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Introduction

In order to achieve the organisational goals and sustain in the stiff competition, it is crucial for the companies to optimise the utilisation of resources like human, physical, financial and technological. In this regards, Ackoff (2011) cited that for the purpose of rational use of the limited resources, the concept of management has been evolved. The practices, knowledge, skills and techniques required to manage the organisational resources are referred as ‘management’ and the people engaged in managing activities are termed as ‘managers’. For ensuring efficiency and profitability of any organisations, the concepts of management are required to be implemented in an effective way (Makridakis, 2009).
As the concept of management is old and universal, different views have been proposed on the nature of it. In addition, changing business environment has significantly changed the nature of management from time to time. However, the most debatable issue in the area of management is whether the management can be referred as science or art. The following discussion has focused on the characteristics of management as an art and science.

Management as an art

Art mainly indicates the way of doing certain things. In other words, art reveals the process through which an objective can be achieved. According to Lynn (2009), art is the method of obtaining a desired outcome through the application of skill. Therefore, it can be inferred that art is application of the knowledge that depends on the capability of a person. This capability can be enhanced through practice and experience (Hall and Johnson, 2009). From this point of view, management can be termed as an art. In the case of management also, a manager utilises his/her skill, knowledge and experience to resolve many complicated issues that arise from the day to day activities of the organisation. Supporting this, Schuster (2012) mentioned that management can be termed as an art more than science, as managerial skill is interpersonal and instinctive.

On the other hand, some of the scholars have identified that management is an art of getting the right things done by the right people (Koontz, 2011). It implies that the managers meet the organisational objectives by guiding others to perform the necessary tasks. This can be considered as a more traditional view of the area of management. Lucia and Lepsinger (2009) further emphasised on the fact that management ensures that certain tasks have been completed by the staff by controlling their performance. Arguing on the nature of management, it can be stated that although science can provide general ideas it may not guide the managers on how to handle the individual workers. For this purpose, managers are required to assess the art of the management.

However, a majority of the people possess a negative bias regarding art of management. In most of the cases, it has been assumed that art has a role in creativity and emotion but it significantly lacks the rigorous disciplines of science (Raiffa, 2010). The knowledge of management deals with the areas such as buying habits of the customers, motivational theories and tools related to marketing, finance, operations and economies. However, obtaining this knowledge cannot ensure that the organisation can achieve its goals. For this purpose, the managers are required to rely on the art of management. Lepsinger and Lucia (2009) cited that the art of management ensures that all the resources of the organisation integrate together to set a condition that enables the firms to achieve the organisational objectives. Art may not substitute the scientific knowledge of management; it only applies the general knowledge in specific areas, which boosts up the performance of human capital. In the case of management, the managers deal with the general understanding of business and apply the same in the specific situations for generating the desired result. Creativity can be considered as one of the major characterises of art. Likewise, in the case of management, the managers use creative options for managing the organisational resources in the most effective way. On the other hand, Powell and Barker (2008) identified that the managers achieve perfection through rigorous practices. Every form of art also deals with continuous practice for the purpose of improving the performance.

For ensuring positive results, the managers are required to modify their thought process. It can further emphasise on the characteristics of management as an art. In the case of art, the first and most important thing is to understand the basic concepts (Ashby and Johnson, 2013). Similarly, in management, the managers need to understand the basic concepts and theories in the area of finance, marketing, organisational behaviour, sociology and psychology. Secondly, in management, the managers also learn from the great managers’ (such as Jack Welch or Steve Jobs) decisions and actions. The managers analyse the most important aspects of such decision making that has ensured success (Keller, Parameswaran and Jacob, 2011). Lastly, the managers consider the knowledge of art and apply the same for their firms. Thus, it can be stated that art of management can be used to improve the performance of the managers and ensuring the superior outcomes of the organisations.

Management as science

Science can be termed as a systematic integration of knowledge that mainly depends on proper findings and principles; and most importantly, these findings can be verified at any point of time. Buchko (2013) identified science as a pool of fundamental truths. The results obtained from the scientific methods can be applied to all the situations. According to this discussion, it can be stated that management is a science as it depends on systematised knowledge. In this context, Khandkar (2014) cited that similar to the other science, management has also formed specific principles, laws and generalised rules that are universal in nature and can be applied when the efforts of all the staff are required to be coordinated. However, in this regards, Lepsinger and Lucia (2009) argued that management cannot be related to the exact form of sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology. One of the major reasons for this view point is that as management deals with people, it is quite difficult to predict the behaviour of the people in an accurate manner. Due to this reason, management can be considered as social science.

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