One could argue that management possesses several characteristics of a profession. However, it doesn’t fit neatly into the traditional mould, especially given the diverse nature of managerial roles across sectors and industries. Here’s a breakdown based on various characteristics commonly associated with professions:
1. Body of Knowledge: Professions typically have an established body of knowledge that members must master. Management does have a significant amount of theories, models, and practices, often taught in MBA programs and other business courses.
2. Educational Programs: Professions often have standard educational programs and degrees. Management education, such as MBA programs, has been institutionalized in universities around the world.
3. Code of Ethics: Established professions usually have a code of ethics that members are expected to adhere to. While there are general business and management ethics, they might not be as rigidly codified or universally adopted as those in professions like medicine or law.
4. Professional Associations: Many professions have associations that represent members, provide ongoing education, and ensure standards. Management has several, like the Academy of Management or the Project Management Institute.
5. Certification or Licensing: Professions often require certification or licensing. In management, there are some certifications (e.g., Certified Management Consultant, Project Management Professional), but they aren’t mandatory for all management roles.
6. Public Service Orientation: Many professions emphasize a commitment to the public good. While some managers certainly focus on public service, especially in non-profits or government, others in corporate settings might prioritize organizational profits.
7. Autonomy: Professionals often have the autonomy to make decisions based on their expertise. Managers do have a degree of autonomy, but it often varies based on organizational hierarchy and the nature of the business.
8. Continuous Professional Development: Professions emphasize ongoing learning and development. This is true for management as well, with many managers attending courses, seminars, and conferences regularly.
In conclusion, while management shares many attributes with established professions, whether it’s considered a “full-fledged profession” may depend on one’s criteria for the term. The debate will likely continue as the field of management evolves and possibly adopts more standardized practices and ethical guidelines.