Managing, like so many other disciplines‚ medicine, music composition, engineering, accountancy, or even baseball is in large measure an art but founded on a wealth of science. It is making decisions on the basis of business realities. Yet managers can work better by applying the organized knowledge about management that has accrued over the decades. It is this knowledge, whether crude or advanced, whether exact or inexact, that, to the extent it is well organized, clear, and pertinent, constitutes a science.
Thus, managing as practiced is an art; the organized knowledge underlying the practice may be referred to as a science. In this context science and art are not mutually exclusive but are complementary As science improves so should the application of this science (the art) as has happened in the physical and biological sciences. This is true because the many variables with which managers deal are extremely complex and intangible. But such management knowledge as is available can certainly improve managerial practice.
Physicians without the advantage of science would be little more than witch doctors. Executives who attempt to manage without such management science must trust to luck, intuition, or to past experiences. In managing, as in any other field, unless practitioners are to learn by trial and error (and it has been said that managers’ errors are their subordinates’ trials), there is no place they can turn for meaningful guidance other than the accumulated knowledge underlying their practice
One of the most important human activities is managing. Ever since people began forming groups to accomplish aims they could not achieve as individuals, managing has been essential to ensure the coordination of individual efforts. As society has come to rely increasingly on group effort and as many organized groups have grown larger, the task of managers has been rising in importance. The purpose of this book is to promote excellence of all persons in organizations, but especially managers, aspiring managers, and other professionals.