Contingency Approach

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The Contingency Approach: Y. Y^ -a . . ' ^ 1 i^-^ .g ^ , The Contingency Its l^oundations and Relevance A poc p r ah to Theory Building and Research in Marketing by Valarie A. Zeithaml Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, P. "Rajan" Varadarajan Texas A&M University, and Carl P. Zeithaml University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Introduction During the 1960s, management theory and research began to adopt a new orientation, one that embodied a remarkably simple concept and enabled significant advancements in the study of management and organisations. This orientation, now referred to as the contingency approach, emphasises the importance of situational influences on the management of organisations and…show more content…
These foundation concepts are described briefly in the next section, and are followed by a discussion of current perspectives on the contingency approach. Theoretical Foundations The open systems perspective views the complex organisation as a set of interdependent parts that, together, constitute a whole which, in tum, is interdependent with some larger environment. The interactive nature of the elements within the organisation — and between the oi:ganisation and the environment — result in at least two open system characteristics that are central to the contingency approach: adaptation and equifinality. First, the principle of adaptation asserts that the elements within the system adapt to one another to preserve the basic character of the system. Second, the principle of equifinality holds that a system can reach the same final state from differing initial conditions The and by a variety of paths. Contingency The Simon-March-Cyert stream of work adds to the open systems perspective Approach the view that organisations are problem-facing and problem-solving entities. The organisation develops processes for searching, learning and deciding — processes that attempt to achieve a satisfactory level of performance under norms of bounded rationality. Organisational decision-makers undertake rational decision processes ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ designed to cope with the complexity and uncertainty of their situations, all of which
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