It is always asked whether management is an art, science or a profession. It is now clear that any organized activity needs to be managed. There has been increase in managed business concerns and corporate organizations. It is thus the question whether management is a profession also or not, to understand that, we need to first know what profession is and its characteristics.
What is profession?
Profession is an occupation which requires specific knowledge of the field, training and some academic background of the same to enter in that profession which is regulated by a representative body. Over the period of time, with increasing size of businesses, separation of ownership from management is required and to do that there is increase in demand for professionals.
Characteristics of profession:
1. Well defined body of knowledge: Profession is a well defined body of knowledge. There is a representative body which looks after the particular profession. Any person who wants to pursue the particular profession needs to acquire the skills, the knowledge through instructions.
For example: teaching is a profession. any person who needs to be a teacher, first needs to learn about it by studying about it and gaining a degree in the same.
2. Restricted entry: There is restricted entry in the profession, a person who wants to pursue his or her career in a particular profession needs to first learn about that profession and then clear an examination or acquire an educational qualification degree. There are various institutes to impart knowledge and training. Without learning about the profession it is impossible to practice that course.
For example: doctors need to do M.B.B.S and attain a degree first and then start practicing. Without a degree or giving an exam no one will consider him or her to be a doctor.
3. Professional association: There is a professional body which regulates the entry of a person in the profession. That association also determines the code of conduct of the professionals practicing in that field and also grants certificate or degree on completion of the prescribed course.
For example: Institute of chartered accountants of India (ICAI) is the association which regulates the entry, grants the certificate and sets the code of conduct of chartered accountants (CA) in India.
4. Ethical code of conduct: All professions are bound to follow the rules and work according the code of conduct set by the head association. There are certain rules which need to be followed so that the working remains moral. These may include integrity, honesty, respect, refraining from violence etc.
For example: all doctors take an oath before becoming professional doctors to follow the code of conduct which include medical confidentiality and there should not be presence of maleficence.
5. Service motive: The motive of a profession is to serve its clients. Actions of professionals are based on social norms and values. A profession cannot run in isolation, it takes up knowledge and resources from the society and thus its primary motive includes serving the society back. Their earning depends on profession but serving society is priority and not monetary considerations.
For example: a doctor being a professional earns his livelihood by treating people but it is his motive to serve the people first. Under emergency they may not even get the payment from the people they treated but saving their lives is more important.
Management as a profession
Management means to deal and control things or people. Management means to make things or situations organised. Management is now turning into a profession but there are certain characteristics which do not match with management. We need to look at matching and non – matching characteristics of profession to find out whether management is a profession or not.
1. Well defined body of knowledge: There is now – a – days growth in management as a discipline. Management is based on systematic and well defined body of knowledge as there are several theories, books and journals. There is proper and formal education system which looks after the management education.
For example: Indian institute of management (IIM) is an institute which is set up for providing professional education on management.
2. No restricted entry: There is not a restricted entry into management. Anyone can manage the business regardless of his or her qualifications. Although it is now required that a person should posses certain skills and degree to become a manager but it is not necessary for anyone to have educational qualifications to be designated as a manager.
For example: people who start their own business do not necessarily have degrees or diplomas to manage their business. Such as, Dhirubhai Ambani didn’t have degrees to become a manager but still he was one of the most successful managers.
3. No professional association: There are various associations which are formed to regulate the working of managers and form different code of conduct but managers are not restricted to follow those codes of conduct. It depends on the manager whether to abide by those laws and rules or not.
For example: there is All India management association (AIMA) that lays down the code of conduct and way of working for its members but it is not a compulsion for any manager to be its member and it doesn’t even have any statutory backing for the same.
4. Ethical code of conduct: It is morally correct to follow certain codes of conduct and serve the society. Managers may or may not follow the code of conduct laid down by the All India management association (AIMA) but now following those codes of conduct will not lead to any legal action against the business.
5. Service motive: It was earlier objective of business to maximise the profit but slowly and gradually it is changing into maximising the satisfaction of its stake holders which include customers, investors, society etc. Any business concern is therefore expected to provide good quality products at a reasonable rate.
Management in some respect can be considered as profession but it does not completely copy all the characteristics of profession. Management is no doubt backed by well defined body of knowledge and has certain principles or techniques but it does not have a restricted entry and does not require a particular degree. It is however true that management is now emerging as a profession.