The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model

No business will be successful without quality decision making. At the heart of all business success stories is a series of quality decisions that kept the organization pointed in the right direction. There are always opportunities to go off track when you are managing any kind of organization, so making quality decisions all along the way is critical for your success.

The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model

Of course, making good decisions is not always an easy task, so it is helpful to have models available that you can use to guide your process. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model is one such tool.

At the heart of this decision model is the fact that not all decisions are created equal. Some decisions are extremely important and will require input from many people, while other decisions can be made quickly as they won’t have long-lasting effects on the company as a whole. Understanding this basic concept is important, because you aren’t going to use the same decision making process for all choices that you have to make. With the assistance of this model, you can customize your approach to decision making based on the situation at hand.

Three Factors

Right off the top, this model asks you to think about three specific factors with regard to the decisions you are facing. Once you think about your upcoming decisions in reference to these three factors, you will have a much better idea of how to proceed.

The Three Factors of the Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model

Decision Quality
Simply put, this is where you think about how important it is to come up with the right decision. Sure, you always want to make the right choice, but some circumstances are more important than others in the context of business as a whole. Committing a large number of resources to each and every decision you make would be inefficient, as many decisions just are not important enough to warrant that kind of investment. Pick and choose your spots and only invest a large amount of time and energy into the decisions that are truly going to shape your organizational future.

Subordinate Commitment
Some decisions that you make are going to have a strong impact on your team, while others will not affect them at all. When thinking about each decision, consider how much of an affect it is going to have on your team and others within and around the organization.

Subordinate Commitment

If you it essential that you have ‘buy in’ from the people on your team, you will be more inclined to include them in the decision making process. If not, you may be able to make the decision on your own with very little input from others below you.

Time Constraints
Obviously, the timeline that you have in front of you for a given decision is going to impact the process that you can use to make your choice. If you are in no particular rush to make the decision, there will be plenty of time to include others, conduct research, and more.

Time Constraints

On the other hand, if the matter if time sensitive, you might not really have the option of going to others for help. Develop a clear timeline right up front for your decision and then chart out whether or not you are going to have time to get input from various areas.

In order to determine the influence each of these three factors will have on a decision, Vroom, Yetton, and Jago defined the following eight questions.

Vroom-Yetton-Jago Questions

They must be asked in a specific sequence so that you are able to accurately identify the correct style of leadership that a particular decision must be presented and managed in.

This sequence is outlined below:

  1. Quality Requirement (QR): How important is the technical quality of the decision?
  2. Commitment Requirement (CR): How important is subordinate commitment to the decision?
  3. Leader’s Information (LI): Do you (the leader) have sufficient information to make a high quality decision on your own?
  4. Problem Structure (ST): Is the problem well structured (e.g., defined, clear, organized, lend itself to solution, time limited, etc.)?
  5. 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?
  6. Goal Congruence (GC): Do subordinates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving the problem?
  7. Subordinate conflict (CO): Is conflict among subordinates over preferred solutions likely?
  8. Subordinate information (SI): Do subordinates have sufficient information to make a high quality decision?

For each of the questions, your answer will take you through this decision tree to an appropriate decision making option.
These options are shown on the right (AI, AII, CI, CII and GII) and are described below.

Adapted from Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (1988). The new leadership: Managing participation in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Adapted from Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (1988). The new leadership: Managing participation in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Three General Leadership Options

At this stage you know how your decision compares to the three factors listed above and where it lies on the decision tree of optional leadership styles. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago model then goes onto explain how each leadership style directs the making of your decision.

Leadership Style Options

There are three general leadership styles included in this model.

Autocratic AI and AII
When you make a decision in an autocratic style, you simply make the decision and then tell others what you have decided. That’s it. There are no long meetings to deal with, no back and forth conversations with team members, etc. You simply use the information available – either information you already have, or information you acquire – and make the choice you feel best. In the model, these are defined as:

Autocratic AI – Leader solves the problem along using information that is readily available to him/her.

Autocratic AII – Leader obtains additional information from group members, then makes decision alone. Group members may or may not be informed.

Consultative CI and CII
This type of leadership is something of a ‘softer’ style of autocratic decision making. Ultimately, you are still going to make the decision on your own – but you will first consult with others to gather opinions and input. The decision remains completely your responsibility, but you are going to work through the process of gather information from your team and other related parties before making your final choice. In the model, these are defined as:

Consultative CI – 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 CII – Leader shares problem with group members collectively, but makes decision alone.

Collaborative GII
As the name would indicate, this is a type of decision making where you are going to work together with your team to make a choice. The decision is no longer yours alone at this point – rather, it is a collaborative effort among those who have been selected to work on the decision. Naturally this is going to be a more time-consuming operation when you make a decision this way, but it can lead to well thought out choices in the end.

In the model, this is defined as:

  • Leader meets with group to discuss situation.
  • Leader focuses and directs discussion, but does not impose will.
  • Group makes final decision.

Decision making is an important part of running any organization, so you don’t want to go into the decision making process without a plan. The use of a model such as this one is a great way to prepare yourself to make any decision in the best possible manner. By treating each decision as a unique proposition, and using the method of decision making that is best suited to its characteristics, you will optimize your chances for positive outcomes.

Key Points

  • The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Making Model identifies five different styles ranging from autocratic to group-based decisions based on the situation and level of involvement of the decision makers. These are:
  • Autocratic Type I in which the leader alone makes a decision using information that is available at the time.
  • Autocratic Type II in which the leader collects the required information from followers, then makes the decision alone.
  • Consultative Type I in which the leader shares the problem with relevant individuals and seeks their ideas and suggestions before making the decision alone.
  • Consultative Type II in which the leader shares the problem with relevant individuals in a group setting and seeks their ideas and suggestions before making the decision alone.
  • Group-based Type II in which the leader discuss problem with individuals as a group and solicits their suggestions through brainstorming before accepting a group-based decision.
  • Decision making is an important part of leadership and the use of this model is a great way to decide how to organize the decision making process.

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