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Using Contingency Management Theory

Lesley Graybeal

Learn how to implement contingency management theory in your workplace

Contingency management theory is one of many contemporary management theories that have come into widespread use since the 1970s. The basis for it is Fiedler's contingency theory, which combines ideas about uncertainty in the environment and external factors influencing work with context-specific features of leadership and decision-making.

One important feature to keep in mind when using contingency management theory is the idea that all activities and actions are based within a certain context. Contingency management theory helps businesses take into account the contexts of their work in order to understand their company environments and increase effectiveness.

Learn how to best implement contingency theory in your organization using the following steps:

  1. Investigate Vroom's contingency theory models and software for discovering leadership type;
  2. Use Fiedler's LPC scale to assess leadership behaviors using contingency theory;
  3. Implement contingency theory through project and contingency planning models.

Use Vroom's contingency theory software to understand leadership and decision-making

Vroom's contingency theory of leadership is easy to use in the workplace because Victor Vroom developed a number of user-friendly decision-making models available for use as contingency software programs. Vroom's contingency theories will help you use leadership decisions to map out leadership styles based on responses to contingency situations.
Vroom-Yetton-Jago Normative Decision Model, which uses contingency theories to map out leadership type based on how leaders make decisions.

Use Fiedlers' contingency theory instruments to assess leadership qualities

Fred Fiedler developed several instruments for using the contingency theory of management with leaders. The most famous instrument is the LPC scale, or Least Preferred Co-Worker scale, which asks leaders to think of their least preferred co-worker and respond to questions about his/her characteristics. Responses are used to assess leadership qualities.
University of St. Francis or Changing Minds. Access an online version of the actual LPC scale for use in your business or organization at Wiley.

Implement contingency theory for effective planning

Contingency theory in management is widely used to create a more effective planning process that accounts for and adapts to a wide range of external factors. While you can't eliminate surprises or uncertainty from the environment, learning to plan for contingency situations is useful for any organization or individual.
  • Educate or debrief all of your employees about the basic principles of contingency theory before using contingency management theory in the office. While many of the tools for using a contingency model seem straightforward, you will have much better results implementing a new way of thinking about planning and decision-making if everyone is on board and understands the basics.
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Lesley Graybeal