What Are Models of Decision-Making?
Leaders are expected to be decisive. But even people with well-developed leadership skills may find the decision-making process tricky at times, particularly when working under a tight deadline. Using a decision-making model can help guide you toward effective solutions.
What Is a Decision-Making Model?
A decision-making model is a process that takes individuals and/or teams through a series of steps to help them arrive at a decision. Decision-making models can be structured and collaborative, involving a wide range of stakeholders and resulting in greater buy-in. Sometimes, usually when a decision has to be made quickly, they are more informal. Then, the decision-making process may fall to the leader, who may rely on expertise, experience, and “gut instinct” to solve a problem.
Here are three examples of decision-making models that showcase the variety of these strategies:
Rational Decision-Making Model
The title alone hints that this might be a smart way to arrive at a decision. In an article on decision-making models, Atlassian, a global software development company, outlines the six-step process:1
- Define the problem.
- Identify the criteria you will use to judge possible solutions.
- Decide how important each criterion is.
- Generate a list of possible alternatives.
- Evaluate those alternatives.
- Determine the best solution.
Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model
Leaders can use this process, sometimes known as the Vroom-Yetton model, to determine whether to involve team members in the decision-making process—and how deeply.
“The model consists of a set of decision rules and a decision tree in which the leader assesses several key situational attributes, such as the nature of the task …, the degree of conflict expected among followers over preferred solutions, the degree of confidence that followers will accept decisions they do not agree with, and the extent to which such acceptance is important,” the American Psychological Association (APA) explains.2
This model leads users through a decision tree as they answer the following questions:3
- Is the quality of the decision important?
- Is team commitment to the decision important?
- Do you have enough information to make the decision on your own?
- Is the problem well-structured?
- If you made the decision yourself, would the team support it?
- Does the team share organizational goals?
- Is conflict among the team over the decision likely?
“On the basis of this assessment, the leader chooses among several degrees of employee participation, ranging from autocratic decision-making by the leader, through consultative approaches, to full participation and delegation,” the APA says.2
This decision-making process is not as random as the title may imply. In their study “Intuitive Decision Making,” researchers Kurt Matzler, Franz Bailom, and Todd Mooradian explain that intuition is, in fact, “a highly complex and highly developed form of reasoning that is based on years of experience and learning, and on facts, patterns, concepts, procedures and abstractions stored in one’s head.”4
Experience is the key to finding business success with this decision-making model, researchers say. A study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and reported in ScienceDaily, found that “people can trust their gut and rely on intuition when making a broad evaluation—one that doesn’t include a subset of additional decisions—in an area where they have in-depth knowledge of the subject, also referred to as domain expertise.”5 Michael G. Pratt, one of the study’s co-authors, cautions, though, that “intuition is like nitroglycerine—it is best used only in certain circumstances.”5
Building Leadership Qualities
If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, you might even use a decision-making model to determine the best way to achieve that goal. One option would be to earn a master’s degree in leadership.
If you choose an online degree program from an accredited university, you can earn a degree while you continue to work and enjoy your personal life. And as you learn and expand your leadership skills, you can use them in your current position.
Walden University’s online MS in Leadership degree program gives you the opportunity to explore leadership styles and topics like conflict resolution, building organizational culture, and effective communication. Walden’s master’s degree program can help fill your leadership tool kit with strategies and techniques you can use to become an effective and inspirational leader.
Earning a master’s in leadership can help enhance your job performance today and prepare you to lead confidently and decisively into the future.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Leadership online degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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