What is Management as a Liberal Art (MLA)?
Management as a liberal art is a philosophy which argues that successful and durable organizations support self-development and moral growth in their people. An organization is the means through which an individual, as a member of the community, finds both contribution and achievement.
The philosophy of ‘management as a liberal art’ (MLA) suggests that managers must seek knowledge and nurture an organizational environment where its members find meaning and opportunities to learn and contribute. Through the collective contribution of its members, the organization is able to achieve its mission and objectives. The organization’s growth and development allow it to make a positive contribution to the community and society.
Who developed this philosophy?
In his book, The New Realities, Peter F. Drucker discursively introduced the philosophy of management as a liberal art. Drucker argued that management deals with people, their values, their growth and development, and that management comprises the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership. Drucker also posited that management involves practice and application.
The philosophy of management as a liberal art was further advanced by Dr. Joseph A. Maciariello, Emeritus Professor at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management. After working with Peter Drucker for several years, Dr. Maciariello along with his co-author Dr. Karen Linkletter, published a book, Drucker’s Lost Art of Management, where management as a liberal art is further explored.
What does MLA explore?
Management as a liberal art examines the connections between ethics, leadership, character development, human dignity, human empowerment, human performance, the role and responsibilities of managers in society, and the social role of organizations.
Who practices MLA?
Organizations across different industries and sectors practice management as a liberal art. Since management as a liberal art embodies values such as ethics, human development, dignity, empowerment, and social responsibility, we can surmise that there are organizations in society which currently employ this philosophy.
Management as a liberal art can be used by any organization, in any industry, in any sector of society. This philosophy is not solely used by for-profit organizations, but rather any organization is able to practice MLA.
Why practice MLA?
Drucker believed that successful and durable institutions support self-development and moral growth in their members. Moreover, he affirmed that an organization is the means through which an individual, as a member of the community, finds both contribution and achievement.
The philosophy of ‘management as a liberal art’ (MLA) suggests that managers must seek knowledge and nurture an organizational environment where its members find meaning and opportunities to learn and contribute.
MLA argues that it is possible for organizations to be ethical, socially responsible, and profitable. Moreover, organizations which genuinely care about the well-being of their people and the community, are likely to be recognized and appreciated by their customers, employees, and society in general.
It is possible to serve the customer, earn profits, and also be an ethical, socially-conscious organization that contributes to the betterment of society.