There has been a growing trend towards professionalization of management. Professionalization imparts a certain social responsibility and dignity to management. A professional cannot be controlled or directed by the client. He has professional knowledge and judgment which he uses to make his decision. Thus, professionalization makes business more efficient, dynamic and socially responsible. The growth of management education has contributed to professionalization in the business field. The company form of business organization which has split ownership from management and the gaining popularity of the company form of business organization have increased the need for professional managers.
Is Management a Profession?
To answer this question, first of all we should understand what a profession is. Many authorities on the subject have attempted to define a profession.
According to Abraham Flexner, A profession is;
- A body of specialized knowledge and recognized educational process of acquiring it.
- A standard of qualifications governing admission to the profession.
- A standard of conduct governing the relationship of the practitioners with clients, colleagues and the public.
- An acceptance of the social responsibility inherent in an occupation and the public interest.
- An association or society devoted to the advancement of the social obligations as distinct from the economic interests of the group.
According to Lewis Allen, “a professional manager is one who specializes in the work of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of others and does so through a systematic use of classified knowledge, a common vocabulary and principles, who subscribes to the standards of practice and code of ethics established by a recognized body”.
According to Peter Drucker, “Professional management is a function, a discipline, a task to be done; and managers are the professionals who practice this discipline, carry out the functions and discharge these tasks. It is no longer relevant whether the manager is also an owner; if he is it is incidental to his main function, which is to be a manager.”
The World Council of Management has recommended the following criteria for professionalization. They are;
- Members of a profession subordinate self-interest to the client interest and the official interest.
- A profession is based on a systematic body of knowledge that is held to common and lends to application.
- Membership of a profession should depend on the observance of certain rules of conduct or behavior.
A critical evaluation of the above definitions show that professionalization of management shows that;
- There exists a systematic body of knowledge on management. A professional should have formally acquired the specialized knowledge and skill for management. Management is taught as a discipline in various educational institutes, throughout the world.
- Membership of a profession should depend on the observance of certain rules of conduct and behavior. The decisions and actions of a professional are guided by certain ethical considerations.
- A profession is based on a systematic body of knowledge that is held in common and lends itself to application. Thus, a profession should have no ideological bias in the discharge of his functions.
A close scrutiny of management shows that management unlike law or medicine is not a full-fledged profession. The reasons are;
- It is not obligatory to possess specific qualifications for being appointed as a manager.
- There is no single association to regulate the educational and training standards of managers.
- Uniform professional standards have not been set up for the practicing managers.
Thus, from the above mentioned discussion we can understand that management fulfils certain criteria to call it a profession. Whereas, it fails to meet certain other criteria. Therefore, we can conclude that management is not a full-fledged profession but it is advancing towards professionalization.
- Is Business Management a Profession? (Harvard Business School)