Paper Example on Contingency Theory: Criticisms and Challenges

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  811 Words
Date:  2023-01-03


In spite of all the offers provided by the contingency theory to the management of the organization, it is still criticized. These critics declare that: (1) The concept of universality of principles is not observed which is often applied to specific management situations. (2) These critics claim that there is no particular solution to a problem; thus managers perceive alternatives to identify the right choice. (Donaldson, 2001)However, it is not possible to conclude a perfect relationship between the factors outlined. This theory may be complicated during decision making which is faced with limitations. The critics are just theoretical but if the approach would be applied in a rational way it contributes towards the development of the management.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

It provides a framework integrates different school of thought and applies them contingent upon the needs of the situation. This essay will demonstrate how contingency theory incorporates the classical and human relations approach. This essay will first discuss three critical features of contingency theory namely, specialization, centralization and formalization. (Otley, 1980)


This involves an organization with various types of work within one large company where different management levels are also incorporated. For effectiveness in the organization, size is a crucial factor to be considered. (Donaldson, 2001)


For small organizations, there might be some operations while for large organizations more formalized protocols are to observed. For a smaller organization, the owner may directly have the control of the business while for a large organization more specialized staffs are needed thus a divisional structure may not be appropriate for a small organization while for a large organization it may be of necessity.


This may involve a centralized structure of decision making in an organization. In the case of a small organization, the owner is centrally positioned regarding the organization operations while for a large organization the managerial body has to agree upon the central unit of their services. For regions where there might be possibilities to have an unstable environment the organizations suggest operating under decentralized situations thus be flexible enough as well as adaptability. (Donaldson, 2001)This essay will examine the effects regarding contingency theory to both ways of approach; classical and human relations. Also, test and analyze how these features do incorporate with classical and rational relations approach will be illustrated. The results will be validated of organizational management practices.

Body Paragraph 1

Specialization According to contingency theory, to be effective, the management strategy should fit its contingent features (Donaldson & Joffe, 2014). Effective management depends upon contingency features includes the degree of specialization of roles in an organization, centralization of decision making (Donaldson, 2015) and formalization. (South West Airline)

Body Paragraph 2

Centralization Early endeavours of testing existing management structures produced Classical management.

1) one of the critical concept developed by scientific management is a division of labor or job specialization. In other words, hire the best-qualified worker for a job. For example Marks and Spencer....

2) The essentiality of bureaucracy is the hierarchical arrangement of authority (Ferdous, 2016), which can be reflected in the centralized, top-down structure. Support by the data from research of Bolin & Harenstam.

Body Paragraph 3

Formalization Human relations approach emphasis on individuals and their social relationships, formalization is the way to bring about optimal organizational output. Google is an example of modern human relation practice; they adopt open office to communicate better with collaboration and enables the employee to feel less stressful in the workplace. (Bolin & Harenstam, 2008)

It does this by assigning group leaders who monitor and join in with employees, thus, building positive relationships between manager and employees and therefore increase efficiency (Ortner, 2015).


In conclusion, the classical and human relation approach incorporate contingency theory in the features of specialization, centralization and formalization. With the help of this theory, managers are needed to be alert and stay away from relying on rules, policies and tradition as their guides regarding the choices they make. For improved productivity as well as the workers' morale, the managers have to be keen on the interpretation of the contingency theory by analyzing the significance and its positive effects from the organization.


Bolin, M., & Harenstam, A. (2008). An Empirical Study of Bureaucratic and Post-Bureaucratic Characteristics in 90 Workplaces. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 29(4), 541-564.

Ferdous, J. (2016). Organization theories: from a classical perspective. International Journal of business, economics, and law, 9(2), 1-6.

Robbins, S., Bergman, R., Stagg, I., & Coulter, M. (2014). Management (7th). Melbourne, Australia: Pearson.

Donaldson, L. (2001). The contingency theory of organizations. Sage.

Drazin, R., & Van de Ven, A. H. (1985). Alternative forms of fit in contingency theory. Administrative science quarterly, 514-539.

Otley, D. T. (1980). The contingency theory of management accounting: achievement and prognosis. In Readings in accounting for management control (pp. 83-106). Springer, Boston, MA.

Hambrick, D. C. (1983). High-profit strategies in mature capital goods industries: A contingency approach. Academy of Management Journal, 26(4), 687-707.

Higgins, S. T., Silverman, K., & Heil, S. H. (Eds.). (2007). Contingency management in substance abuse treatment. Guilford Press.

Cite this page

Paper Example on Contingency Theory: Criticisms and Challenges. (2023, Jan 03). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism