It is the question of generations whether management is an art. To know the answer we need to know what art means and whether those qualities of art match with management. People are often confused whether management should be considered art or science. But it is indeed both.
What is an art?
Art means a vision which is just a thought and then with use of skills it is put into reality and through practice and further knowledge it is presented in front of the viewer. Art as it is said is just an expression of the skills, creativity, and imagination and then they are presented in a visual manner and they are appreciated for their beauty or a thought.
Features of art
Presence of theoretical knowledge
Many people believe that art does not need any theory and it is just a thought. There is always existence of a theoretical knowledge and then it is applied for further creating that art. There is presence of some basic knowledge or concepts that are to be kept in mind to learn that art. Though it is not sufficient to have only theoretical knowledge of things, practical application is also very important.
For example; public speaking is an art. Practicing public speaking requires some theoretical knowledge about it before hand. A person should know basic things such as flow in which to give different kinds of speeches. If a person does not have knowledge about difference between a motivational speech and a comedy stand-up then it may turn into a disaster.
Art is always quite personalised. Though the basic concept, knowledge and theory may be same but creativity, skills always differ from person to person. When it comes to application of a theoretical knowledge it is clear that it will never be the same for any person. When style and approach towards a thing is different, then success and quality of the same also differs.
For example: there are several artists such as painters or dancers who are never similar to another painter or dancer unless and until it is copied. When we see the paintings of M.F. Hussain then we realise it has a completely different style.
Creativity is the use of imagination. This imagination when creates something unique and different then it is called art. Art has a basic pillar on which it stands and it is creativity. Every artist tries to make and create something that has not been there and people have not seen it.
For example: film making is also an art. Every film has an element of uniqueness. If any film is copied from another film then people do not like it. Thus, every film maker tries to put his or her best efforts to bring something new to the table. Even when the similar film is remade after years it has some pinch of uniqueness to it.
Based on practice
Every artist learns new things through practice and dedication. Trial and error is the key to learning new things and then becoming perfect. Practice of existing theoretical knowledge is required to improve the quality of art.
For example: musicians and singers have theoretical knowledge and have applied that in real life but they continuously practice their art so that they remain in the flow and rhythm remains intact.
Every art is goal oriented. Every artist performs his or her to reach a fixed position. Why they are performing their art they have fixed mindset of achieving something new and unique.
For example: when a painter starts to paint, he first has a thought then he imagines further then he puts his imagination on paper but while doing all this he has a goal in mind i.e. a picture which he will draw.
Management as an Art
Management can be called an art as it satisfies all the above conditions. Manager also applies uses these characteristics and then only he can be called a good manger.
Characteristics of Management as an Art
Presence of theoretical knowledge
Theoretical knowledge is present for management too. People join business schools to learn how to manage businesses. There are lot of theories based on different fields of management like marketing, finance, human resource management etc. Managers learn to manage situations based on the literature which is present, experience and observation.
Every person applies his or her skills in a different way. Mangers also tend to apply same theories in a different way based on the situation. There is difference in application also because there is difference in personality of each person.
For example: one manager can deal with a labour strike in a calm manner and other manager can deal with the same situation in an aggressive manner.
Creativity is always required in every field. It depends on the managers how they deal with the situation based on how creative they are. Theoretical knowledge of management is more or less the same for every learner but the way they apply that knowledge is based on the creative quotient of a person.
For example: one manager can go for a solution of a problem in a similar way as it was dealt the previous time but another manager can use his creativity and come with different solution each time.
Based on practice
Learning takes time. It takes years to learn and become a master in an area. Same applies to management. Not every time a manager will be successful. Trial and error is done in this field also. Many studies show that the people who are most successful today have failed a lot. Although they try to minimise the risk but still practice is required to learn further.
There is no doubt in the fact that an organization is working because it has goal in mind. Every manager needs to set up a goal first and then act upon it. Management is goal oriented, management requires first making a plan and then acting accordingly.
Management is thus an art because it has all the characteristics of an art. Management is thus an art of putting the knowledge into practice with creativity and imagination and that is the main distinguishing factor of a good manger and bad manager.