Definition of contingency(noun) by the Oxford Dictionary
noun (plural contingencies)
* a future event or circumstance which is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty * examples: a detailed contract which attempts to provide for all possible contingencies * a provision for a possible event or circumstance: stores were kept as a contingency against a blockade * an incidental expense: allow an extra fifteen per cent on the budget for contingencies * [mass noun] the absence of certainty in events: the island’s public affairs can occasionally be seen to be invaded by contingency * [mass noun] Philosophy the absence of necessity; the fact of being so without having to be so. Origin:
mid 16th century (in the philosophical sense): from late Latin contingentia (in its medieval Latin sense 'circumstance'), from contingere 'befall'. When something is contingent it is subject to chance.
The contingency, or situational, approach to management theory and practice emerged in the early 1960s from organizational research conducted in the United States and England. With the arrival of the sixties came the expansion of markets based not on the introduction of new products but rather on the differentiation of existing products. Consumers were demanding more variety in the products they purchased. With consumer demand becoming more diversified, so did the types of organizations that were being founded. In addition, the work force was becoming less blue-collar and more white-collar. Many more workers were being employed in activities that did not directly involve the production of a good, but rather the production of a service.
Contingency theory attempts to provide a perspective on organizations and management based on the integration of prior theories. Contingency theory starts with the theme of "it depends," arguing that the solution to any one managerial problem is contingent on the factors that are impinging on the situation. For...