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Structural Contingency Theory: A Multivariate Test

by J.M. Pennings
Organization Studies ()

Abstract

This paper reconsiders structural contingency theory. It presents a discussion of the methodological underpinnings which surround the research activities of this theory. Two research strategies are reviewed. They entail a multivariate examination of the structure-environment-effectiveness relationship. One of these strategies examines deviations from ideal structural profiles, while the second one involves a canonical correlation analysis between structural and environmental attributes for low and high effectiveness units. The results from field research in a commercial bank are used to illustrate the two analysis strategies. They indicate that effective organizational units show strong structure-environment interrelationships and lead one to conclude that there are indeed effectiveness-induced constraints on the choice of an organization's design or its environment. The methodological and conceptual implications of the findings are then discussed.

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