Is Management a Profession? – Essay

(iii) Entry restricted on the basis of examination or education

(iv) Dominance of service motive over profit motive

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Except for restricted entry, management qualifies all other tests of a profession. It is now backed by a systematic body of knowledge. A number of management principles have been developed which need proper learning and education. Besides, in a number of countries management institutes, associations and universities are now imparting knowledge relating to management.

Moreover, social and moral climate has created new challenges for the management. Management of today must be creative rather than adaptive and must also be conscious of its ethical and social responsibilities to the society. Another important development in the field of management has been that professional management consultants are growing both in numbers and quality.

However, management fails to qualify the test of professionalism that is related to restricted entry. Though there is growing preference in the society for properly educated and trained people for managing business enterprises, yet self-made managers cannot altogether be eliminated. Thus, management may not be a profession strictly similar to the legal or medical, yet professional overtones are very much present in management.

As mentioned in our introductory literature, management was influenced by various disciplines like, sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, psychology and even by literatures. Due to such multi-disciplinary approaches, authors like Harold Koontz referred it as ‘jungle’.

Even, there exist differences in classification of approaches. However, probably the best way to classify management approaches from the analysis of Hutchinson (1971), which considers the process of development of management from five different perspectives. Without going into the details of such differences in approaches, we have analysed the history of management from three different perspectives as following:

1. Classical Approach

2. Neo-classical Approach

3. Modern Approach

Classical approach conventionally is considered as traditionally accepted views and not views which are classical due to being time-bound. Classical management approach emphasizes the concept of organizational efficiency to increase organizational success.

It believes in functional interrelationship, following of certain principles based on experience, bureaucratic structure and reward-punishment nexus. Classical thoughts on management developed in three different directions—bureaucracy, scientific management and administration theory. Bureaucratic Approach was pioneered by Max Weber (1920), Scientific Management Approach was pioneered by F.W. Taylor (1930) and Administration theory concept was pioneered by Henri Fayol (1925).

Neo-classical theory emphasizes human relations, importance of man behind the machine, the importance of individual as well as group relationships, social aspects, etc. This approach was pioneered by Elton Mayo and his associates in 1930. It further got extended to behavioural sciences approach, pioneered by Abraham Maslow, Chris Argyris, Douglas McGregor and Rensis Likert. Quantitative Approach (during World War II) and Contingency (situational) Approach also form the part of the neo-classical theory.

Modern management thought combines concepts of classical approach with social and natural sciences. Basically, it emerged from systems analysis.