Discussion 4

750 words altogether

Based on readings in Covey (1991), reviews of Module 4 materials, and library research, respond to the following:

1. What skill(s) do you think an effective leader should develop that would enable them to spend more time on leadership issues and less time on management issues?

2. Is management an art or a science and/or both?

3. Identify an approach in Covey (1991) that can be used for resolving managerial issues.

Organization and Structure

· Write one paragraph for each response item; each paragraph should contain a minimum of 250 words

· Follow APA rules: use appropriate headers, cite data sources

· Include a minimum of two in-text citations in each paragraph

Encyclopedia of Management 6th Edition – Finals/ 2/17/2009 06:44 Page


conducting any human activity’’ and science as ‘‘any skill
or technique that reflects a precise application of facts or a
principle.’’ Reflected in the differences in these definitions
is the use of precision in science, in that there is a partic-
ular, prescribed way in which a manager should act. Thus,
management as a science would indicate that in practice,
managers use a specific body of information and facts to
guide their behaviors, but that management as an art
requires no specific body of knowledge, only skill.

Conversely, those who believe management is an art
are likely to believe that there is no specific way to teach
or understand management, and that it is a skill borne of
personality and ability. Those who believe in management
as an art are likely to believe that certain people are more
predisposed to be effective managers than are others, and
that some people cannot be taught to be effective manag-
ers. That is, even with an understanding of management
research and an education in management, some people
will not be capable of being effective practicing managers.


Practicing managers who believe in management as a
science are likely to believe that there are ideal managerial
practices for certain situations. That is, when faced with a
managerial dilemma, the manager who believes in the
scientific foundation of his or her craft will expect that
there is a rational and objective way to determine the
correct course of action.

This manager is likely to follow general principles
and theories and also by creating and testing hypotheses.
For instance, if a manager has a problem with an employ-
ee’s poor work performance, the manager will look to
specific means of performance improvement, expecting
that certain principles will work in most situations. He
or she may rely on concepts learned in business school or
through a company training program when determining a
course of action, perhaps paying less attention to political
and social factors involved in the situation.

Many early management researchers subscribed to
the vision of managers as scientists. The scientific manage-
ment movement was the primary driver of this perspective.
Scientific management, pioneered by Frederick W. Taylor,
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and others, attempted to
discover ‘‘the one best way’’ to perform jobs. They used
scientific processes to evaluate and organize work so that it
became more efficient and effective. Scientific manage-
ment’s emphasis on both reducing inefficiencies and on
understanding the psychology of workers changed man-
ager and employee attitudes towards the practice of man-
agement. See Exhibit 1 for a summary of the principles of
scientific management.


Practicing managers who believe in management as an art
are unlikely to believe that scientific principles and theo-
ries will be able to be implemented in actual managerial
situations. Instead, these managers are likely to rely on the
social and political environment surrounding the mana-
gerial issue, using their own knowledge of a situation
rather than generic rules to determine a course of action.

For example, as a contrast to the example given pre-
viously, a manager who has a problem with an employee’s
poor work performance is likely to rely on his or her own
experiences and judgment when addressing this issue.
Rather than having a standard response to such a problem,
this manager is likely to consider a broad range of social
and political factors and is likely to take different actions
depending on the context of the problem.

Henry Mintzberg is probably the most well-known
and prominent advocate of the school of thought
that management is an art. Mintzberg is an academic
researcher whose work capturing the actual daily tasks of
real managers was groundbreaking research for its time.
Mintzberg, through his observation of actual managers
in their daily work, determined that managers did not
sit at their desks, thinking, evaluating, and deciding all
day long, working for long, uninterrupted time periods.
Rather, Mintzberg determined that managers engaged in
very fragmented work, with constant interruptions and rare
opportunities to quietly consider managerial issues. Thus,
Mintzberg revolutionized thinking about managers at the
time that his work was published, challenging the prior
notion that managers behaved rationally and methodically.
This was in line with the perspective of management as an
art, because it indicated that managers did not necessarily
have routine behaviors throughout their days, but instead
used their own social and political skills to solve problems
that arose throughout the course of work.

Exhibit 1
Frederick W. Taylor’s Principles of

Scientific Management

1. Managers must study the way that workers perform their tasks and
understand the job knowledge (formal and informal) that workers have,
then find ways to improve how tasks are performed.

