Concept, Nature & Scope of Management

Definition:

According to F.W. Taylor

“Management is an art of knowing what is to be done and seeing that it is done in the best possible manner.” (planning and controlling)
As there is no universally accepted definition for management, it is difficult to define it.
But a simple traditional definition, defines it as the “art of getting things done by others”. This definition brings in two elements namely accomplishment of objectives, and direction of group activities towards the goal. The weaknesses of this definition is that firstly it uses the word “art”, whereas management is not merely an art, but it is both art and science. Secondly, the definition does not state the various functions of a manager clearly.

Nature of Management:
Management Art or Science?
Management involves characteristics of both art and science. While certain aspects of management make it a science, certain others which involve application of skills make it an art. Every discipline of art is always backed by science which is basic knowledge of that art. Similarly, every discipline of science is complete only when it is used in practice for solving various kind of problems. Whereas under “science” one normally learns the “why” of a phenomenon, under “art” one learns the “how” of it. In the words of Robert H. Hilkert: “In the area of management, science and art are two sides of the same coin”.
In the beginning of development of management knowledge, it was considered as an art. There was a jungle of management knowledge. Any one used it to get things done in his own way. But later by codifying and systemizing the management, it became a science as well as being an art.
Management as an art has the following characteristics:
  • Just like other arts it has practical application. The knowledge of management should be learned and practiced by managers, just as medical or legal practitioners practice their respective sciences. In this sense, management is an art.
  • The manager gains experience by continuous application of management knowledge. This experience helps them to develop more skills and abilities for translating management knowledge into practice.
  • Application of management knowledge calls for innovativeness and creativity.
  • The fourth reason to consider management as an art is that in many situations, theoretical knowledge of management may not be adequate or relevant for solving the problem. It may be because of complexity or unique nature of the problem.

Management as a Science

Management as a science has the following characteristics:
  • Its principles, generalizations and concepts are systematically . In this case the manager can manage the situation or organization in a systematic and scientific manner.
  • Its principles, generalizations and concepts are formulated on the basis of observation, research, analysis and experimentation, as is the case with the principles of other sciences.
  • Like other sciences, management principles are also based on relationship of cause and effect. It states that same cause under similar circumstance will produce same effect. Suppose if workers are paid more (cause), the produce more (effect).
  • Management principles are codified and systematic, and can be transferred from one to another and can be taught.
  • Management principles are universally applicable to all types of organizations.

Management: A Profession

The following criteria identifies the statues of a profession to management:
  • Profession is a body of specialized knowledge.
  • Professional knowledge in systemized and codified form can be learned through formal education system.
  • A profession emphasizes on having a central body to formulate a code of behavior for its members.
  • A profession calls for rendering competent and specialized services to clients.
  • A profession maintains the scientific attitude and commitment for discovering new ideas and upgrading in order to improve quality of service and level of efficiency provided to clients.
  • A profession requires members to exercise restraint and self-discipline.
Management knowledge meets the first two criteria because it has grown into a systematic body of knowledge and also it can be acquired and learned through the formal education.
There is no minimum qualification prescribed either for getting entry in the management profession or for becoming members of it. In practice, whosoever manages in known as manager, irrespective of qualifications. Peter Drucker in support of this view says that “no greater damage could be done to our economy or to our society than to attempt to professionalize management by licensing managers, for instance, or by limiting access to management to people with a special academic degree.”
Regarding professional approach, a manager has to continuously strive for discovering new ideas, relationships and concepts and act in a dynamic and innovative manner to cope with the changing environment. Even so, managers are not respected as other professionals like doctors, advocates and chartered accountants.

Levels of Management:

Top Level of Management
It consists of board of directors, chief executive or managing director. The top management is the ultimate source of authority and it manages goals and policies for an enterprise. It devotes more time on planning and coordinating functions.
Middle Level of Management
The branch managers and departmental managers constitute middle level. They are responsible to the top management for the functioning of their department. They devote more time to organizational and directional functions. In small organization, there is only one layer of middle level of management but in big enterprises, there may be senior and junior middle level management.
Lower Level Management
Lower level is also known as supervisory / operative level of management. It consists of supervisors, foreman, section officers, superintendent etc. According to R.C. Davis, “Supervisory management refers to those executives whose work has to be largely with personal oversight and direction of operative employees”. In other words, they are concerned with direction and controlling function of management.

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