Vroom-Yetton Decision Model Explained

  • The Vroom-Yetton decision model is a decision-making tool based on situational leadership.
  • The Vroom-Yetton decision model is based on empirical evidence suggesting that the extent of subordinate participation in decision-making impacts organizational effectiveness.
  • To progress through the Vroom-Yetton decision model, decision-makers (leaders) must use a decision tree containing seven questions with yes or no answers. Depending on the answers given, they will eventually arrive at one of five decision-making styles.

The Vroom-Yetton decision model is a decision-making process based on situational leadership. According to this model, there are five decision-making styles guides group-based decision-making according to the situation at hand and the level of involvement of subordinates: Autocratic Type 1 (AI), Autocratic Type 2 (AII), Consultative Type 1 (CI), Consultative Type 2 (CII), Group-based Type 2 (GII).

Understanding the Vroom-Yetton decision model

The Vroom-Yetton decision model was created by Victor Vroom with subsequent input from Phillip Yetton in 1973 and Arthur Jago in 1988. 

Vroom, a business school professor at the Yale School of Management, developed the model based on a passion for discovering why subordinates follow a specific course of action and prefer some outcomes over others in organizations. To that end, the model is based on a situational leadership theory that is itself based on organizational and industrial psychology.

Vroom and Yetton argued that the participation of subordinates in decision-making was one of the most persistent and controversial issues in business management. 

In response to this issue, the Vroom-Yetton decision model was created. The model defines circumstances in which subordinate participation in decision-making either benefits or hinders organizational effectiveness. 

Based on empirical evidence, the model advocates a set of guidelines governing the extent of subordinate involvement in decision-making. The model suggests that good decision-making is based on context and that not all decisions are created equal. This requires the leader to adapt their behavior based on the level of subordinate participation.

The three factors of the Vroom-Yetton model

First, the model asks decision-makers to consider three specific factors that relate to the decision that needs to be made. The individual who takes the time to assess these factors in detail will be rewarded with a clear plan of action.

Now let’s take a look at each factor:

Decision quality

How critical is it to arrive at the correct decision? While the business should always strive to make the right choice, some choices are more important than others. The commitment of vast amounts of resources to every decision is simply not feasible, so the business must pick and choose its battles, as it were.

Subordinate commitment

Some decisions will impact subordinates in some way, while other decisions will have very little to do with them. Leaders must assess the impact of a decision on subordinates and the organization as a whole. To increase buy-in, subordinates should always be involved in decisions that impact them.

Time constraints

When making a decision, an accurate timeline should first be created to determine whether there is time to include others or research potential solutions in detail beforehand.

Assessing the organizational effectiveness of decision making

To determine the influence the above three factors will have on the decision at hand, decision-makers should ask themselves the following questions in the sequence they are presented:

  • Quality requirement (QR) – is the nature of the solution critical? Does a solution need to be chosen based on technical, rational, or quality-based grounds?
  • Commitment requirement (CR) – how important is the commitment of subordinates to the decision?
  • Leader’s information (LI) – is there sufficient information for a leader to make a good decision on their own?
  • Problem structure (ST) – is the problem structured? Do alternative courses of action exist? Can these alternatives be evaluated accurately? Is the problem defined, clear, or time-limited?
  • Commitment probability (CP) – is subordinate acceptance integral to the implementation of the solution? In other words, would they be committed to a unilateral decision?
  • Goal congruence (GC) – are subordinates invested in the solution? Do their goals match the goals of the organization?
  • Subordinate conflict (CO) – is there likely to be conflict among subordinates over preferred courses of action?
  • Subordinate information (SI) – lastly, do these subordinates have the requisite information to make an informed, high-quality decision?

Using simple yes or no answers, the decision-maker uses a decision tree to then land on one of five different decision-making options across three different leadership styles.

The five decision-making styles of the Vroom-Yetton model

Once a decision-making option has been identified, the Vroom-Yetton model explains how each leadership style influences the decision-making process. Below we will take a look at how this process plays out in practice.


The autocratic leader makes a decision and tells subordinates after the fact. They use the information at hand to decide on a course of action they deem most appropriate.

The two autocratic options are:

  • Autocratic Type 1 (AI) – a completely autocratic process where the leader makes their own decision based on readily available information.
  • Autocratic Type 2 (AII) – where the leader collects information from subordinates and then makes a decision alone. Subordinates may or may not be notified after the fact.


Think of consultative leadership as a lite version of autocratic leadership. Leaders will ultimately make decisions on their own but will first consult with subordinates to hear their input and opinions.

