Is Management Art or Science?

Is Management Art or Science?


The contemporary world holds many points of view regarding the nature of management, which originate in the debates on the topic whether it is a science or art. The support of literature of both opinions is enormous. It is necessary to understand that every article or book consists of the observations and personal judgments of a single person, which does not guarantee that the viewpoint of another management critic is wrong. Thanks to the evaluation of reliable and respectable sources of literature, it is possible to make conclusions regarding the effectiveness of management and the role of art and science in fostering the company’s productivity. Nevertheless, many literal sources may result in doubtful opinions, which can hardly specify the nature of management without a precise establishment of the connections between the theory and practice. In fact, the goal of further discussion is to compare the nature of management from the perspective of science and art. In particular, the paper will continue to analyze the scientific and artistic features of management and reveal the truth about the fact that it is neither an art, nor science.

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Management as Art

Managerial wisdom has always been considering the skills and knowledge as tools of the creativity in the workplace, which allow managers to use a unique approach towards a regulation of human relations and employee’s activity. As long as it is impossible to omit the existence of the idea that management is an art, it is advisable to view the background of those believing that managerial knowledge and its application are the results of pure art. In particular, management as an art equals manager’s ability to have a practical application of theoretical aspects of management (Byron 2012). In this way, management is perceived as an art, which has a significant input of every manager in the workplace depending on a personal experience, interpretation of theories, application of concepts, and regulation of human activities. In reality, it is possible to outline several aspects of management, which may push critics to the idea that management is an art.

First, management is full of theoretical elements, which build the knowledge of every manager. However, it is impossible to bring the effectiveness of managerial decisions without appropriate skills and abilities helping to apply a theory to various situations. One cannot raise a productivity of employees without knowing how to apply motivational tools. In fact, to acquire certain theoretical knowledge is not enough for making the management effective (Andrea, Machova & Zsuzsanna 2012). In essence, managers gain their experience through many mistakes, which contribute to the development of personal management style. In this way, management cannot have only scientifically supported theories. Admittedly, managers are the ones who add the creativity to the scientific background.

Secondly, personal skills and creativity represent a vast element in the art of management. It is easy to understand this concept by comparing managers to painters. For example, two painters may be talented in a different way due to their divergent reflection of the world on canvas. As a result, the works of one painter may become more noticeable and popular. The same situation happens in management, when one manager effectively applies the theories and concepts based on his/her personal skills and creativity used to bring sufficient decisions. The other manager may have the same background of knowledge but may not succeed due to the differences in personal skills and characteristic features. It happens for the reason of divergent perceptions of the surrounding world including employees with their characters, peculiarities, gender, and cultural aspects (Andrea, Machova & Zsuzsanna 2012). In addition, it is common to see that newly hired managers cannot work with the highest productivity and efficiency as their experienced colleagues. It means that managers need time to furnish their abilities, skills, along with the knowledge in order to comprehend what managerial tools are appropriate within the selected workplace.

Every management plan is goal-oriented. It means that every decision involves a mixture of resources including human  intellectual, financial resources, and technologies. Moreover, every goal requires a different approach, which means that a manager is the one capable of mixing appropriate tools in order to achieve the purpose at minimal costs. In other words, the managers have to be well informed and experienced to mix those resources properly to provide the company the new level of productivity and sustainability. In addition, nobody restricts them in  building the creative plans to achieve the goal set. Also, their plans do not have any limits in the informational nourishment of actions. Such techniques as brainstorming and teamwork, however, prove that decisions are very creative, which allows the employees to be open to new and fresh ideas. Thanks to these techniques, employees help the managers come to the most unpredictable and effective decisions, which help the company reach a higher level of the performance.

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Management as Science

In general, science has a background of logical consistency, experimental analysis, critical evaluation, and systematic explanation. It combines a systematized information, which explains the theories and concepts related to the subject or object in a logical way (O'Gorman, Farrington & Gregor 2015). This notion also establishes a myriad of frameworks, which set the boundaries of the manifestation of the particular phenomenon. Management as a science means that it is a systematic body of knowledge, which consists of theories, approaches, concepts, and generalizations (Chadwick 2010). A theoretical background of management explains different situations, which require the application of appropriate techniques and tools tending to solve the problem. One of the main peculiarities of management as science is that it has a background of cause and effect model. In other words, every process has its triggers, which results in the formulation of the specific situation. For example, employees tend to demonstrate a higher productivity if they receive an appropriate motivation and encouragement. Finally, thanks to the systematized information, management can be shared from one manager to another. It is also possible due to the universal applicability of management principles in all types of organizations regardless of their experience and fields of activity. For example, motivational principles remain the same and show the same efficiency when applied by the managers from different companies.

Management has an experimental nature, which is revealed in every workplace. Sometimes managers tend to experiment with their decisions and observe the effects of various managerial solutions. As a result, it helps to build a theoretical background for the particular company based on the characteristic features of the organizational environment. However, the scientific approach towards the evaluation of the effectiveness of managerial tools remains without changes. In addition, this approach helps managers avoid mistakes or remember the most important actions, which can boost employees’ productivity.

