Principles of managment Essay

1. Is management an art or a science? Discuss.

2. Is management a profession?

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3. Does management need ethics? Discuss the ethics of management


*Unit Class Notes

*Principles Practice of Management, L M Prasad, Sultan Chand&Sons (5th Ed), 2000.

*Management (principles and practise) simplified, Nisar Ahmed Saleemi.Jared B. Bogonko, N A Publishers, 1997.

*Internet notes

Page 1

According to the nature of management, there is a controversy that whether management is a science or an art. Learning process of science is different from that of art. Learning of science includes principles while learning of art involves its continuous practice.

Management as a Science

Science is a systematic body of knowledge relating to a specific field of study that contains general facts which explains a phenomenon. It establishes cause and effect relationship between two or more variables and underlines the principles governing their relationship. These principles are developed through scientific method of observation and verification through testing.

Science is characterized by following main features:

1. Universally accepted principles – Scientific principles represents basic truth about a particular field of enquiry. These principles may be applied in all situations, at all time & at all places. E.g. – law of gravitation which can be applied in all countries irrespective of the time.

Management also contains some fundamental principles which can be applied universally like the Principle of Unity of Command i.e. one man, one boss. This principle is applicable to all type of organization – business or non

2. Experimentation & Observation – Scientific principles are derived through scientific investigation & researching i.e. they are based on logic.

E.g. the principle that earth goes round the sun has been scientifically proved. Management principles are also based on scientific enquiry & observation and not only on the opinion of Henry Fayol. They have been developed through experiments & practical experiences of large no. of managers.

E.g. it is observed that fair remuneration to personal helps in creating a satisfied work force.

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3. Cause & Effect Relationship – Principles of science lay down cause and effect relationship between various variables.

E.g. when metals are heated, they are expanded. The cause is heating & result is expansion.

The same is true for management; therefore it also establishes cause and effect relationship.

E.g. lack of parity (balance) between authority & responsibility will lead to ineffectiveness. If you know the cause i.e. lack of balance, the effect can be ascertained easily i.e. ineffectiveness. Similarly if workers are given bonuses, fair wages they will work hard but when not treated in fair and just manner, reduces productivity of organization.

4. Test of Validity & Predictability – Validity of scientific principles can be tested at any time or any number of times i.e. they stand the time of test. Each time these tests will give same result. Moreover future events can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by using scientific principles.

E.g. H2 & O2 will always give H2O.

Principles of management can also be tested for validity.

E.g. principle of unity of command can be tested by comparing two persons – one having single boss and one having 2 bosses. The performance of 1st person will be better than 2nd.

It cannot be denied that management has a systematic body of knowledge but it is not as exact as that of other physical sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry etc. The main reason for the inexactness of science of management is that it deals with human beings and it is very difficult to predict their behaviour accurately. Since it is a social process, therefore it falls in the area of social sciences. It is a flexible science & that is why its theories and principles may produce different results at different times and therefore it is a behaviour science.

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Management as an Art : Art means application of knowledge & skill to get the desired results. An art may be defined as personalized application of general theoretical principles for achieving best possible results. Art has the following characters –

1.Practical Knowledge: Every art requires practical knowledge therefore learning of theory is not sufficient. It is very important to know practical application of theoretical principles.

E.g. to become a good painter, the person not only should know about the different colour and brushes but different designs, dimensions, situations etc to use them appropriately. A manager can never be successful just by obtaining degree or diploma in management; he must have also known how to apply various principles in real situations, by functioning as a manager.

2.Personal Skill: Although theoretical base may be same for every artist, but each one has his own style and approach towards his job. That is why the level of success and quality of performance differs from one person to another.

E.g. there are several qualified painters but M.F. Hussain is recognized for his style. Similarly management as an art is also personalized. Every manager has his own way of managing things based on his knowledge, experience and personality, that is why some managers are known as good managers (like Aditya Birla, Rahul Bajaj) whereas others as bad.

3.Creativity: Every artist has an element of creativity in line. That is why he aims at producing something that has never existed before which requires combination of intelligence & imagination. Management is also creative in nature like any other art. It combines human and non-human resources in an useful way so as to achieve desired results. It tries to produce sweet music by combining chords in an efficient manner.

Perfection through practice: Practice makes a man perfect. Every artist becomes more and more proficient through constant practice. Similarly managers learn through an art of trial and error initially but application of management principles over the years makes them perfect in the job of managing.

4.Goal-Oriented: Every art is result oriented as it seeks to achieve concrete results. In the same manner, management is also directed towards accomplishment of pre-determined goals. Managers use various resources like men, money, material, machinery & methods to help in the growth of an organization.

Page 4

Thus, we can say that management is an art therefore it requires application of certain principles rather it is an art of highest order because it deals with shaping the attitude and behaviour of people at work towards these
desired goals.

Management as both Science and Art

Management is both an art and a science. The above mentioned points clearly reveal that management combines features of both science as well as art. It is considered as a science because it has an organized body of knowledge which contains certain universal truth. It is called an art because managing requires certain skills which are personal possessions of managers. Science provides the knowledge & art deals with the application of knowledge and skills.

