Is management an Art, Science or a Profession



An art is the know how to accomplish concrete practical results. It involves application of knowledge and skills to achieve the desired results. The knowhow is based on inherent capabilities (talent) developed through practice and experience.

Essential elements of an art:

  • An art is a personalized process as every artist has his own style.
  • An art involves application of practical knowledge to achieve concrete practical results
  • Art is essentially creative.
  • Art prescribes how to do things.
  • Can be improved through continuous practice
  • Art is results oriented.
  • An art prescribes how to do things

Management is therefore an art as it fulfills the following characteristics

  1. Management is a personalized process like any other art since every manager has his own style of managing.
  2. Management is creative like any other art.
  3. Management involves application of practical knowledge to solve practical managerial problem.
  4. Management is results oriented like any other art i.e. all the management processes and efforts is directed towards attainment of the organizational goals.
  5. The art of management can be refined with experience like any other art.
  6. Like any other art management requires judgment mid skills.


A science is a systemized body of knowledge consisting of principles, concepts and theories that have established though a scientific process to establish cause and effect relationship between variables. Where the relationship between variables has proved to hold after a long period of observation a management principle has been established. A scientific process involves observation, analysis and experimentation

Features of a science:

  • The principles represent fundamental truths, derived from empirical results.
  • The principles and theories help explain past event and may be used to predict the outcome of figure action.
  • The principles establish cause and effect relationship between two or more factors.
  • The principles have universal application
  • And are capable of empirical testing and validation Management is therefore a science because of the following:

Management is therefore a Science as it fulfills the following characteristics

  1. Management has a systemized body of knowledge consisting of general principles and techniques.
  2. The management principles represent sound fundamental truths which can be universally applied.
  3. Management principles are based on scientific enquiry and investigation. They have been developed through experiments and practical experience of a large number of managers. !
  4. Management principles establish cause and effect relationship between different variables.
  5. The principles of management can be empirically tested for their validity.


A profession has been defined as a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation. According to free encyclopedia a profession is an occupation founded upon specialized education and training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.

A profession has the following characteristics:

  1. A profession is based on an approved body of knowledge which requires rigorous intellectual training which takes a considerable period of time. Hence management is not a profession.
  2. Professions typically require a significant period of hands-on, practical experience in the protected company of senior members before an individual is recognized as a professional. After this provisional period, continuous education toward professional development is a mandatory requirement hence management is not a profession.
  3. Entry into a profession is restricted by an association of members, membership of which is restricted to people with common training and attitude thus management is not a, profession.
  4. In a profession the emphasis on service to others. In relation to this, a professional involves great responsibility. Professionals deal with matters of vital significance to their clients and are hence entrusted with great responsibilities and obligations. Professionals therefore owe a duty of care to their clients, breach of which can cause grave damage to the client. Arising from the duty of care is accountability, Professionals are personally accountable for the quality of their work with the client.
    Management may not quite fit in this perspective of a profession as it does not focus on service to others but rather it involves manipulating the organizational resources with a view of optimize their use in order to maximize profits and achieve other organizational goals.
  5. In a profession there is a code of ethics that regulates the behavior of the members of the profession thus management is not a profession.
  6. A profession maintains an experimental attitude towards information and is constantly in search of new information through research and practice. Thus, management is not a profession

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