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  • Module 4 – Home

    Leadership and Decision-Making Styles

    Modular Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this module, the student will be able to satisfy the following outcomes:

    · Case

    · Understand and apply the Vroom-Yetton model of leadership decision-making style.

    · SLP

    · Apply the Vroom-Yetton model of leadership decision-making style to a situation in your workplace.

    · Discussion

    · Assess the credibility of information sources on the Vroom-Yetton model.

  •  

    Module Overview

    In the previous module we about learned about group decision-making techniques as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making. Organizational leaders are paid to make tough decisions, but as you learned in the last module it is not always best for leaders to make decisions by themselves, and there are advantages to consulting your employees. However, leaders unavoidably face situations where they have to make a decision on their own.

    So when should leaders make decisions on their own and when should they use a group decision-making approach? The answer is not so clear-cut, but fortunately some prominent leadership researchers have developed a tool to help leaders decide what kind of decision-making style to use based on the situation they face.

    Yale management professor Victor Vroom along with his colleague Philip Yetton classify decision-making styles into three categories. The first is autocratic, which means the leader makes the decision on her own without consulting her employees. The second is consultative, meaning the leader seeks the opinions of employees before making the decision but still makes the decision he thinks is best regardless of what advice is given. Finally, there is the group-based style. In this case, the leader not only consults employees on the decision but also accepts the decision of the group.

    Vroom and Yetton go beyond simply classifying decision-making styles but also provide a tool for choosing your style. To decide on what kind of decision-making style to use, they recommend analyzing the decision based on the following questions (taken from Vroom [1976]):

    1. Does the problem possess a quality requirement?

    2. Do I have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?

    3. Is the problem structured?

    4. Is acceptance of the decision by subordinates important for effective implementation?

    5. If I make the decision myself, am I reasonably certain that it would be accepted by my subordinates?

    6. Do subordinates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving this problem?

    7. Is conflict among the subordinates likely in preferred solutions?

    Based on these questions, one can follow a diagram that will lead to the recommended decision-making style. Don’t be intimidated by the diagram that is presented in required readings for this module. Most importantly, make sure to read all of the required readings and make sure you understand the types of decision-making styles and how to apply the seven questions to a specific decision.

  •  

    Background

    Module 4 – Background

    Leadership and Decision-Making Styles

    Required Reading

    The Vroom-Yetton model can be difficult to follow and understand at first, so be sure to go carefully through these three readings to develop a solid understanding of the model before you begin your assignments:

    Stanford, N. (2007). Decision making. Guide to Organisation Design: Creating High-Performing and Adaptable Enterprises. Profile Books/The Economist, London, GBR, pp. 225-231. [eBook Business Collection]

    Rigolosi, E. (2005). Chapter 6: Diagnosing the task. Management and Leadership in Nursing and Health Care : An Experiential Approach. New York, NY, USA: Springer Publishing Company, 2005. [eBook Academic Collection.]

    Vroom, V. (1976). Can leaders learn to lead? Organizational Dynamics4(3), 17-28. [ProQuest]

    Case Assignment Reading

    Gelles, D., & Michael J De La, M. (2014, Jun 05). T-Mobile and Sprint zeroing in on merger. New York Times [ProQuest]

    Yao, D. (2014). Moody’s: Sprint/T-Mobile merger faces negative free cash flow until at least 2018. SNL Kagan Media & Communications Report [ProQuest]

    De La Merced, M. (2014, Aug 07). Sprint ends its attempt to purchase T-Mobile. International New York Times [ProQuest]

    Optional Reading

    For an example of how the Vroom-Yetton model has been applied to a military setting see this following paper:

    Duncan, W. J., LaFrance, K. G., & Ginter, P. M. (2003). Leadership and decision making: A retrospective application and assessment.Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 9(4), 1 [ProQuest]

    Muczyk, J. P., & Steel, R. P. (1998). Leadership style and the turnaround executive. Business horizons41(2), 39-46. [Science Direct]

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  •  

    ASSIGNMENT 1 (Case 4)

    Module 4 – Case

    Leadership and Decision-Making Styles

    Case Assignment

    Since 2013 there has been on-and-off talk of Sprint purchasing T-Mobile. (They are the third- and fourth-largest mobile phone carriers in the United States.) This move is led by Masayoshi Son, the chair of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which owns Sprint. Mr. Son is a bold entrepreneur who is known for his penchant for risk taking and desire to be a global leader in the telecommunications industry. If the merger ever goes through it would result in a merger of the third and fourth largest mobile phone carriers in the United States.

