Contemporary Theories in Management
Basically, contingency theory asserts that when managers make a decision, they must take into account all aspects of the current situation and act on those aspects that are key to the situation at hand. Basically, it’s the approach that “it depends.” For example, the continuing effort to identify the best leadership or management style might now conclude that the best style depends on the situation. If one is leading troops in the Persian Gulf, an autocratic style is probably best (of course, many might argue here, too). If one is leading a hospital or university, a more participation and facilitation leadership style is probably best.
Systems theory has had a significant effect on management science and understanding organizations. First, let’s look at “what is a system?” A system is a collection of part unified to accomplish an overall goal. If one part of the system is removed, the nature of the system is changed as well. For example, a pile of sand is not a system. If one removes a sand particle, you’ve still got a pile of sand. However, a functioning car is a system. Remove the carburetor and you’ve no longer got a working car. A system can be looked at as having inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes. Systems share feedback among each of these four aspects of the systems.
- The effect of systems theory in management is that writers, educators, consultants, etc. are helping managers to look at the organization from a broader perspective. Systems theory has brought a new perspective for managers to interpret patterns and events in the workplace. They recognize the various parts of the organization, and, in particular, the interrelations of the parts, e.g., the coordination of central administration with its programs, engineering with manufacturing, supervisors with workers, etc. This is a major development. In the past, managers typically took one part and focused on that. Then they moved all attention to another part. The problem was that an organization could, e.g., have a wonderful central administration and wonderful set of teachers, but the departments didn’t synchronize at all.
A system is a set of interrelated elements that collectively work together to achieve some common purpose or goal. A football game, for instance, is played according to a system that is composed of such elements as team members, stadiums, equipment, referees, and rules.
Types of System
- Natural System e.g. circulatory system, Nervous System
- Artificial System e.g. Educational System, Business System, Information System.