Management Principles - Overview

In today’s volatile economies, every organization needs strong managers to lead its people towards achieving the business objectives. A manager’s primary challenge is to solve problems creatively and plan effectively. Managers thus fulfill many roles and have different responsibilities within the various levels of an organization.

Management began to materialize as a practice during the Industrial Revolution, as large corporations began to emerge in the late 19th century and developed and expanded into the early 20th century. Management is regarded as the most important of all human activities. It may be called the practice of consciously and continually shaping organizations.

What is Management?

Management is a universal phenomenon. Every individual or entity requires setting objectives, making plans, handling people, coordinating and controlling activities, achieving goals and evaluating performance directed towards organizational goals. These activities relate to the utilization of variables or resources from the environment − human, monetary, physical, and informational.

Principles of Management

Human resources refer to managerial talent, labor (managerial talent, labor, and services provided by them), monetary resources (the monetary investment the organization uses to finance its current and long-term operations), physical resources (raw materials,physical and production facilities and equipment) and information resources (data and other kinds of information).

Management is essentially the bringing together these resources within an organization towards reaching objectives of an organization.

Management Defined

Management has been defined by various authors/authorities in various ways. Following are few often-quoted definitions −

Management guru, Peter Drucker, says the basic task of management includes both marketing and innovation. According to him, Management is a multipurpose organ that manages a business and manages managers, and manages workers and work.

Harold Koontz defined management as the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups.

All these definitions place an emphasis on the attainment of organizational goals/objectives through deployment of the management process (planning, organizing, directing, etc.) for the best use of organization’s resources. Management makes human effort more fruitful thus effecting enhancements and development.

Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling an organization’s human, financial, physical, and information resources to achieve organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner.

The principles of management are the means by which a manager actually manages, that is, get things done through others − individually, in groups, or in organizations.

Formally defined, the principles of management are the activities that plan, organize, and control the operations of the basic elements of [people], materials, machines, methods, money and markets, providing direction and coordination, and giving leadership to human efforts, so as to achieve the sought objectives of the enterprise.

Is Management an Art or a Science?

Like any other discipline such as law, medicine or engineering, managing is an art – at least that is what most people assume. Management concepts need to be artistically approached and practiced for its success. It is understood that managing is doing things artistically in the light of the realities of a situation.

If we take a closer look at it, Management, when practiced, is definitely an art but its underlying applications, methods and principles are a science. It is also opined that management is an art struggling to become a science.

Management as an Art

The personal ingenious and imaginative power of the manager lends management the approach of an art. This creative power of the manager enriches his performance skill. In fact, the art of managing involves the conception of a vision of an orderly whole, created from chaotic parts and the communication and achievement of this vision. Managing can be called art of arts because it organizes and uses human talent, which is the basis of every artistic activity.

Management as a Science

Management is a body of systematized knowledge accumulated and established with reference to the practice and understanding of general truth concerning management. It is true that the science underlying managing is not as accurate or comprehensive as physical sciences (such as chemistry or biology) which deal with non-human entities.

The involvement of the human angle makes management not only complex but also controversial as pure science. Nevertheless, the study of the scientific elements in management methodologies can certainly improve the practice of management.

Management as a Science and Art

Science urges us to observe and experiment a phenomenon, while art teaches us the application of human skill and imagination to the same. In order to be successful, every manager needs do things effectively and efficiently. This requires a unique combination of both science and art. We can say that the art of managing begins where the science of managing stops. As the science of managing is imperfect, the manager must turn to artistic managerial ability to perform a job satisfactorily.