    Most recently, it appears that the merger will not go through. But the fact that talk of this merger has been rumored for quite a long time suggests it must have been a very difficult decision for Masayoshi Son. Such a large-scale merger brings great benefits in allowing a combined Sprint/T-Mobile to compete with industry leaders AT&T and Verizon. But mergers are always very risky and require a huge amount of debt to finance, not to mention overcoming numerous regulatory hurdles.

    For this assignment, thoroughly review the background materials on the Vroom-Yetton decision-making style model. This involves answering seven questions relating to a decision and using the results from the model to determine your decision-making style. Make sure you understand the model, including the seven questions and the path diagram that you follow in order to find the preferred leadership style. The Vroom-Yetton model allows you to choose between different levels of autocratic, consulting, or group decision-making styles.

    After you have reviewed the required background materials including Stanford(2007), Vroom (1976), and Rigolosi (2005), do some research on Sprint’s decision whether or not to purchase T-Mobile and think about what kind of answers you would give to the seven questions involved in the Vroom-Yetton model. Here are some articles on the rumored Sprint/T-Mobile merger to get you started:

    Gelles, D., & De La Merced, M. J. (2014, Jun 05). T-Mobile and Sprint zeroing in on merger. New York Times [ProQuest]

    Yao, D. (2014). Moody’s: Sprint/T-Mobile merger faces negative free cash flow until at least 2018. SNL Kagan Media & Communications Report [ProQuest]

    De La Merced, M. (2014, Aug 07). Sprint ends its attempt to purchase T-Mobile. International New York Times [ProQuest]

    Once you have finished your research on the Vroom-Yetton model and on the merger, write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following issues:

    1. Imagine you are Masayoshi Son and have to decide on which decision-making style to use. Go through the seven questions from the Vroom-Yetton model and give your answers based on what you think the main issues are in the decision of whether or not to purchase T-Mobile. Explain your reasoning behind each answer

    2. Go through the diagram in the Vroom-Yetton model and, based on your answers to the seven questions from Question 1, see what kind of decision-making style is recommended for Masayoshi Son. Use the diagram (Figure 6.2) on page 118 of Rigolosi (2005). Are you surprised by this answer? Is it the kind of decision-making style you would personally recommend based on your own research?

    3. Conclude your paper with a discussion of your own opinion as to the usefulness of the Vroom-Yetton model for choosing your decision-making style. Would you recommend that corporate executives receive training in this model? Is there any ways in which you think the model could be improved? Explain your reasoning.

    Assignment Expectations

    · Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions.

    · Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.

    · Make sure to cite readings from the background materials page. Rely primarily on the required background readings as your sources of information.

    · Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper , including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations.


  •  

    ASSIGNMENT 2 – Module 4 – SLP

    Leadership and Decision-Making Styles

    For this assignment think about a specific decision that was made by your supervisor in the organization you currently work for or have worked for in the past. Review the background materials carefully on the Vroom-Yetton model and think about how this model applies to this decision that you experienced. Then write a 2- to 3-page paper applying the Vroom-Yetton model to this decision:

    1. Describe the decision that management had to make, and also whether their decision-making style was autocratic, consultative, or group-based. Explain your reasoning.

    2. Go through Vroom-Yetton’s seven questions and apply these questions to their diagram to see what decision-making style their model suggests. Briefly explain the reasoning behind your answers to the seven questions.

    3. Conclude your paper with a discussion of whether or not you would recommend this model to your supervisor and whether or not you were surprised by the recommendation given by this model regarding decision-making style.

    SLP Assignment Expectations

    · Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions.

    · Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.

    · Make sure to cite readings from the background materials page. Rely primarily on the required background readings as your sources of information.

    · Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper , including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations.

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    Module 4 – Outcomes

    Leadership and Decision-Making Styles

    · Module

    · Understand and apply the Vroom-Yetton model of leadership decision-making style.

    · Case

    · Understand and apply the Vroom-Yetton model of leadership decision-making style.

    · SLP

    · Apply the Vroom-Yetton model of leadership decision-making style to a situation in your workplace.

    · Discussion

    · Assess the credibility of information sources on the Vroom-Yetton model.

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