What is MLA?

WHAT IS MANAGEMENT AS A LIBERAL ART?

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.

History of MLA

History of MLA

Peter F. Drucker has been described as ‘the founder of modern management’ and ‘the man who invented management’. Drucker’s writings have contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the study of management. Organizations without good management eventually fall prey to disorganization and entropy. For society to thrive, therefore, its organizations must be well managed, and this is the task of management.

Management, Drucker argued, is a liberal art, and as such is a human activity. All the disciplines appropriate to the study of the human being are thus appropriate to a greater or lesser degree to the study of management.

In his The New Realities, Drucker wrote:

“Management deals with people, their values, their growth and development, and this makes it a humanity. Management is thus what the tradition used to call a liberal art: liberal because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; 'art’ because it is practice and application. Managers draw on all the knowledges and insights of the humanities and the social sciences—on psychology and philosophy, on economics and history, on ethics—as well as on the physical sciences. But they have to focus this knowledge on effectiveness and results—on healing a sick patient, teaching a student, building a bridge, designing and selling a “user-friendly” software program.”

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. As a result, 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.

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.