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Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Decision Modelfrom Organizational Behavior - Chapter 12
Publisher: Flat World Knowledge
Yale School of Management Professor Victor Vroom and his colleagues Philip Yetton and Arthur Jago developed a decision-making tool to help leaders determine how much involvement they should seek when making decisions.Vroom, V. H. (2000). Leadership and the decision making process. Organizational Dynamics, 68, 82–94; Vroom, V. H., & Yetton, P. W. (1973). Leadership and decision-making. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press; Jago, A., & Vroom, V. H. (1980). An evaluation of two alternatives to the Vroom/Yetton Normative Model. Academy of Management Journal, 23, 347–355; Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. 1988. The new leadership: managing participation in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. The model starts by having leaders answer several key questions and working their way through a decision tree based on their responses. Let’s try it. Imagine that you want to help your employees lower their stress so that you can minimize employee absenteeism. There are a number of approaches you could take to reduce employee stress, such as offering gym memberships, providing employee assistance programs, a nap room, and so forth.
Decision Significance. The decision has high significance, because the approach chosen needs to be effective at reducing employee stress for the insurance premiums to be lowered. In other words, there is a quality requirement to the decision. Follow the path through H.
Importance of Commitment. Does the leader need employee cooperation to implement the decision? In our example, the answer is high, because employees may simply ignore the resources if they do not like them. Follow the path through H.
Leader expertise. Does the leader have all the information needed to make a high quality decision? In our example, leader expertise is low. You do not have information regarding what your employees need or what kinds of stress reduction resources they would prefer. Follow the path through L.
Likelihood of commitment. If the leader makes the decision alone, what is the likelihood that the employees would accept it? Let’s assume that the answer is low. Based on the leader’s experience with this group, they would likely ignore the decision if the leader makes it alone. Follow the path from L.
Goal alignment. Are the employee goals aligned with organizational goals? In this instance, employee and organizational goals may be aligned because you both want to ensure that employees are healthier. So let’s say the alignment is high, and follow H.
Group expertise. Does the group have expertise in this decision-making area? The group in question has little information about which alternatives are costlier, or more user friendly. We’ll say group expertise is low. Follow the path from L.
Team competence. What is the ability of this particular team to solve the problem? Let’s imagine that this is a new team that just got together and they have little demonstrated expertise to work together effectively. We will answer this as low or L.
Based on the answers to the questions we gave, the normative approach recommends consulting employees as a group. In other words, the leader may make the decision alone after gathering information from employees and is not advised to delegate the decision to the team or to make the decision alone.
Decide. The leader makes the decision alone using available information.
Consult Individually. The leader obtains additional information from group members before making the decision alone.
Consult as a group. The leader shares the problem with group members individually and makes the final decision alone.
Facilitate. The leader shares information about the problem with group members collectively, and acts as a facilitator. The leader sets the parameters of the decision.
Delegate. The leader lets the team make the decision.
Vroom and Yetton’s normative model is somewhat complicated, but research results support the validity of the model. On average, leaders using the style recommended by the model tend to make more effective decisions compared to leaders using a style not recommended by the model.Vroom, V. H., & Jago, G. (1978). On the validity of the Vroom Yetton model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 151–162.
The contingency approaches to leadership describe the role the situation would have in choosing the most effective leadership style. Fiedler’s contingency theory argued that task-oriented leaders would be most effective when the situation was the most and the least favorable, whereas people-oriented leaders would be effective when situational favorableness was moderate. Situational Leadership Theory takes the maturity level of followers into account. House’s path-goal theory states that the leader’s job is to ensure that employees view their effort as leading to performance, and to increase the belief that performance would be rewarded. For this purpose, leaders would use directive-, supportive-, participative-, and achievement-oriented leadership styles depending on what employees needed to feel motivated. Vroom and Yetton’s normative model is a guide leaders can use to decide how participative they should be given decision environment characteristics.
Do you believe that the least preferred coworker technique is a valid method of measuring someone’s leadership style? Why or why not?
Do you believe that leaders can vary their style to demonstrate directive-, supportive-, achievement-, and participative-oriented styles with respect to different employees? Or does each leader tend to have a personal style that he or she regularly uses toward all employees?
What do you see as the limitations of the Vroom-Yetton leadership decision-making approach?
Which of the leadership theories covered in this section do you think are most useful and least useful to practicing managers? Why?
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