Crisis Management and Contingency Theory

Subject: Management Theories
Pages: 2
Words: 657
Reading time:
3 min

Contingency theory states that the leader’s working situation determines the best style of leadership. A leader can be effective in one circumstance but ineffective in another. The theory requires that the effectiveness of a leader is contingent in any case their way of management suits a certain situation. Therefore, to maximize the possibility of being an effective manager, the theory postulates that the heads of an organization should examine each situation to decide whether their way of leading the organization will be effective or not. Many domestic and external constraints distort what is regarded as the choicest way to manage an organization in a certain situation. The most effective course of action is determined by the current situation.

A crisis is an unexpected and sudden event that leads to significant unrest on individuals in an organization. Crisis management refers to the art of handling unforeseen and sudden circumstances that disturb the firm, employees, and clients. The accomplishment of an organization is mostly determined by the management qualities of the managers. An effective leader is one who has the capacity to manage the organization and manage continuing changes through a potential crisis (Zamoum & Gorpe, 2018). Great skills and abilities to handle problems are required for the implementation of crisis leadership. The manager should communicate the company’s vision and know the fears but reassure people during uncertain situations. Stakeholders require frequent updates as they need to be aware of what is happening in an organization and establish trust (Kuzmanova, 2016).

There is a direct correlation between departments’ heads effectiveness and their attributes. Some attributes help in a specific crisis, and therefore the governance is required to change with the new circumstances (Fiedler, 2018). Governing people through a crisis in an organization can be regarded as contingency leadership. The best way for someone to exercise contingency leadership is to find research-based evidence. The evidence should be about how to handle that particular situation. As a result of calamities’ chaotic nature, crisis management is full of uncertainty. In such cases, an organization has to consider both internal conditions and environmental situations. When the organization is experiencing a crisis, contingency theory can give clear guidance on how to handle the crisis (Suharyanto & Lestari, 2020). With the ability to consider contingent factors, the organization may perform efficiently and effectively controlling the calamity.

Three variables should be considered in contingency theory. They include how good the leader is accepted by the workers, detailed employees’ job descriptions, and the leader’s authority in the organization. The heads of an organization can have more influence if their relationship with employees is intact. The theory also states that in firms where roles are described in detail, the leader possesses more influence than in the firms where roles are not well structured (Bratton, 2020). Several external and internal factors are considered to influence the best structuring. These factors include the technology used, size of the corporation, the way a corporation can adapt to changes, and the leadership style (Bratton, 2020). Fred Fiedler introduced the Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) (Fiedler, 2018). It is used to measure if the heads of the firms are relationship-oriented or task-oriented. The rating is based on either the past or current position. Spending time every day to know the subordinates strengthens one’s place in leadership roles since it enhances employees’ influence.

Contingency theory states that the heads’ working situation determines the best style of leadership and that the leader can be effective in one circumstance but ineffective in another. The theory is significantly effective when used in crisis management. Leaders in an organization are required to possess some qualities in accordance with the theory in the case of a calamity. These qualities include to being decisive, being able to transform and think strategically, displaying optimism, and providing stable performance. Crisis management is very common in almost every organization, and contingency theory stipulates the most effective guidelines for organization managers to handle the disaster.


Bratton, J. (2020). Trait, behavior and contingency theories of leadership: Organizational leadership. Sage.

Fiedler, F. (2018). Contingency model. Elsevier.

Kuzmanova, M. (2016). Contemporary problems related to crisis management of organizations. Trakia Journal of Sciences, 14(3), 257. Web.

Suharyanto, A., & Lestari, R. D. (2020). The fall and rise of the contingency theory of leadership. In Iapa Proceedings Conference. Indonesian Association of Public Administration. Web.

Zamoum, K., & Gorpe, T. S. (2018). Crisis management: A historical and conceptual approach for a better understanding of today’s crises. Crisis Management-Theory and Practice. 33(7). Web.