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 personal experiences of the managers.
These principles are guidelines to 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 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 private sector, manufacturing as well as the services sectors. For example, for greater productivity, work should be divided into small tasks and each employee should be trained to perform his/her specialized job.
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.
Formed by practice and experimentation: The principles of management are formed by experience and collective wisdom of managers as well as experimentation. For example, it is a matter of common experience that discipline is indispensable for accomplishing any purpose.
Flexibile: The principles of management are not rigid prescriptions, which have to be followed absolutely. 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 behavior of human beings. Therefore, principles of management are mainly behavioral in nature. It is not that these principles do not pertain to things and phenomenon at all, it is just a matter of emphasis. For example, while planning the layout of a factory, orderliness would require that workflows are matched by flow of materials and movement of men.