Contingency Theory

Topics: Health care, Patient, Organizational studies and human resource management, Health care provider / Pages: 48 (11972 words) / Published: Aug 21st, 2013
5. Theoretical Contingency Framework

5 Theoretical Contingency Framework
Having clarified the EPs’ development in the previous chapter, this chapter presents the theoretical framework that was developed to guide the data collection, analysis, and performance evaluation presented in the subsequent chapters. We first introduce structural contingency theory and its underlying assumptions. Specific attention will be given to the “patterned systems” approach (Van de Ven and Ferry 1980) which will be used to conceptualize the central aspect of “fit”. We will discuss certain shortcomings of the chosen approach and introduce the concept of social network analysis which will be employed within the contingency framework in order to sharpen the analysis. Second, we will apply the theory to the evaluation objectives of this study and define and link it to the variables.

5.1

Structural contingency theory

We will use structural contingency theory to answer the question of which possible effects EPs can have on an ECU’s organizational performance. Structural contingency theory’s roots date back to the late 1960s. Early theorists criticized predominant theories at that time, like Weber’s bureaucratic approach (Weber 1947), because they neglected the organizations’ particular situations to explain ideal organizational structure (Kieser 1993). Lawrence and Lorsch (1967), building on Thompson’s (1967) and Woodward’s (1965) work, found evidence for the significance of environmental certainty. Burns and Stalker (1961) put forward the statement that organic organizational structures are more successful in dynamic environments whereas mechanic structures are to be used in a stable environments
12

.The key element of

structural contingency theory is that organizational performance results from a fit between characteristics of structural organization and environmental aspects (i.e. contingency factors) (Donaldson 2001). There is no "one best way" for organizational

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