Management as a Science
Science is a systematic body of knowledge pertaining to a specific field of study that contains general facts which explains a phenomenon. It establishes cause and effect relationship between two or more variables and underlines the principles governing their relationship. These principles are developed through scientific method of observation and verification through testing.
Science is characterized by following main features:
Universally acceptance principles - Scientific principles represents basic truth about a particular field of enquiry. These principles may be applied in all situations, at all time & at all places. E.g. - law of gravitation which can be applied in all countries irrespective of the time.
Management also contains some fundamental principles which can be applied universally like the Principle of Unity of Command i.e. one man, one boss. This principle is applicable to all type of organization - business or non business.
Experimentation & Observation - Scientific principles are derived through scientific investigation & researching i.e. they are based on logic. E.g. the principle that earth goes round the sun has been scientifically proved.
Management principles are also based on scientific enquiry & observation and not only on the opinion of Henry Fayol. They have been developed through experiments & practical experiences of large no. of managers. E.g. it is observed that fair remuneration to personal helps in creating a satisfied work force.
Cause & Effect Relationship - Principles of science lay down cause and effect relationship between various variables. E.g. when metals are heated, they are expanded. The cause is heating & result is expansion.
The same is true for management, therefore it also establishes cause and effect relationship. E.g. lack of parity (balance) between authority & responsibility will lead to ineffectiveness. If you know the cause i.e. lack of balance, the effect can be ascertained easily i.e. in effectiveness. Similarly if workers are given bonuses, fair wages they will work hard but when not treated in fair and just manner, reduces productivity of organization.
Test of Validity & Predictability - Validity of scientific principles can be tested at any time or any number of times i.e. they stand the test of time. Each time these tests will give same result. Moreover future events can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by using scientific principles. E.g. H2 & O2 will always give H2O.
Principles of management can also be tested for validity. E.g. principle of unity of command can be tested by comparing two persons - one having single boss and one having 2 bosses. The performance of 1st person will be better than 2nd.
It cannot be denied that management has a systematic body of knowledge but it is not as exact as that of other physical sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry etc. The main reason for the inexactness of science of management is that it deals with human beings and it is very difficult to predict their behavior accurately. Since it is a social process, therefore it falls in the area of social sciences. It is a flexible science & that is why its theories and principles may produce different results at different times and therefore it is a behavior science. Ernest Dale has called it as a Soft Science.