Scientific Management Theory At the turn of the century, the most notable organizations were large and industrialized. Often they included ongoing, routine tasks that manufactured a variety of products. The United States highly prized scientific and technical matters, including careful measurement and specification of activities and results. Management tended to be the same.
Nmedia 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?
Thus, the right thing to do depends on a complex variety of critical environmental and internal contingencies.
However, the classicists came under fire in the s and s from management thinkers who believed that their approach was inflexible and did not consider environmental contingencies.
Although the criticisms were largely invalid both Fayol and Taylor, for example, recognized that situational factors were relevantthey spawned what has come to be called the contingency school of management. Research conducted in the s and s focused on situational factors that affected the appropriate structure of organizations and the appropriate leadership styles for different situations.
Although the contingency perspective purports to apply to all aspects of management, and not just organizing and leading, there has been little development of contingency approaches outside organization theory and leadership theory.
The following sections provide brief overviews of the contingency perspective as relevant to organization theory and leadership.
According to the contingency perspective, stable environments suggest mechanistic structures that emphasize centralization, formalization, standardization, and specialization to achieve efficiency and consistency.
Certainty and predictability permit the use of policies, rules, and procedures to guide decision making for routine tasks and problems. Unstable environments suggest organic structures which emphasize decentralization to achieve flexibility and adaptability.
Uncertainty and unpredictability require general problem solving methods for nonroutine tasks and problems. Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch suggest that organizational units operating in differing environments develop different internal unit characteristics, and that the greater the internal differences, the greater the need for coordination between units.
Joan Woodward found that financially successful manufacturing organizations with different types of work technologies such as unit or small batch; large-batch or mass-production; or continuous-process differed in the number of management levels, span of management, and the degree of worker specialization.
She linked differences in organization to firm performance and suggested that certain organizational forms were appropriate for certain types of work technologies.
Organizational size is another contingency variable thought to impact the effectiveness of different organizational forms. Small organizations can behave informally while larger organizations tend to become more formalized. The owner of a small organization may directly control most things, but large organizations require more complex and indirect control mechanisms.Pituitary adenomas: historical perspective, surgical management and future directions Debebe Theodros, 1 Mira Patel, 1 Jacob Ruzevick, 1 Michael Lim, 1 and Chetan Bettegowda *, 1 1 The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA.
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