The Hoy-Tarter Model of Decision Making

Originally created for use within a school system, the Hoy-Tarter Decision Making Model can actually be applied in a number of different settings. If you are the owner of manager of any kind of organization, you already know just how difficult it can be to make decisions. Specifically, it can be hard to decide how to make those decisions, in terms of who you should include, what you should consider in the process, and more. Making good decisions is a key to success in business, but you can only make good decisions if you have an appropriate process in place.

The Hoy-Tarter Model of Decision Making

In this model, the main goal is to figure out exactly who should be included in the decision making process. Different decisions are going to require different inputs from various people, so determining who should be included in making the decision (and who should be left out) is a key step not to be overlooked. Including the wrong people, or failing to include the right people, is a mistake that can have serious consequences.

The Matrix

The first step in the process of using this model is to think about each of your team members in reference to a four-quadrant matrix that will help you determine whether or not each person should be included. Two questions are used, each with a yes or no answer, to form this matrix. On one side of the matrix is the question of how much of a personal stake each team member has in the decision that needs to be made. Does this decision matter to the individual, or it is something that does not affect them in a significant way? You are going to answer this with a yes or no – yes if the decision does affect the team member, and no if it does not.

Hoy-Tarter Matrix

On the other side of the matrix is the question of expertise. Does the team member in question have a particular skill set or expertise that is going to help you make a good decision? Again, here, it is a yes or no answer that is going to help you place the team member inside one of the four quadrants. You will answer yes if a particular team member possesses expertise that you feel would be helpful, while a no answer is indicative of someone who is not bringing much to the table in terms of experience or knowledge (with regard to this specific decision).

The Four Options

Obviously, when you have two questions with two potential answers each, you will have four possibilities for each team member that you evaluate as part of this process. Those four outcomes are as follows.

Expertise – Yes, Personal Stake – Yes.
If the team member receives a yes response for both questions, they should almost certainly be included in the decision making process.

Expertise and Personal Stake

They are going to bring expertise that should be helpful in the process of making your decision, and they are going to work hard on the problem because they have a personal stake in the outcome. This is exactly the kind of person that you will want to have working for you when trying to make an important decision, so it is obvious that they should be included.

Expertise – No, Personal Stake – Yes.
This is a person who should be considered for a marginal role in the decision making process. On one hand, they don’t really have the expertise to help you make the right choice from a technical perspective. However, on the other hand, they are interested in the outcome and will likely work hard to steer the company in the right direction.

Expertise and Personal Stake

While this is likely not the kind of person that you would want to have playing a significant role in the decision making process, they may be considered for a partial role to help you come to the right conclusion. This person may be especially useful if you already have a team made up of people with plenty of expertise but minimal personal stake in the matter.

Expertise – Yes, Personal Stake – No.
This is another category of individual who should be considered, but only needs to be included if their expertise is something that can make a big imprint on the decision making process. Do they have knowledge and experience that doesn’t exist otherwise on your team?

Expertise and Personal Stake

If so, they should absolutely be included in some form or fashion. Otherwise, they may need to be left out, as their lack of a personal stake is going to limit their motivation and drive on the project.

Expertise – No, Personal Stake – No.
It probably isn’t a surprise to find that this is a category of team member which should be left out of the decision making process.

Expertise and Personal Stake

If they aren’t going to offer anything from an expertise standpoint, and they don’t have a personal stake in the decision, they really have no business being involved. You don’t want to unnecessarily crowd the process with too many voices, so keep people like this away from your meetings.

While there are more steps to this process that can be used, it is this initial line of thinking that is particularly important for business managers and owners. You want to make sure that your decisions are being made as intelligently as possible, and a big part of working toward that goal is using the right members of your team to help make the choice.

Do you think you have been including the right people in your decision making meetings, or are you going to make some changes in light of the thinking that this model presents? It is hard to move an organization into the future without making smart decisions, and it is hard to make smart decisions without having the right people working together with you on the project. Use the Hoy-Tarter Model when applicable to pick out the right team members for a decision making process and your choices should be better for the effort.

You can read more about the Hoy-Tarter Model of Decision Making in our free eBook ‘Effective Group Decision Making’. Download it now for your PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, Kindle, eBook reader or Smartphone.

Key Points

  • Hoy-Tarter Decision Making Model is designed to help you decide to what extent you should involve subordinates in the decision making process.
  • The first step in the process of using this model is to think about each of your team members in reference to a four-quadrant matrix.
  • On one side of the matrix is the question ‘Does this decision matter to the individual in a significant way?’
  • On the other side of the matrix is the question ‘Does the team member have particular expertise that is going to help you make a good decision?’
  • If the team member receives a yes response for both questions, they should almost certainly be included in the decision making process.
  • Obviously, anyone without expertise or a personal stake should be excluded.
  • Where someone has either expertise or a personal stake, but not both, then the decision is more nuanced.
  • This model can help to give you a shortlist of who should be included in the decision making process and to justify your choice objectively.

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