What Are the Implications of the Contingency Theory for Managers?
Contingency theory rejects the idea that there is one way to manage a company. It suggests managers must evaluate each situation and make decisions unique to those situations. This approach requires managers to stay alert and avoid relying on rules, policies and tradition as their only guides for their choices. Dynamic managers who understand and use contingency theory operate in a state of alertness and vigilance that can demand all their faculties.
Fitting Solutions to Specific Situations
Managers using contingency theory respond to the causes of individual problems, rather than to the problem itself. Such a manager seeks to understand all of the influences that lead to the difficulty. For example, decreasing production might seem at first glance to be the result of negligent employees. A deeper look could reveal that poor lighting and insufficient cooling are causing sleepiness among employees. Had the manager simply relied on motivational theories as an automatic response to productivity problems, he might have missed the true cause of the drop in production.
Viewing the Organization as a Whole
Contingency theory encourages managers to think about the consequences of a decision as it relates to the whole company. A manager's actions must reflect the culture, commitment to employee safety and well-being, profit orientation, branding positioning and customer service attitudes of the entire organization. At the same time, the manager must respond to the problem at hand, according to the immediate causes of the issue. This double focus on the overall organization and the specifics of a problem requires a manager to see the big and small pictures at the same time.
Related Reading: Contingency Approach Use in Business
Integrating a Variety of Inputs
Managers operating under the principles of contingency theory have to do more than just identify the one or two influences on an issue. They...