Adapting Leadership to the Circumstances: Vroom and Yetton’s Normative Model

The Vroom–Yetton Contingency Model or Normative Model is a situational leadership theory of industrial and organizational psychology developed by Victor Vroom, in collaboration with Phillip Yetton in 1973 and later with Arthur Jago in 1988.

The situational theory argues the best style of leadership is contingent to the situation. This model suggests the selection a leadership style for group decision making. As a basic assumption we can state that decision acceptance increases commitment and effectiveness of action. Participation increases decision acceptance.

Decision quality is the selection of the best alternative, and is particularly important when there are many alternatives. It is also important when there are serious implications for selecting (or failing to select) the best alternative.

Decision acceptance is the degree to which a follower accepts a decision made by a leader. Leaders focus more on decision acceptance when decision quality is more important. Vroom-Yetton-Jago Normative Decision Model help us to answer above questions. This model identifies five different styles (ranging from autocratic to consultative to group-based decisions) on the situation & level of involvement.

They are:

  • A1: Leader takes known information and then decides alone
  • A2: Leader gets information from followers, and then decides alone
  • C1: Leader shares problem with followers individually, listens to ideas and then decides alone
  • C2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group, listens to ideas and then decides alone
  • G2: Leader shares problems with followers as a group and then seeks and accepts consensus agreement

Situational factors that influence the method are relatively logical:

  • When decision quality is important and followers possess useful information, then A1 and A2 are not the best method.
  • When the leader sees decision quality as important but followers do not, then G2 is inappropriate.
  • When decision quality is important, when the problem is unstructured and the leader lacks information / skill to make the decision alone, then G2 is best.
  • When decision acceptance is important and followers are unlikely to accept an autocratic decision, then A1 and A2 are inappropriate.
  • When decision acceptance is important but followers are likely to disagree with one another, then A1, A2 and C1 are not appropriate, because they do not give opportunity for differences to be resolved.
  • When decision quality is not important but decision acceptance is critical, then G2 is the best method.
  • When decision quality is important, all agree with this, and the decision is not likely to result from an autocratic decision then G2 is best.

In 1973 Vroom and Yetton took the earlier generalized situational theories that noted how situational factors cause almost unpredictable leader behavior and reduced this to a more limited set of behaviors. The ‘normative’ aspect of the model is that it was defined more by rational logic than by long observation. The model is most likely to work when there is clear and accessible opinions about the decision quality importance and decision acceptance factors. However these are not always known with any significant confidence.

The Vroom-Yetton Decision Model (Picture source: http://leadershipchamps.files.wordpress.com)

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