Dynamic Fit and Misfit through Organizational Design: Conceptualization via Stability and Maneuverability
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Fit represents a central concept for organizational Contingency Theory, but most research maintains a static focus, neglecting that contingencies - and hence the corresponding organizational designs required for fit - are dynamic. Further, with multiple, often conflicting contingency factors - reflecting both endogenous and exogenous origins - in a set changing through time, organizations are likely to spend much of their time in conditions of misfit. This highlights the importance of research focusing on the magnitude and difficulty of correcting misfits over time. However, the dynamics of fit and misfit are not addressed well by extant organization and management theory. In this article, we extend Contingency Theory through conceptualization of dynamic organizational fit and misfit and reveal key organizational design implications. We begin with a focused summary of the literature regarding the nature of dynamic fit and then draw from the engineering field of Aerodynamics to inform our conceptualization in terms of stability, maneuverability and opportunity loss. This work enables us to develop and outline a conceptual model and to articulate a set of propositions and measures that form a basis for empirical testing. This work also reveals important organizational design tradeoffs and implications regarding dynamic fit, and it shows how such conceptualization can elucidate new insights via comparison with and extension to extant theory.