Configuration Theory and Cartesianism
Ludmilla, Lecturer, Albania, Member
A modern variation of contingency theory is configuration theory, which states that the fit between contingency and structural (and other organizational) variables is limited to just a few configurations or gestalts, that is, fits (Miller, 1986).
However, an alternative theoretical concept is Cartesianism (Donaldson, 2001), which holds that there are many fits, so that there is a continuous line of fits.
Each level of a contingency variable is fitted by a level of the structural variable.
Hence, for example, whereas configurationalism argues that there are few fits between size and formalization, such as simple structure and machine bureaucracy (Miller, 1986), Cartesians holds that there are many (Child, 1975). Because fits lie along a continuous line (Child, 1975), they provide stepping-stones for organizational growth.