The Relationship Between Management Styles and Functional Specialization


This article explores differences in self-reported managerial be-havior across five functional specialties. The functions are analyzed with respect to the need to process uncertainty and equivocality. Systems theory propositions are used to predict aspects of mana-gerial style related to the use of (a) formal rules and authority, (b) information search, and (c) delegation and group decision making. Significant differences across functions were found in the first two areas but not the third. In addition, it was hypothesized and found that differences in interpersonal orientation across functions were related to the content of the job, not to equivocality or uncertainty. The contingency approach to management suggests that organizational structure and managerial behavior should match situational contingencies such as the un-certainty of the environment and the unpredictability inherent in the task being performed. These contingen-cies may operate at two levels: across total organiza-tions and across different subunits within organizations ~4 % eaW ~ ve~sMw 0/ ’ <~M a~tc~e was p~ese~d <t< ~ ~ ~ Ac<M~wn / (~An arlier rsion of this r icl resente at the 1982 cademy of Management meeting, New York. Correspondence should be addressed to J

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