Half a century after emerging as a leading theory in the then nascent field of organization theory, structural contingency theory seems to have disappeared from the scholarly stage. Have theoretical and methodological deficiencies predestined the theory to oblivion? Was it the lack of empirical support or practical application? Was the theory doomed by its failure to adapt to new conditions or was it rendered obsolete by the emergence of new theories with superior explanatory power? Or was the decline the result of the dispersion of its research community and the rise of strategy at the expense of organization theory? These questions and more are addressed in this paper as part of a ‘theoretical autopsy’ seeking explanations for the theory’s decline or demise. Repercussions for current and emerging organization and management theories are delineated.
- Structural Contingency Theory
- theoretical autopsy
- theory’s death
- theory’s decline