Department of Management


Date of this Version



Academy of Management Journal 1982, Vol. 25, No. 3, 553-566.


© Academy of Management 1982. Used by permission.


This study demonstrates the applicability of a quantitative modeling approach, specifically goal programming, in operationalizing the relationship between environmental variables and specific organizational structural variables for optimal goal attainment. A goal programming model is developed to analyze and determine the optimal relationships for goal attainment.

The contingency approach has emerged in recent years as the dominant theoretical framework for viewing organizational structure and design. Although open systems analysis (Katz & Kahn, 1966) emphasized the input of the external environment into organization structuring, the contingency approach attempts to establish functional relationships between environmental variables and organizational variables. Over the past decade and a half, contingency theorists have demonstrated the apparent interaction between the environment and organization variables. For example, more than 15 years ago the pioneering contingency theorist Joan Woodward (1965) found that the environmental variable of technology seemed to have a relationship with structural variables. Although she dealt with relatively narrow production oriented (unit, mass/batch, and process) technology, Perrow (1970) and others have since suggested that other technological classifications such as knowledge based variables are related to organizational structure variables.