A profession has a codified body of knowledge, and to practice a profession you need to be trained and certified…But we don’t have much codified knowledge in management, and we certainly have no accreditation that ensures people are good managers; in fact, the most common accreditation-the MBA-is exactly the opposite. We have great managers who have never spent a day in a management program. We don’t have great surgeons who never spent a day in medical school, or great engineers who never studied physics. So the idea of management as a profession doesn’t hold up at all. There’s no aspect of management that conforms to professional qualifications.
As far as being a science, physics is a science; chemistry and biology are sciences. Management isn’t a science; it isn’t about finding truth. Management isn’t even an applied science, because that’s still a science. Management is the application of science, among many other things. Managers use whatever they can in a practical way to get things done or to encourage other people to get things done.
Most management is a craft-that is, it relies on experience, on-the-job learning. I put it this way: It’s as much about doing in order to think as thinking in order to do.