Taking people off their primary tasks to participate in teams or other decision making activities may be good empowerment, but when unnecessary it can be costly. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago model is a decision making tree that enables a leader to examine a situation and determine which style or level of involvement to engage. This model identifies five styles along a continuum ranging from autocratic to consultative to group-based. By asking oneself a series of questions about the nature of the problem, decision, and consequences, the leader can decide just how much involvement others should have in the decision. (Check out the online demonstration of the model at the bottom of the page).
Thios model is an excellent example of extracting and modeling knowledge. This kind of model can be developed by asking experts how they make a decision. Often it is done by asking what the final decision was, and then deconstructing it, or asking, what was the step just before your final decision; and the step just before that, etc. One can work backwards and reconstruct the decisional process, even if it was largely unconscious. Then the questions that elicit each stage of the process can be formulated. When used, the questioning is started at step one, then using the branching tree, the user arrives at the best decision based on answers to the critical questions.
Vroom & Yetton, and later Vroom & Jago found the following questions helpful in the sequence below:In the diagram below, you identify the problem situation in which you are trying to decide the level of involvement. For each of the questions/criteria above, your answer will take you through the decision tree to an appropriate outcome. At the bottom of the page is the table describing each of the outcomes.
- Quality Requirement (QR): How important is the technical quality of the decision?
- Commitment Requirement (CR): How important is subordinate commitment to the decision?
- Leader's Information (LI): Do you (the leader) have sufficient information to make a high quality decision on your own?
- Problem Structure (ST): Is the problem well structured (e.g., defined, clear, organized, lend itself to solution, time limited, etc.)?
- Commitment Probability (CP): If you were to make the decision by yourself, is it reasonably certain that your subordinates would be committed to the decision?
- Goal Congruence (GC): Do subordinates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving the problem?
- Subordinate conflict (CO): Is conflict among subordinates over preferred solutions likely?
- Subordinate information (SI): Do subordinates have sufficient information to make a high quality decision?
Decision Making Style Description Autocratic l (Al) Leader solves the problem along using information that is readily available to him/her Autocratic ll (All) Leader obtains additional information from group members, then makes decision alone. Group members may or may not be informed. Consultative l (Cl) Leader shares problem with group members individually, and asks for information and evaluation. Group members do not meet collectively, and leader makes decision alone. Consultative ll (Cll) Leader shares problem with group members collectively, but makes decision alone Group ll (Gll) Leader meets with group to discuss situation. Leader focuses and directs discussion, but does not impose will. Group makes final decision.
Online Example of the VYJ Model
Application of Vroom-Yetton model in Public Participation Matrix--
Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (1988). The new leadership: Managing participation in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.