no."  The brain is a binary system, like your computer.  Our job as sophisticated thinkers is to force our brains to entertain multiple possibilities, multiple choices, and come up with creative alternatives.

playsthething's profile pic

playsthething | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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If it's GOOD management, it needs to be both.  Some of the tasks of management are quantitative - making it more a science.  Those tasks include budgeting, organizing, marketing, planning, etc.  Other tasks are more qualitative - making it more of an art.  Those tasks are more elusive - leadership, managing people, etc.  The best managers are able to do both sides of the job equally well.  You can't just be a "people person" with charisma to inspire and lead, and not deal with the more mundane tasks of balancing a budget.  Conversely, you can't be just a number-cruncher, and not have the personality to draw people into your plan and mission.

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Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Management would be both art and science.

hef20's profile pic

hef20 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

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Scientific theories constantly develop over time and are very rarey prooved? I feel it is similar to management in this resepect. There is no formula for correct management, however I think both science and management are dynamic and are constantly being changed as technology and 'correct' practices are constantly altered.

With this in mind, it can be seemed as a science as well. It is entirely subjective, I just though I would add another point of view.


psycho205's profile pic

psycho205 | (Level 1) eNoter

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both :) science is a bit stable, so if ur gonna be a manager like all the others, it makes no sense. add some art and creativity now ur on!

adi4672's profile pic

adi4672 | College Teacher | (Level 3) eNoter

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Management is a bit of both science and art. Look for the exact definition of the word "management" and see which part of it is scientific (involving precision and calculation) and which part is artistic (involving creativity).

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kheandre | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Management in my own opinion is an act of science and not an art, in the sense that it can not be showcased as a finished product on it own, so management goes a long way not only been an entity of science but a practice of social activities and documentation.

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hassan22 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

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i think management is both because it runs under the principles of science and art. and there are so many examples of this...

sweetsrez's profile pic

sweetsrez | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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management is both i think because it runs under some specific theoritical  formula of price,demand,supply, elasticity etc as science  but its also arts because sometines theores only doesnt works we need skill of presentation, coordination, cooperation,etc  we need both of the qualities science n art because every expert in science is not a good manager so is with lets beter say person having both of this qualities is a good manager.

sweetsrez's profile pic

sweetsrez | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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management is both i think because it runs under some specific formula of price,demand,supply, elasticity etc but its also arts because sometines theores only dont works we need skill of presentation, coordination, cooperation, etc so lets beter say it is both

smartatul111's profile pic

smartatul111 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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Management is basically Planning, Organizing, Coordinating, Directing, Assessing, Correcting, Motivating and Achieving a set goal. It is objective-oriented. We always have a doubt whether it is an art or science. It is the oldest of arts and youngest of science, because it is of dynamic nature

shizza123's profile pic

shizza123 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Definitely an art because, this is a skill that not everyone has. Management does have techniques and processes that one follows but it is still a skill, which therefore means that it is an art... :)

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kukarad70 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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Management I take as an art. It depends on trick and tricky person only can give the good management. Science teaches us inventing new thing which depends on lots of research. But management comes in regular life and it can change human life if the management is good. So, powerful and aggressive management can give fruitful result. We can say science is wait and experiment. There is no hurry in science. However, art seeks technique of use, presentation and finishing which is related with management. Science does not force the person but makes concentrated for straightforward. Art indicates to see surroudings. Because of these reasons, I could say management is art.

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avasbruce | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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It's both.


ART because you have to deal with people. You have to study organization behaviour and know what motivates people and what puts people off. You have to know Maslow's hierarchy of need etc. This is more qualitative.

SCIENCE because you have to know how to be accountable. You have to count how many people are in the office, the turnover rate, profit and loss, accounting etc. It's more quantitative.


So, it's both. You can't separate one from the other otherwise you'd be a horrible manager!

elfgirl's profile pic

elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Management is definitely not a science; it does not test its actions using scientific method; it does not seek to rationally explain observed phenomena; it does not undergo the rigours of peer review.

And it is not an art. The Arts are the expression of human experience. The Arts communicate 'the human condition'. Management does not do this.

Management is just a job. It is part of commerce and business. It is mostly administration, not science or art.

Your question, to be honest, is meaningless. I could ask the question, "Are emails a science or an art?" or "Is a gym workout a science or an art?"

Your question seems to imply that all things must be either art or science. But management is neither of these things; it is a mundane business process. It does not have the intellectual dedication of science nor the human importance of art.

'Management' is just a business tool.

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wonde | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

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Management is both art and science. It is the art of making people more effective than they would have been without you. The science is in how you do that. There are four basic pillars: plan, organize, direct, and monitor.

mandyvirgo's profile pic

mandyvirgo | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Considering management to be a science would suggest that there is a formula for management through which the same ends can be achieved time and again. In reality, management is too subjective to be so predictable. 

Art would seem closer to the truth. Management styles differ from person to person, and preferences among these styles aren't the same for all employees. (Just as all painters don't prefer the same tools or canvases, and all art-viewers don't have the same opinions on the same pieces.) 

But, really, this question is subjective, too. This is just my educated opinion.

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