Structure, environment and behaviour within development organisations: Using a contingency approach to study environmental influences on structure and behaviour in organisations in a number of Middle Eastern countries.

  • Hamid Atiyyah

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The theme of this dissertation is to demonstrate the usefulness of adopting a contingency approach for understanding organizational designs, structure and behaviour. It is made in two parts. In the first part, a search is undertaken to identify the contingencies in the environment of the organization, the significant actors and processes in the organization, the patterns of exchange and interaction between the endogenous and the exogenous elements and the implications of this for structure and behaviour in the organization. The initial choice of planning organizations in a number of Middle Eastern countries made this search difficult because of the scarcity of information and studies on this area, its people and institutions. In the research model, it was argued that the political-ideological component of the environment of the organization constituted the major contingency facing the organization and its members. The implications of this contingency for structure and behaviour were to be studied at two levels of organizational analysis, the management and the individual employee. The hypotheses proposed at the end of the first part represented the significant dimensions of the contingency relationship and their impact on internal organizational features. The second part of the dissertation begins with a short report on the difficulties encountered in preparing and administering the research measurement. These difficulties made it necessary to adjust the initial research plan and to enlarge the research sample. The final sample included planning and research organizations from five countries in the area. The basic materials for this study consist of responses obtained on two questionnaires, one answered by the manager and the other by his subordinates. Additional materials were acquired in interviews with managers and/or senior employees and from written sources and documents. The research findings show that there are significant interdependencies between these organizations and their respective environments. It was not possible, however, to test in any serious fashion whether or not there exists a relationship between the manager perception of the environment and his design of structure for his organization. The findings lend support to the hypothesis that the adjustment and satisfaction of the employee is a function of the degree of insecurity feeling he exhibits and the degree of structure imposed on him by his superior. The relationship supported by the data is not, however, congruent with the hypothesized one. In the concluding chapter, the organization is described as being made of personal informal elements and impersonal formal elements. To minimize these dysfunctional informal elements, a number of conditions, incorporating a contingency approach, for organizational designs are proposed.
Date of Award1978
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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