One of the most important leadership behaviours involves employees in managerial decision making. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago (VYJ) participation model, developed by leadership experts Victor Vroom and Philip Yetton, and later modified by Vroom and Arthur G. Jago, provides a set of rules for employee participation in decision-making. Table 7 summarizes five decision-making styles for a "group-related problem." They include two autocratic styles (AI and All), two consultative styles (CI and CII), and one group style (GII). Vroom and Jago provide five slightly different styles for problems involving only the leader and one other group member, that is, "individual problems." These five styles reflect that leaders are not just participative or autocratic, but act in different ways in getting employee involvement.
Which style to use depends on eight different situational characteristics related to the problem itself or the problem's impact on subordinates. These characteristics are depicted in the form of eight questions the leader answers. Depicted graphically, the eight questions form a flowchart or "decision tree," like the one shown in Figure 12. To use the decision tree, start at the left and answer the first question. The answer determines whether you take the top or bottom branch on the tree to the next question. Follow through until all relevant questions have been answered, and the most appropriate decision style to use will be indicated.
Vroom and Jago indicate that four different decision trees are appropriate: one for groups with time pressures, one for group problems with no time pressure, one for individual problems with time pressure, and one for individual problems with no time pressure. Figure 12, for example, shows a decision tree for a group problem with time pressures, used for determining how much participation the work group should have. General Electric's Jack Welch described how his leadership team, under time pressure, went into GE's failing appliance complex in Louisville, and got the employees - management and union alike - involved in solving its problems. This CII and ŃII approach was required because the problem was important and unstructured, employees had much of the needed information upper management did not have, and employee acceptance was essential if the effort was to be successful.
Although the participation model appears complicated at first to many managers and students, its principles are very simple. First, analyze the situation according to eight important variables, and then apply the best of five different levels of participation. The questions and variables reflect good common sense. For example, if you do not have the necessary information to make a decision, it makes no sense to use an autocratic style. In general, the model provides an excellent guide for determining employees' involvement levels in decisions. To help managers use the model, its authors have developed a computer program to facilitate answering the questions and generating a style. This program gives managers feedback about which styles they tend to use so that they can modify their behaviour to make more effective decisions. Research provides strong support for the validity of the model in enhancing the quality and acceptance of decisions.
1. Which of these statements expresses the main idea of the text?
a) The Vroom-Yetton-Jago participation model provides five decision-making styles for a "group-related problem."
b) To choose the most appropriate decision style, the leader answers eight questions depicted graphically, which form a flowchart or “decision tree.”
c) Vroom and Jago suggested four different decision trees.
d) Research provides strong support for the validity of the model in enhancing the quality and acceptance of decisions.
3. Are these statements true or false? Correct the false ones.
a) The Vroom-Yetton-Jago participation model provides a set of rules for top managers’ participation in decision-making.
b) Decision-making styles for a "group-related problem" include two autocratic styles, two consultative styles, and two group styles.
c) Eight different situational characteristics connected with the problem itself or the problem's impact on subordinates determine which style to use.
d) After all questions of the decision tree have been answered, the most suitable decision style to employ will be specified.
e) The employees at General Electric's failing appliance complex in Louisville did not take part in solving its problems because they did not have much of the needed information that upper management had.
f) The participation model seems difficult at first to many managers and students because its rules are very intricate.
g) If you do not have the needed information to make a decision, it is rational to employ an autocratic style.
h) A computer program gives managers comments about which styles they usually use so that they can change their behaviour to make more effective decisions.
4. Answer the questions.
a) How did Vroom and Jago modify the original participation model?
b) What procedure should be followed when using the decision tree?
c) What situations are four different decision trees designated for?
d) What are the main principles of the participation model?
e) What did Vroom and Jago do to help managers use the participation model?