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Contingency Approach to Management

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Essay title: Contingency Approach to Management



The contingency approach to management is based on the idea that there is no one best way to manage and that to be effective, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling must be tailored to the particular circumstances faced by an organization. Managers have always asked questions such as "What is the right thing to do? Should we have a mechanistic or an organic structure? A functional or divisional structure? Wide or narrow spans of management? Tall or flat organizational structures? Simple or complex control and coordination mechanisms? Should we be centralized or decentralized? Should we use task or people oriented leadership styles? What motivational approaches and incentive programs should we use?" The contingency approach to management (also called the situational approach) assumes that there is no universal answer to such questions because organizations, people, and situations vary and change over time. Thus, the right thing to do depends on a complex variety of critical environmental and internal contingencies.

The contingency approach believes that it is impossible to select one way of managing that works best in all situations like promoted by Taylor. Their approach is to identify the conditions of a task (scientific management school), managerial job (administrative management school) and person (human relations school) as parts of a complete management situation and attempt to integrate them all into a solution which is most appropriate for a specific circumstance. Contingency refers to the immediate (contingent or touching) circumstances.

The manager has to systematically try to identify which technique or approach will be the best solution for a problem which exists in a particular circumstance or context.

An example of this is the never ending problem of increasing productivity. The different experts would offer the following solutions:

• Behavioral scientist: create a climate which is psychologically motivating;

• Classical management approach: create a new incentive scheme;

• Contingency approach: both ideas are viable and it depends on the possible fit of each solution with the goals, structure and resources of the organization. .

The contingency approach may consider, for policy reasons, that an incentive scheme was not relevant. The complexity of each situation should

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