The performance of the employees, as a part of the core of management, has a significant percentage of predictability. It results in the idea that management as science is full of validity and predictability. From the scientific point of view, validity has the support of soundness, which helps to predict the outcomes of the same processes in the future. For example, one of the mandatory principles in management is the unity of commands given to the employee. It means that the employee should follow a single direction in the implementation of the plan in order to ensure the achievement of goals. Otherwise, the outcomes of multitasking may be unpredictable. In terms of validity, it is possible to forecast that the employee performing under supervision of two or more managers is most likely to fail in reaching the goals. On the contrary, the one working under the supervision of a single manager is most likely to succeed.

Finally, another consideration of management as science is its mathematical perspective. Operational research is one of the elements of management, which uses statistical and mathematical tools in the decision-making process in order to accomplish the sustainable results (Chadwick 2010). Quality management also implies various formulas helping to estimate the appropriate level of costs leading to the high quality. A mathematical support emphasizes a scientific nature of management, which cannot exist without thorough estimations and calculations. In general, management as science allows managers to choose the specific set of techniques, which appear from the application of the systematized knowledge collected by management gurus in the experimental way.

The Truth about Management

The truth about the management and nature of its existence reasons for the idea that management is neither science, nor art. It is impossible to make a fair judgment in favor of one of the fields. In fact, management encompasses the features of both art and science, which means that it is a combination of both. Namely, science provides with the knowledge, while art shows how to apply it in practice. It is a concept, which builds the core of management and teaches managers how to find the most optimal way to success. It is obvious that there is no receipt for success, which could include several stages leading to the company’s growth and development. Every company is different from the point of view of its organizational structure, field of activity, and employees working there. In fact, the human nature of management does not allow to title it an element of science. Every employee is unique and requires a creative approach from the manager to see the options of motivation and encouragement of the employee (Fortwengel, Schüßler & Sydow 2016). If managers were taking the same set of actions without trying to optimize them according to the situation, it would be impossible to have so many successful companies in the world. There are many other proofs that management combines the features of both science and art, which co-exist in a single system of measures, principles, and theoretical concepts.

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First, it is worth considering a process of the manager’s knowledge enhancement and skills improvement, which has a reflection in the routine performance. Needless to mention, it is impossible to improve a personal qualification without knowledge advancement. At this point, science takes a primary role in the nourishment of the manager’s mind with a reliable theoretical background. When it comes to practice, the manager considers the obtained information and thinks about an appropriate expression of new concepts according to the conditions of the organizational environment (Fortwengel, Schüßler & Sydow 2016). It becomes necessary to consider the influence of human nature consisting of the employee’s human needs, feelings, emotions, and characters. While the scientific background of management predicts the outcomes of processes and decisions, its creative side guesses and accommodates to the needs of employees. In general, the core of management consists in feeling an appropriate time for the application of concepts and theories, which will help in terms of the company’s current development.

Secondly, another proof hides itself in the structure of any organization, which uses management theories to guarantee a successful development and growth. Every company consists of several features, which include employees, managers, offices, written policies, equipment, organizational culture, system of communication, and other parts directly related to the process of management. Consequently, it cannot exist without an active interaction of all elements, which is the primary responsibility of every manager. It is also impossible to dissect the organization with chemical tools or physical instruments. It happens for the reason that human systems are complex and unique within every company. The points where science stops working, art appears to support a further interpretation of the scientifically effective theories and concepts (Purg & Sutherland 2016). Social work also supports the idea that human nature requires the influence of creative approaches (Samson 2014). The emergent behavior of employees cannot have enough explanation in science to see the principles of human interactions, which are unpredictable and unexpected in the majority of situations. For example, a traffic jam is the most appropriate reflection of emergent behavior, which shows the essence of human nature with the most unexpected actions. The same outburst of emotions and feelings may happen within the company, which means that science cannot handle human nature without help of art (Tongo 2012). Thus, art allows managers to stay creative within the boundaries of management frameworks. In this way, it is fair to admit that management comprises both scientific and art features, which continues to regulate the human relations in order to gain an entrepreneurial success.


The evaluation of the topic led to the opinion that notion of management refers to both art and science, which explains the application of theoretical approaches and concepts. Thanks to the systematic review of every article, it became possible to underline the co-existence of creativity and scientific facts in a single system of management. Human systems, however, are the core of management, which means that it is impossible to break the performance of the organization with chemical tools or physical instruments. Nevertheless, management cannot exist without a scientific background, which nourishes the theory with new concepts and approaches towards the improvement of the employee’s performance. In addition, management also is ineffective without art, which shows the most successful way to apply the theory and use it for the benefits of the organization. It should be noted that human nature is unique and unpredictable at some points, which means that creativity is the only key to understand the logics in actions of others. Thanks to the combination of art and science, management remains one of the most efficient and logically explained fields of human activity.

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