2. Managers must codify new methods of performing tasks into written
work rules and standard operating procedures.

3. Managers should hire workers who have skills and abilities needed for
the tasks to be completed, and should train them to perform the tasks
according to the established procedures.

4. Managers must establish a level of performance for the task that is
acceptable and fair and should link it to a pay system that rewards
workers who perform above the acceptable level.

The Art and Science of Management



One of the enduring questions in the field of
manage-ment is whether management is an art
or a science. Webster’s College Dictionary
defines an art as ‘‘skill in

Encyclopedia of Management 6th Edition – Finals/ 2/17/2009 06:44 Page 12

Another scholar that promoted the notion of man-
agement as an art was David E. Lilienthal, who in 1967
had his series of lectures titled Management: A Humanist
Art published. In this set of published lectures, Lilienthal
argues that management requires more than a mastery of
techniques and skills; instead, it also requires that man-
agers understand individuals and their motivations and
help them achieve their goals. Lilienthal believed that
combining management and leadership into practice not
only by getting work done but by understanding the
meaning behind the work, as effective managerial behav-
ior. Thus, he promoted the idea of the manager as a
motivator and facilitator of others. This manager as an
artist was likely to respond differently to each employee
and situation, rather than use a prescribed set of responses
dictated by a set of known guidelines.

Another proponent of the management as art school
of thought is Peter Drucker, famed management scholar
who is best known for developing ideas related to total
quality management. Drucker terms management ‘‘a lib-
eral art,’’ claiming that it is such because it deals with the
fundamentals of knowledge, wisdom, and leadership, but
because it is also concerned with practice and application.
Drucker argues that the discipline (i.e., the science) of
management attempts to create a paradigm for managers
in which facts are established and exceptions to these facts
are ignored as anomalies. He is critical of the assumptions
that make up the management paradigm, because these
assumptions change over time as society and the business
environment change. Thus, management is more of an art,
because scientific ‘‘facts’’ do not remain stable over time.


Noted researcher Thomas Kuhn, in his book The Struc-
ture of Scientific Revolutions, addresses issues associated
with the state of current scientific research and the oppor-
tunities for scientific discovery. Kuhn, in previous edi-
tions of this text, drew distinctions between mature and
immature fields of study.

In mature fields of study, many of the central ques-
tions of that field have been answered, and strong con-
sensus exists among researchers regarding the fundamental
assumptions of that field. Conversely, in immature fields
of study, there is still a great deal of debate on major
questions in the field, and gains in knowledge come

In many ways, management is an immature science.
While its foundations in psychology, sociology, and other
related areas give it a long and rich history, the nature of
the areas of study renders it immature. That is, due to the
difficulties of studying human behavior in a number of
disparate settings, the study of management is still very

young when compared to other fields of research (e.g., in
the physical sciences). In fact, many scholars have argued
that the social sciences (e.g., management research) suffer
from envy of the physical sciences, in which ‘‘truths’’ are
able to be determined through research. As such, social
sciences researchers may strive to create a more ‘‘scien-
tific’’ approach to their fields in order to grant them more

Despite its relative immaturity, some consistent
answers have been developed in the field of management.
In many ways this is due to the increased sophistication of
management research. However, there are still a number
of research gaps in management; despite our increased
knowledge in some areas, there is still a great deal of
disagreement and confusion in other areas. In these cir-
cumstances, the practice of management is likely to be
dictated by the perspective of management as an art.
Because there are no hard and fast rules in certain circum-
stances, individual managers’ experiences and skills must
guide them.

In the twenty-first century, much of the management
research conducted in academic institutions blends the
notion of management as an art and as a science. Some
of these trends in management research that have pushed
the field in either direction—namely increased statistical
sophistication and the emphasis on contextual influences—
are described below.

Increased Statistical Sophistication. As computer tech-
nology continues to improve, the ability of management
researchers to conduct sophisticated statistical analyses has
also been enhanced. Powerful statistical computing pack-
ages are now readily available for desktop computers,
allowing for high-speed analysis of complex statistical
models. Additionally, new statistical modeling techniques,
such as structural equations modeling, have gained foot-
ing in management research. Thus, management
researchers are now better able to empirically test more
complex research hypotheses, and management as a sci-
ence is perpetuated.

