Normative model of decision-making

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Victor Vroom, a professor at Yale University and a scholar on leadership and decision-making, developed the normative model of decision-making.[1] Drawing upon literature from the areas of leadership, group decision-making, and procedural fairness, Vroom’s model predicts the effectiveness of decision-making procedures.[2] Specifically, Vroom’s model takes into account the situation and the importance of the decision to determine which of Vroom’s five decision-making methods will be most effective.[3]

Decision-making processes[edit]

Vroom[1][3] identified five types of decision-making processes, each varying on degree of participation by the leader.

  1. Decide: The leader makes the decision or solves the problem alone and announces his/her decision to the group. The leader may gather information from members of the group.
  2. Consult (Individually): The leader approaches group members individually and presents them with the problem. The leader records the group member’s suggestions and makes a decision, deciding whether or not to use the information provided by group members.
  3. Consult (Group): The leader holds a group meeting where he/she presents the problem to the group as a whole. All members are asked to contribute and make suggestions during the meeting. The leader makes his/her decision alone, choosing which information obtained from the group meeting to use or discard.
  4. Facilitate: The leader holds a group meeting where he/she presents the problem to the group as a whole. This differs from consulting approach as the leader ensures that his/her opinions are not given any more weight than those of the group. The decision is made by group consensus, and not solely by the leader.
  5. Delegate: The leader does not actively participate in the decision-making process. Instead, the leader provides resources (e.g., information about the problem) and encouragement.

Situational influence of decision-making[edit]

Vroom[3][4] identified seven situational factors that leaders should consider when choosing a decision-making process.

  1. Decision significance: How will the decision affect the project’s success, or the organization as a whole?
  2. Importance of commitment: Is it important that team members are committed to the final decision?
  3. Leader’s expertise: How knowledgeable is the leader in regards to the problem(s) at hand?
  4. Likelihood of commitment: If the leader makes the decision by himself/herself, how committed would the group members be to the decision?
  5. Group support for objectives: To what degree do group members support the leader’s and organization’s objectives?
  6. Group expertise: How knowledgeable are the group members in regards to the problem(s) at hand?
  7. Team competence: How well can group members work together to solve the problem?

Vroom created a number of matrices which allow leaders to take into consideration these seven situational influences in order to choose the most effective decision-making process.[4]


Vroom’s normative model of decision-making has been used in a wide array of organizational settings to help leaders select the best decision-making style and also to describe the behaviours of leaders and group members.[4] Further, Vroom’s model has been applied to research in the areas of gender and leadership style,[5] and cultural influences and leadership style.[6]


  1. ^ a b Vroom, V. H., & Yetton, P. W. (1973). Leadership and decision making. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  2. ^ Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics. New York: Wadsworth.
  3. ^ a b c Vroom, V. H. (2003). Educating managers for decision making and leadership. Management Decision, 41, 968-978. doi:10.1108/00251740310509490
  4. ^ a b c Vroom, V. H. (2000). Leadership and the decision-making process. Organizational Dynamics, 28, 82-94. doi:10.1016/S0090-2616(00)00003-6
  5. ^ Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990). Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 2, 233-256.
  6. ^ Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. American Psychologist, 65, 157.170. doi:10.1037/a0018806