Fit, Equifinality, and Organizational Effectiveness: A Test of Two Configurational Theories

D. Harold Doty, William H. Glick, George P. Huber
1993 Academy of Management Journal  
Minlzberg's and Mites and Snow'.s conflgurational Iheories have both received widespread attention. Most researchers, however, have interpreted these theories in terms of categories of organizations ralher than organizational configurations hased on ideal types. We explicated the logical structure of configurational theories and developed a set of configurational fit models that are congruent with alternative assumptions of equifinality, which is the premise that multiple organizational forms
more » ... e equally effective. Then the two theories were formalized with these models and tested empirically. Contrary to our expectations, the results do not support Mintzherg's theory that organizations will be more effective to the extent that they resemhie his (ive ideal types. In contrast with these null results, configurationat tit based on Miles and Snow's theory predicted 24 percent of the variance in overall organizational effectiveness. Configurational theories compose a growing body of organizational literature. At the organizational level of analysis, configurational theories typically posit higher effectiveness for organizations that resemble one of the ideal types defined in the theory. The increased effectiveness is attrihuted to the internal consistency, or fit, among the patterns of relevant contextual, structural, and strategic factors. Two excellent examples of configurational theories that have enjoyed widespread popularity but mixed or limited empirical support are Mintzberg's (1979 ) theory of organizational structure and Miles and Snow's (1978) theory of strategy, structure, and process.
doi:10.5465/256810 fatcat:jy7nxobczndgzbndoouvmu3sri