The improvement in researchers’ ability to analyze
statistics more quickly has resulted in an increase in infor-
mation about theories of management. Practicing manag-
ers may now know of certain relationships that have
received strong support through decades of empirical
research. Such ‘‘truths’’ may become guiding principles
that practicing managers see as ideal solutions to a variety
of situations.

For instance, numerous empirical studies over several
recent decades have supported the relationship between
appropriate goal setting and higher work performance.
This relationship has been tested in a variety of situations,
with a number of contextual influences present, yet

The Art and Science of Management


Encyclopedia of Management 6th Edition – Finals/ 2/17/2009 06:44 Page 13

the statistical relationship holds in nearly all of them.
Thus, a practicing manager may see this body of empirical
research and, in a work situation, see the benefits of goal
setting on performance as a scientific ideal. He or she may
then implement goal setting in a number of practical
situations, bolstered by the confidence afforded by deca-
des of research supporting such actions.

Meta-analysis, in particular, is a methodological pro-
cedure that has contributed significantly to the study of
management. Meta-analysis is a statistical technique that
allows a researcher to combine findings from multiple
studies, correct for errors in study design, and determine
an ‘‘average’’ statistical relationship among variables.

Meta-analysis first gained a foothold in management
research in studies of the validity of selection techniques
for different jobs in different organizations. Before the
application of meta-analysis to research the validity of
different selection techniques, there was a belief in the
situational specificity of these selection methods. That is,
studies of the accuracy of selection techniques in predict-
ing subsequent job performance had such disparate
results that academics concluded that validity of a stand-
ardized test, for example, would differ dramatically in
each selection situation (e.g., with different job applicants,
in different organizations, in different geographic regions).
This myth was dispelled, however, with the application
of meta-analysis to the results of the collected body of
research on the validity of selection methods. The use of
meta-analysis established that the differences in findings
were due primarily to limitations of research design, such
as small sample size, unreliability of measures, and other
correctable problems. When meta-analysis was applied to
this group of studies, they were combined to determine
that validates of selection techniques were general across
jobs and organizations. Thus, the use of meta-analysis
helped to establish that cognitive ability tests and struc-
tured interviews were highly valid selection methods in
nearly every job.

Meta-analysis has now been applied to many differ-
ent areas of management research, including training,
recruitment, fairness, and other topics. Additionally, there
have been a number of refinements to the statistical
corrections used in meta-analysis.

The increased acceptance and use of meta-analysis
in management research supports the notion of manage-
ment as a science. Meta-analysis provides for ‘‘truths’’ in
management—relationships between variables that hold
strong regardless of the people or situation involved.

For instance, one consistent finding is that structured
selection interviews (ones in which applicants are asked
the same set of predetermined questions, and in which
responses are evaluated using the same criteria) are a more

valid predictor of future job performance than are
unstructured interviews (in which applicants are asked
different questions and responses are evaluated using dif-
ferent criteria). Meta-analysis has been used to establish
this finding, and thus a practicing manager may use this
information as a scientific ‘‘fact’’ when conducting selec-
tion interviews.

Contextual Influences. While improvements in manage-
ment researchers’ ability to conduct statistical analysis in
their studies has promoted the notion of management as a
science, in some ways it has also promoted management
as an art. Because of the capability to statistically analyze
and interpret larger, more complex models of behavior,
researchers are now testing models with this increased

In particular, there is an increased emphasis on con-
textual influences. That is, rather than focusing solely on
how behaviors are linked to outcomes, many researchers
now include individual, social, and political variables in
research models to have a richer understanding of behav-
ior. Thus, there are more complex recommendations that
can be made from recent research, rather than basic truths.

For example, one of the most prominent areas of con-
textual research in recent years is in person-organization fit
(p-o fit). The p-o fit model is a part of the attraction-
selection-attrition model that suggests that certain types of
individuals are attracted to particular organizations, selected
by those organizations, and either adapt to become an
effective part of the organization, or leave if they do not fit
with the organization. The p-o fit model is the notion that
the particular skills, attitudes, values, and preferences of an
individual employee should fit with those of the organiza-
tion in order for that employee to have high job satisfaction
and performance. The model also indicates that this fit is
likely to be as important as an assessment of applicants’
abilities when hiring.

Previous models of selection emphasized a strict
interpretation of applicant skills, with the use of valid
selection tests as most important. However, the p-o fit
model indicates that, even if skills and abilities have been
appropriately measured, that hiring the applicant with the
best skills is not always the best course of action, but that
hiring an individual who fits into the culture of the
organization could be more advantageous.