A manager to be successful in his profession must acquire the knowledge of science & the art of applying it. Therefore management is a well-judged combination of science as well as an art because it proves the principles and the way these principles are applied is a matter of art. Science teaches to ’know’ and art teaches to ’do’. E.g. a person cannot become a good singer unless he has knowledge about various ragas & he also applies his personal skill in the art of singing. Same way it is not sufficient for manager to first know the principles but he must also apply them in solving various managerial problems that is why, science and art are not mutually exclusive but they are complementary to each other (like tea and biscuit, bread and butter etc.). To conclude, we can say that science is the root and art is the fruit.

Page 5


Over a large few decades, factors such as growing size of business unit, separation of ownership from management, growing competition etc have led to an increased demand for professionally qualified managers. The task of manager has been quite specialized. As a result of these developments the management has reached a stage where everything is to be managed professionally.

A profession may be defined as an occupation that requires specialized knowledge and intensive academic preparations to which entry is regulated by a representative body. The essentials of a profession are:

1. Specialized Knowledge – A profession must have a systematic body of knowledge that can be used for development of professionals. Every professional must make deliberate efforts to acquire expertise in the principles and techniques. Similarly a manager must have devotion and involvement to acquire expertise in the science of management.

2. Formal Education & Training – There are no. of institutes and universities to impart education & training for a profession. No one can practice a profession without going through a prescribed course. Many institutes of management have been set up for imparting education and training. For example, a CA cannot audit the A/C’s unless he has acquired a degree or diploma for the same but no minimum qualifications and a course of study has been prescribed for managers by law. For example, MBA may be preferred but not necessary.

3. Social Obligations – Profession is a source of livelihood but professionals are primarily motivated by the desire to serve the society. Their actions are influenced by social norms and values. Similarly a manager is responsible not only to its owners but also to the society and therefore he is expected to provide quality goods at reasonable prices to the society.

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4. Code of Conduct – Members of a profession have to abide by a code of conduct which contains certain rules and regulations, norms of honesty, integrity and special ethics. A code of conduct is enforced by a representative association to ensure self discipline among its members. Any member violating the code of conduct can be punished and his membership can be withdrawn. The AIMA has prescribed a code of conduct for managers but it has no right to take legal action against any manager who violates it.

5. Representative Association – For the regulation of profession, existence of a representative body is a must. For example, an institute of Charted Accountants of India establishes and administers standards of competence for the auditors but the AIMA however does not have any statuary powers to regulate the activities of managers.

From above discussion, it is quite clear that management fulfils several essentials of a profession, even then it is not a fully fledged profession because: –

It does not restrict the entry in managerial jobs for account of one standard or other.

No minimum qualifications have been prescribed for managers.

No management association has the authority to grant a certificate of practice to various managers.

All managers are supposed to abide by the code formulated by AIMA,

Competent education and training facilities do not exist.

Managers are responsible to many groups such as shareholders, employees and society. A regulatory code may curtail their freedom.

Managers are known by their performance and not mere degrees.

The ultimate goal of business is to maximize profit and not social welfare. That is why Haymes has rightly remarked, “The slogan for management is becoming – ’He who serves best, also profits most’.”

Page 7


Yes management requires ethics. Management ethics is the ethical treatment of employees, stockholders, owners, and the public by a company. A company, while needing to make a profit, should have good ethics. Employees should be treated well, whether they are employed here or overseas. By being respectful of the environment in the community a company shows good ethics, and good, honest records also show respect to stockholders and owners.

Ethics and ethical behaviour are the essential parts of healthy management. From a management perspective, behaving ethically is an integral part of long – term career success. Wide access to information and more business opportunities than in the past makes ethics a need in modern business world.

Reasons to behave ethically:

From the point of view of the internal customer, ethical behaviour improves the atmosphere at work and helps motivate the employees, sets a good example to the employees, and evokes a sense of pride for the company and improves its image in the eyes of the employees. From the point of view of external customer, ethical behaviour improves the public image of the company and adds to the overall development of ethical behaviour in the society.

The four levels of organizational ethics.

*Social disregard: the company shows carelessness for the consequences of its actions.

*Social obligation: the company does not wish to extend its activity any further than just meeting its legal responsibilities.

*Social responsiveness: the company adjusts its policies according to the social conditions, demands and pressures.

*Social responsibility: the company decides to concentrate on its long-term goals for the benefit of society in general.

Ethical decision-making

When making a decision in management the following criteria of ethical decision-making should be considered:

Legality – will the decision somehow affect the legal status? Fairness – how will the decision affect those involved in it?

Effectiveness – will the decision achieve the aim for which it is being taken?

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Any decision that is not legal, not fair and not effective should not be taken. It is only a YES response to all three questions that allows decision makers to take the next step. A NO response to any of the three questions ends the matter. This is supported by the GO/NO-GO Decision Model (Ayande A.B Prosper, 2011). Further criteria to consider are:

Self-respect – does the decision-maker feel good about the decision and its consequences?

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