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The subject of whether strategic management is an art or science has been very critical amongst strategic management scholars. This paper discusses whether strategic management is an art or science. It explains when strategic management is an art and when it is science. It further explains the aspects that make strategic management an art and science.
Strategic management is a management tool used by corporate organizations. Corporate organizations have used it to determine goals and objectives, values, mission, vision, roles and obligations within the management system. Strategic management requires a mix of strategies used to ensure most achievable accurate decisions and choices in the management process. Strategic management is a progressive process.
It appraises and ensures controls during business operations. Besides, strategic management lays down strategies to be used in dealing with both existing competitors and the potential ones. Whether strategic management is a science or an art has been a question of major concern to various scholars. Some have argued that strategic management is more of an art than science while others have argued otherwise (Choo 533).
A number of scholars have described strategic management as both science and art. This is because the whole concept of strategic management borrows from both sides of science and art (McCabe 3).
For instance, some scholars have defined strategic management as the science and art of formulating, executing and assessing of critical decisions which are cross functional in nature to assist organizations realize their long-term goals and objectives. This implies that strategic management utilizes both artistic and scientific concepts in the management process. However, it is argued that strategic management is more an art than the science it is believed to be (Mason 5)
The concept of art entails the realistic application of personal knowledge and skills so as to realize concrete outcome. This is what defines strategic management as an art (Swayne et al. 435); the whole management process requires personal skills and knowledge in applying management strategies deemed to have the potential of realizing the goals and objectives of an organization (Karami 12).
Moreover, in designing management strategies, creativity is paramount. Otherwise, strategic management requires a systematic involvement of certain principles that have been formulated and tested through research. These principles are universal and scholars concur that they can be used universally. These principles give strategic management a scientific dimension (Levner et al. 72).
Even though strategic management has been considered to borrow from art, it largely utilizes science through relying on particular theories and principles developed and tested through scientific research. Irrespective of any organization, strategic management is a philosophical task.
Hence, strategic managers still face crucial judgments when in the process of formulating strategies for their organizations (Gilbert et al. 137). The resolution to adopt a certain set of strategies has always been grounded on philosophy based on experience, skills, research and rational reason. This makes strategic management to be oriented more towards science than art. Therefore, strategic management is science in practice.
Strategic management is defined as science and an art of formulating, executing, and assessing of critical decisions which are cross functional in nature to assist organizations realize their long-term goals and objectives. This has created some form of ambiguity in terms of its definition (Kang 30-56).
However, scholars agree that strategic management has universally been grounded on philosophy established through systematic research and rational choice. This is a model only consistent with science and for this reason, strategic management should be considered purely as a science. The fact is that science and art disciplines are intertwined into one another; but, each discipline should be defined as science or art depending on its model of practical application.
The definition of strategic management has been subject to ambiguity given that strategic management scholars have not postulated whether it is an art or science (Kang 30-56). However, they consider it as both science and an art; this is because it borrows from both disciplines.
Nonetheless, since its practical application utilizes a specific model of philosophy grounded on research, strategic management should be defined as a science and not an art (Gilbert et al. 137). It is important to note that both science and art disciplines borrow from one another and there definition should be based their practical applications.
Choo, Chun. The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
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Gilbert, Marius, et al. Strategic Management in the Knowledge Economy: New Approaches and Business Applications. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.
Kang, Young. Understanding the Applicability of Strategic Management in the Public Sector: Does the Goal-setting Process Enhance Productivity Improvement in United States State Governments? US: ProQuest, 2006.
Karami, Azhdar. Strategy Formulation in Entrepreneurial Firms. New York: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
Levner, Eugene, et al. Strategic Management of Marine Ecosystems. New York: Springer, 2005.
Mason, Merilyn. Strategic Management for Today’s Libraries. New York: ALA Editions, 1999.
McCabe, Steven. Corporate Strategy in Construction: Understanding Today’s Theory and Practice. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2010.
Swayne, E. Linda, et al. Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.