Strategic Contingency

It begins with contingency theory but adds an intermediate strategic process to give a different explanation for the structural features of organizations (Scott p. 112). While they state that organzations adapt to the particular challenges of their environments, strategic contingency theorists also emphasize that managers have some choice. Decisions are "constrained but not determined" by technical and environmental conditions.

These theorists also focus on the importance of power and coalition interests in affecting these structural choices. The primary source of power results from environmental uncertainty, and those who can more successfully deal with (and whom others end up depending upon) gain the most influence (e.g, mechanics and machine breakdowns). Thus, those who "control more strategic contingencies garner more power within the organization" (Scott p. 112).

Pfeffer states that "organization structures are the outcomes of political contests within organizations" (Pfeffer 1978). The winners gain more power which helps them in future contests.