Classical And Contingency Theory In Organizational Design

Decent Essays
Organizational design is defined as a guided process that integrates people, information and technology of an organization (Carpenter et al., 2014). In an era where organizations are constantly competing to be the best, decisions on organizational design are vital to achieve overall performance. This is evident from the studies by Child (2005) which suggest that the strength of organizational structure increases efficiency. This essay will explore the classical and contingency theories and critically evaluate the contributions and limitations of these theories with the emergence of contemporary practices in organizational design.

Classical theories emerged during the industrial age when factory owners found it challenging to motivate
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This suggests that organizations continue to exist even when a top manager leaves. Furthermore, the bureaucratic form of organization would have a negative impact on informal organizations like publishing firms, where strict rules and regulations would be associated with restrictions on freedom of speech. Thus, this classical approach assumes the universal nature of management of an organization (Berdayes, 2002).

The work of Fayol (1949) on the principles of management suggests that to have an effective organization, the process of work done is important. He considered groups of people more significant than the individual. Consequently, this contradicts Weber’s bureaucracy model. The approach has shaped the administrative theory of management with writings of fundamental principles of organizational structuring (Certo S, 2006). However, on applying these principles, issues related to employee involvement and globalization affect the organizational structure. This is evident from studies by Burns (1961) which suggest that unless organizations absorb the changes and complexities affecting it, they will continue to adopt inefficient organizational designs.

Taylor (1947) proposed the scientific management theory which construed that, in order to increase productive efficiency, tasks must be viewed in a scientific manner where
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