In the Vroom-Yetton model, there are also two consultative options:

  • Consultative Type 1 (CI) – where the leader consults with subordinates on an individual basis to collect information and facilitate input. However, note that there is no requirement for the input to be used to make the final decision. Individual employees do not consult amongst themselves.
  • Consultative Type 2 (CII) – in this case, individuals can consult each other and share possible alternatives. But again, the leader is under no obligation to incorporate collective input into the final decision.


As the name suggests, collaborative leadership involves the leader working with subordinates to choose a group. This is a more time-intensive decision-making approach and should be used for important decisions that do not need to be made immediately.

There is a single collaborative option:

  • Group-based Type 2 (GII) – where the leader looks to the group for consensus via brainstorming and the final decision is made collectively. While the leader is responsible for directing the discussion, they must not under any circumstances try to force their own agenda on subordinates. 

Key takeaways:

  • Vroom-Yetton Decision Model Overview:
    • The Vroom-Yetton model provides a structured approach to decision-making based on the level of involvement of subordinates.
    • The model aims to determine when involving subordinates in decision-making benefits or hinders organizational effectiveness.
  • Three Factors of the Model:
    • Decision Quality: How critical is the decision’s impact on the organization?
    • Subordinate Commitment: How much will the decision affect subordinates?
    • Time Constraints: Is there time to involve others or research solutions?
  • Factors Influencing Decision-Making:
    • Quality Requirement (QR): How critical is a technically sound decision?
    • Commitment Requirement (CR): How important is subordinate commitment?
    • Leader’s Information (LI): Is there enough information for the leader’s decision?
    • Problem Structure (ST): Is the problem defined and structured?
    • Commitment Probability (CP): Is subordinate acceptance necessary?
    • Goal Congruence (GC): Do subordinates’ goals align with organizational goals?
    • Subordinate Conflict (CO): Will there be conflict among subordinates?
    • Subordinate Information (SI): Do subordinates have relevant information?
  • Five Decision-Making Styles:
    • Autocratic Type 1 (AI): Leader decides based on available information.
    • Autocratic Type 2 (AII): Leader collects input but decides alone.
    • Consultative Type 1 (CI): Leader consults with subordinates individually.
    • Consultative Type 2 (CII): Subordinates consult each other; leader decides.
    • Group-based Type 2 (GII): Leader and group collaboratively decide.
  • Leadership Styles Explained:
    • Autocratic: Leader makes decisions without seeking input.
    • Consultative: Leader consults with subordinates before making decisions.
    • Collaborative: Leader involves a group in decision-making.
  • Autocratic Decision Styles:
    • AI: Leader decides alone based on readily available information.
    • AII: Leader gathers information, then decides without involving subordinates.
  • Consultative Decision Styles:
    • CI: Leader consults with individual subordinates for input.
    • CII: Subordinates consult with each other; leader decides.
  • Collaborative Decision Style:
    • GII: Leader works with the group to reach a consensus decision.

Connected Decision-Making Frameworks


Simon’s satisficing strategy is a decision-making technique where the individual considers various solutions until they find an acceptable option. Satisficing is a portmanteau combining sufficing and satisfying and was created by psychologist Herbert A. Simon. He argued that many individuals make decisions with a satisfactory (and not optimal) solution. Satisfactory decisions are preferred because they achieve an acceptable result and avoid the resource-intensive search for something more optimal.

RAPID Framework

The RAPID framework is a tool used to help businesses make important decisions. The RAPID framework was developed by global consultancy firm Bain & Company, which noted that “high-quality decision making and strong performance go hand in hand.”

Foursquare Protocol

The Foursquare Protocol is an ethical decision-making model. The Foursquare Protocol helps businesses respond to challenging situations by making decisions according to a code of ethics. It can also be used to help individuals make decisions in the context of their own moral principles. It consists of four steps: gather the facts, understand previous decisions, assess the degree of similarity to past events, and assess yourself.

DACI Decision-Making

The DACI Decision-Making Framework was developed by software company Intuit in the 1980s. The DACI Decision-Making Framework assigns and then displays the responsibilities of the individual when making decision. DACI stands for driver, approver, contributor, and informed.

Lightning Decision Jam

The Lightning Decision Jam
The Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ) is a means of making fast decisions that provide quick direction. The Lightning Decision Jam was developed by design agency AJ&Smart in response to the inefficiency of business meetings. Borrowing ideas from the core principles of design sprints, AJ&Smart created the Lightning Decision Jam.

Multi-Criteria Analysis

The multi-criteria analysis provides a systematic approach for ranking adaptation options against multiple decision criteria. These criteria are weighted to reflect their importance relative to other criteria. A multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is a decision-making framework suited to solving problems with many alternative courses of action.

