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Management for Organizations

Management – Art
or Science?

Submitted by:
Mayank Grover
Section - B
MBA (Gen)
University Business School
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Where did it all begin?

The ancient man started with art by carving the events and objects on the rocks. He
started with science when he discovered things like fire, wheel, etc. The two tasks
have travelled the long span of history ever since, and been modified and refined
through the ages. When it came to ruling people and managing empires, the world
was dominated by the so-called “ancient history” managers, who we identify as
rulers or kings. So what is it that differentiates art and science on the concept of
Lets define a criterion to simplify the situation:
Parameter Science Art
Foundation Logic Imagination
Relies on Scientific fact Creative insight
Reason for existence Replication Novelty
Decision making Deductive Inductive
Primary Strategy Planning Visioning
Contribution to Science as systematic Art as comprehensive
management analysis, in the form of synthesis in the form of
inputs and measurement insights and visions

What is management?
Management is to plan, organize, direct, and monitor resources
to conduct any activity in order to achieve a pre-determined
goal or objective. A woman having a neatly organized kitchen,
cooking and serving the family with the right food at the right
time, is an example of a manager.

What is art?
Art is the use of skill & imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects,
environments, or experiences that can be shared with others. A painter is example
of an artist.

What is science?
Science is a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about nature and
organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. A person
putting his hours together into inventing or modifying a technology is a scientist or

So what does a manager do? In the example of the painter above, he will assign a
value to the artwork. He might research the target audience for
the art. He may determine locations where the artwork will sell
and profit the artist best giving an objective and planned
technique to the artist. In the case of the scientist, he will
provide an interface to the product invented in the way it can be
utilized best by any customer in need of the technology, giving
an aesthetic appeal for maximum selling.
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So can we now say what is Management? Art,

Science or both equally or both but biased?
Obviously it is both art and science. It is the art of
making people more effective than what they
would have been without you. The science is in
how you do that. As we have seen above, both of
them are complimentary to each other and for
managing any activity, irrespective of whether it is technical or abstract, skills in both
the spheres is necessary. The question is, which aspect of the two is more prominent
in management?

How is management an art?

Art involves creativity, wisdom and manipulation. A managerial decision relies on the
social and political environment surrounding the managerial issue, using their
knowledge of a situation, rather than generic rules, to determine a course of action.
For example, a manager who has a problem with an employee's
poor work performance is likely to rely on his or her own
experiences and judgment when addressing this issue. Rather
than having a standard response to such a problem, this manager
is likely to consider a broad range of social and political factors,
and is likely to take different actions depending on the context of
the problem.
Art involves novelty. Decisions should not only be repititive, they should be
continuously checked and scrutinized for improvement. Why do we need managers
over the engineers and statisticians? The reason lies in the fact that they visualize
the whole process of achieving the main objective and keep a check on whether the
engineered process, product, research, etc. is coherent with the requirement.
The art of effective communication is indispensable. What to communicate, when to
communicate, how to do that and with whom to do that, does not always involve
standards and sometimes people have to act out of the book.
Response of managers to different situations and people has to be different.

How is management a science?

Science involves planning. Will putting four workers on a task
that takes 14 hours cost less than renting a machine that can do
the same task with one worker in 6 hours? The same analogy
applies to service, or retail, or teaching, or any other kind of
work. Can your group handle more customer calls with you than
without? Sell higher value merchandise? Impart knowledge
more effectively? And so on. That is the value of management -
making a group of individuals more effective.
Science involves organizing. Are the workers trained? Are they motivated? Do they
have the equipment they need? Are there spare parts available for the equipment?
Has purchasing ordered the material? Is it the right stuff? Will it get here on the
appropriate schedule?
Science involves operations and monitoring. The whole process of manufacturing or
servicing etc. has a number of well-defined steps to be followed. But issues and
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problems are always in the bag. External factors are least likely to act what is
expected since they are not in one’s control. One has to be calculative of the risks to
take decisions. He cannot be just creative for that.
Whether the whole procedure is going as planned is to be taken care of in
monitoring activities. This activity is more repetitive in nature than novel.

So which aspect is more?

It's actually a little more of art than science. Though a manager, even with the right
innate skills, can make a lot of obvious mistakes if he lacks calculative and adherence
to techniques both scientific and non-scientific, but on the flip side, a huge part of
management is leadership, motivation and persuasive communication; and no
matter how many books and courses you take on the subject, if you don't have it in
you, then the best you can be is a poor manager.
Mere knowledge of concepts will not fetch results,
understanding human behavior, tactfulness, vision,
pragmatism, creativity, compassion towards staff, team
spirit, etc. are needed by a successful manager. Had it been
elsewise, the technical divisions in any organization would
not have required the role of the management above them.

It is thus concluded that as we can see from the above, answers to this question can
never be objective; it all depends on the manager who's answering. As far as my
individual point is concerned, managers require a little more of the skills of art than