Contingency Models

In the early half of the twentieth century there were numerous attempts to define absolute rules for organizations and for management: principles of organization were put forward that were expected to hold true in all circumstances; there were also ideas of styles of management that were supposedly correct for all situations.
From the 1960’s onwards, however, as the pace of change increased and as more serious study was carried out on organizations and management, it appeared to be the case that the best organizational structure and the best style of management depended on particular contingencies in the specific situation, and that it was not possible to give absolute answers.

Many of the models we use reflect the need to consider contingencies. For example, Tannenbaum and Schmidt described a spectrum of different styles of leadership are described. Which is the best one? According to Tannenbaum and Schmidt, it depends on the circumstances, and in particular on

the maturity, skill, interest and motivation of the team members
the nature of the problem, the degree of time pressure, the type of organization
the manager’s own skills and beliefs