This move towards including contextual influences
in management research models promotes the notion of
management as an art. Rather than indicating that there
are specific principles and guidelines that can guide man-
agement practice, it suggests that managerial behavior
should change based on the social and political context
of the situation.

The Art and Science of Management


Encyclopedia of Management 6th Edition – Finals/ 2/17/2009 06:44 Page 14


Management education and development, which attempts
to prepare today’s managers for organizational challenges,
are guided by both the notion of management as an art
and as a science. The approach to management education
and development is likely to differ dramatically depending
on the belief one has as to the nature of the practice of
management. The perspective of management as an art
assumes to some extent that a manager has a disposition or
experiences that guide him or her in managerial decisions
and activities. Thus, with this perspective, many managers
may be successful without any formal education or train-
ing in management. The perspective of management as a
science, however, would indicate that management skills
can be taught through an understanding of theory and
principles of management. Many of today’s educational
institutions and workplaces blend the notion of manage-
ment as a science and an art in their approach to preparing
employees for management.

Management education in today’s universities pri-
marily emphasizes management as a science. Textbooks
used in management courses emphasize many of the
consistent findings of many decades of management
research. And, as these degrees increase in popularity, it
is likely that more practicing managers will have a set of
established management ideals with which they operate.

While formal management education may promote
management as a science, many development efforts sup-
port the notion of management as an art. To cultivate
management talent, organizations offer mentoring, over-
seas experiences, and job rotation. These activities allow
managers to gain greater social and political insight and
thus rely on their own judgment and abilities to improve
their management style. Much of mentoring involves
behavior modeling, in which a protégé may learn nuances
of managerial behavior rather than a set of specific guide-
lines for managing. Overseas experiences are likely to
involve a great deal of manager adaptation, and the gen-
eral rules by which a manager might operate in one
culture are likely to change when managing workers in
other countries. Finally, job rotation is a technique that
requires a manager to work in a variety of settings. Again,
this encourages a manager to be flexible and adaptive, and
likely rely more on his or her personal skill in managing.

The foundations of management as an art and man-
agement as a science are evident in today’s educational
institutions and work organizations. Management as a
science was primarily influenced by researchers in the area
of scientific management, such as Frederick Taylor, and
continues today in much of the empirical research on
management issues. Management as an art has been

influenced by scholars such as Henry Mintzberg and Peter
Drucker, and is often evident in complex theories of
management. Many scholars and practitioners blend art
and science to more effectively cultivate managerial talent.
This is evident in recent theories of management, research
in workplaces, and education and development of

Future Issues in Management Education. The Associa-
tion to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
task force on management and education and other man-
agement theorists have identified challenges facing the
future of the field of management. Among these chal-
lenges are making both the art and science of manage-
ment accessible to students in the field. At the same time,
managers must prepare to face the challenges of global-
ization. In meeting this challenge, management educators
can bring a new focus to the managers who will lead in
the next generation of businesses.

SEE ALSO Management Science; Management Thought;
Organizational Behavior; Research Methods and
Processes; Statistics

Appley, Lawrence A. Management in Action: The Art of Getting

Things Done through People. American Management
Association, 1956.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
‘‘Business and Business Schools: A Partnership for the
Future.’’ Report of the AACSB International Alliance for
Management Education Task Force. 2006. Available from:

Bennis, W. G. & O’Toole, J. (2005). How business schools lost
their way. Harvard Business Review, 83(5), 96–104.

DuBrin, Andrew J. Essentials of Management. 6th ed.
Peterborough, Ontario: Thomson South-Western, 2003.

Drucker, Peter F. The Essential Drucker. New York, NY: Harper
Collins Publishers, 2001.

Gatignon, Hubert. Statistical Analysis of Management Data. New
York: Springer-Verlag, 2003.

Jones, Gareth R., and Jennifer M. George. Contemporary
Management. 4th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin,

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd ed.
Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Lilienthal, David E. Management: A Humanist Art. New York,
NY: Colombia University Press, 1967.

Mintzberg, Henry. ‘‘The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact.’’
Harvard Business Review, July-August 1975, 56—62.

———. The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper &
Row, 1973.

Rue, Leslie W., and Lloyd L. Byars. Management: Skills and
Applications. 10th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin,

Williams, Chuck. Management. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western
College Publishing, 2000.

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