Last Updated 10 Jan 2022

Contingency Approach to Management

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Contingency approach to management is a modern approach that has attempted to integrate findings of other perspectives. Contingency refers to the immediate (contingent or touching) circum­stances.

This approach was developed during 1960s and 1970s and based on the idea that it is impossible to select one way of managing all situations, and for this reason managers have to identify the conditions of a task, managerial job and persons as parts of a complete management situation and attempt to integrate them all into a solution which is most appropriate for a specific circumstance.

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The main contributors are Fred Fiedler (1967), Jay Lorsch, Paul Lawrence, Joan Woodward, etc (The Contingency Approach to Management, 2006). According to contingency approach, the manager has to try systematically to identify which technique or approach will, in a particular circumstance or context, best contribute to the attainment of the desired goals.

The distinctive feature of this approach is that it seeks to apply to real life situations ideas taken from different schools of management thought. The problem is that there is no a universal approach to management, and for this reason different problems require different approaches. Also, the contingency approach stresses the need for managers to examine the relationship between the internal and external envi­ronment of an organization.

“Contingency analysis indicates, for example, that a set of complex tasks are necessary to bring about significant educational improvements, planners can sequence the tasks in ways that allow managers to focus on less complex problems before tackling more difficult ones” (Amey, 1986). Organizational requirements, culture and structure are constantly changing and needed continual efforts to maintain effective work­ing relationships.

The con­tingency approach examines each situation to find out its unique attributes before management makes a decision.This approach can be described as task-oriented, because decisions are made in each individual situation. In spite of evident benefits and advantages, this approach is criticized because most of the decisions are intuitive and lack theoretical foun­dation (Amey, 1986).


Amey, L.R. (1986). A Conceptual Approach to Management. Durham, NC: Praeger Publishers.

The Contingency Approach to Management. (2006) Retrieved from

Contingency Approach to Management essay

Related Questions

on Contingency Approach to Management

What are the disadvantages of contingency approach?

Disadvantages of Contingency Approach to ManagementContingency approach has a complex approach. The suggestion of the approach is very simple but when it comes to practical it becomes more complex.Contingency approach is basically reactive in nature. Sometimes the handling the situations become hard for the manager.Contingency approach suffers from inadequately of literature.

What are examples of a contingency approach?

An example of the contingency approach is in business management when a manager deals with challenges as they arise by assigning tasks to employees with relevant skills. The contingency approach also applies to a manager's personality, such as coach-and-mentor, which affects his leadership style and ability to motivate employees.

What is contingency viewpoint of Management?

The contingency viewpoint or approach is a behavioral model of leadership emphasizing the differences between every problem or challenge a business owner faces over a given period of time. A business owner or manager using the contingency approach to problem solving examines a wide variety...

What are the four popular variables in contingency approach?

These include the following:The size of the organizationHow the firm adapts itself to its environmentDifferences among resources and operations activitiesAssumption of managers about employeesStrategiesTechnologies being used

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Contingency Approach to Management. (2016, Jun 25). Retrieved from

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