Cynefin Framework

The Cynefin Framework gives context to decision making and problem-solving by providing context and guiding an appropriate response. The five domains of the Cynefin Framework comprise obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic domains and disorder if a domain has not been determined at all.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

Personal SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is commonly used as a strategic planning tool in business. However, it is also well suited for personal use in addressing a specific goal or problem. A personal SWOT analysis helps individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pareto Analysis

The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Blindspot Analysis

A Blindspot Analysis is a means of unearthing incorrect or outdated assumptions that can harm decision making in an organization. The term “blindspot analysis” was first coined by American economist Michael Porter. Porter argued that in business, outdated ideas or strategies had the potential to stifle modern ideas and prevent them from succeeding. Furthermore, decisions a business thought were made with care caused projects to fail because major factors had not been duly considered.

Comparable Company Analysis

A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

SOAR Analysis

A SOAR analysis is a technique that helps businesses at a strategic planning level to: Focus on what they are doing right. Determine which skills could be enhanced. Understand the desires and motivations of their stakeholders.

STEEPLE Analysis

The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

Pestel Analysis

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

DESTEP Analysis

A DESTEP analysis is a framework used by businesses to understand their external environment and the issues which may impact them. The DESTEP analysis is an extension of the popular PEST analysis created by Harvard Business School professor Francis J. Aguilar. The DESTEP analysis groups external factors into six categories: demographic, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological, and political.

Paired Comparison Analysis

A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

Hickam’s Dictum

Hickam’s dictum is the counterargument to Occam’s razor. Whereas Occam’s razor is a heuristic that tends to narrow down decision-making to the simplest variables, Hickam’s dictum believes a situation must be tackled by looking at multiple variables.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor states that one should not increase (beyond reason) the number of entities required to explain anything. All things being equal, the simplest solution is often the best one. The principle is attributed to 14th-century English theologian William of Ockham.

Occam’s Broom

Occam’s broom was first proposed by South African microbiologist Sidney Brenner who proposed that inconvenient facts that do not fit into someone’s hypothesis or serve their agenda are swept aside or hidden. Occam’s broom is a principle stating that inconvenient facts are hidden or obscured to draw important conclusions or argue points.

Outcome Bias

Outcome bias describes a tendency to evaluate a decision based on its outcome and not on the process by which the decision was reached. In other words, the quality of a decision is only determined once the outcome is known. Outcome bias occurs when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events without regard for how those events developed.

Principle-Agent Problem

The theory behind the principle-agent problem was developed by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Jensen and economist and management professor William H. Meckling. The principle-agent problem describes a conflict in priorities between a person or group and the representative authorized to make decisions on their behalf.

TDODAR Decision Model

The TDODAR decision model helps an individual make good decisions in emergencies or any scenario with a high degree of uncertainty. TDODAR is an acronym of the six sequential steps that every practitioner must follow, comprising: time, diagnosis, options, decide, act/assign, review.

Mendelow Stakeholder Matrix

The Mendelow stakeholder matrix is a framework used to analyze stakeholder attitudes and expectations and their potential impact on business decisions.

Foursquare Protocol

The Foursquare Protocol is an ethical decision-making model. The Foursquare Protocol helps businesses respond to challenging situations by making decisions according to a code of ethics. It can also be used to help individuals make decisions in the context of their own moral principles. It consists of four steps: gather the facts, understand previous decisions, assess the degree of similarity to past events, and assess yourself.

Go/No-Go Decision Making

In general, terms, go/no-go decision making is a process of passing or failing a proposition. Each proposition is assessed according to criteria that determine whether a project advances to the next stage. The outcome of the go/no-go decision making is to assess whether to go or not to go with a project, or perhaps proceed with caveats.


The OODA loop was popularized by U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Colonel John Boyd to describe maneuver warfare during the Korean War. The OODA loop is a four-step approach to decision making where strategies must be adjusted quickly. Those four steps comprise observe, orient, decide, and act.

Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market StrategyMarketing StrategyBusiness ModelsTech Business ModelsJobs-To-Be DoneDesign ThinkingLean Startup CanvasValue ChainValue Proposition CanvasBalanced ScorecardBusiness Model CanvasSWOT AnalysisGrowth HackingBundlingUnbundlingBootstrappingVenture CapitalPorter’s Five ForcesPorter’s Generic StrategiesPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL AnalysisSWOTPorter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF FrameworkBCG MatrixGE McKinsey MatrixKotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

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