What is 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.

Purpose of MLA

Purpose of MLA

Drucker believed the practice of management must aim to create and maintain healthy organizations in which individuals find meaningful existence and purpose while engaging in responsible citizenship, and contributing to the common good and the betterment of society.

Drucker believed that it is possible to serve the customer, earn profits, create wealth for shareholders, and also be a moral community for the development of human character and social concern.

He explained that profit should not be the objective of business but the end result. The profit motive should not be a guide to behavior; rather it is the result of good behavior. As such, Drucker argued that what ought to drive performance and results is the development of personal strengths which leads to social benefit.

Drucker explained that leadership is ultimately moral and includes developing people. If people develop and grow, they will also make greater contributions to the organization and society.

It follows that “leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” - Drucker

Executives can effectively lead organizations to be profitable, while also nurturing a moral community for the development of meaning, character, and social concern. 

Importance of MLA

Importance of MLA

Management is inherently an activity involving human beings – therefore, values and character development which are the province of the liberal arts, are of value to executives, managers, and practitioners in general.

As a result, CiAM MBA courses, training workshops, and research emphasize the importance of developing oneself, acquiring knowledge, and managing people, their values, their growth and development.

At CiAM we have developed MLA curricula which emphasizes the importance of practicing management as a liberal art. We seek to integrate ethics, leadership, and an appreciation for human development and empowerment into our courses. We believe that it is important to teach our students and community partners that doing the right thing is crucial for long-term organizational success. And in turn, responsible-accountable-empowering organizations are able to contribute to the advancement of society as a whole.