Integrating Perspectives for Managers
It is obvious that classical, behavioral and quantitative approaches have all made valuable contributions to the theory and practice of management. Contemporary management seeks to integrate these approaches in ways that suit the particular organization at a particular time. A thorough understanding of management requires an appreciation of all three perspectives Systems theory and contingency theory take this integration approach. The systems approach describes the organization as a system that transforms inputs (material, human, financial and information resources) into outputs (e.g. products/services, profits/losses, employee behavior and information) by use of managerial and technological processes. The overall system can be broken into sub-systems, such as production and finance. The objectives are effective and efficient operation of each of the sub-systems, to maximize the synergy between the sub-systems and to avoid entropy (the natural tendency for systems to decline over time).
The contingency approach essentially argues that the traditional perspectives on management are too narrow in defining how to manage organizations. It suggests that the best managerial approach to each particular situation is dependent on a large number of elements and therefore managers should seek the approach that best suits the specific situation they are facing. The text suggests that the broader approaches to management taken by the systems and contingency approach have most relevance to the manager of the 21st century who faces complex and rapidly changing environments.