By nature is meant qualities and characteristics of anything. Principles are general propositions, which are applicable when certain conditions are present. These have been developed on the basis of observation and experimentation as well as the personal experiences of the managers.
These principles are guidelines for action. They denote a cause and effect relationship. While functions of management viz., Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling are the actions to be taken while practicing management, Principles help managers to take decisions while performing these functions. The following points summaries the nature of the principles of management.
- Universal applicability:
The principles of management are intended to apply to all types of organizations, business as well as non-business, small as well large, public sector as well as the private sector, manufacturing as well as the services sectors. Universality refers to that reality which is similarly appropriate in all spheres. For example, for greater productivity, work should be divided into small tasks and each employee should be trained to perform his/her specialized job. All business and non-business organizations in order to accomplish their objectives have to apply more or less similar principles.
- General guidelines:
The principles are guidelines to action but do not provide readymade, straitjacket solutions to all managerial problems. For example, in dealing with a situation of conflict between two departments, a manager may emphasize the primacy of the overall goals of the organization. The principles of management are of the nature of general guidelines, and they cannot be applied exactingly.
- Formed by practice and experimentation:
The principles of management are formed by experience and collective wisdom of managers as well as experimentation. First of all, problems appeared and then through careful research work solutions were found. For example, it is a matter of common experience that discipline is indispensable for accomplishing any purpose. Similarly, researchers accept the experimental study to find out the principles of management.
The principles of management are not rigid prescriptions, which have to be followed absolutely. As and when political, economic and social changes take place, new kinds of problems arise. They are flexible and can be modified by the manager when the situation so demands. For example, the degree of concentration of authority or its dispersal will depend upon the situations and circumstances of each enterprise.
- Mainly behavioral:
Management principles aim at influencing the behavior of human beings. Therefore, the principles of management are mainly behavioral in nature. It is not that these principles do not pertain to things and phenomena at all, it is just a matter of emphasis. The management action is mostly apprehensive with the management of man, who is a social being having his own character, requirements, and expectations which cannot be repressed or eliminated. For example, while planning the layout of a factory, orderliness would require that workflows are matched by the flow of materials and movement of men.
The principles of management are not preset or permanent. They are pretentious by situations or conditions. Therefore, the assessment of executing them or not is taken according to the situations or circumstances.