Decision Making

Decision Making

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Assess the value of Vroom and Yetton’s ideas to the understanding of the decision making process

The prescriptive model developed by Vroom & Yetton provides a systematic rational approach to the decision making process. It considers important factors dealing with the decision’s quality in terms of anticipated outcomes and the level of acceptance of these decisions when disseminated within the organization. The model is simplistic and narrows down the decision making process depending on the problem whether it’s a group or individual problems into 7 situations were managers can adapt their leadership style depending on the situation at hand and the timeline provided.

Vroom & Yetton model also provides insights on how managers should amend their decision making processes when conducting business internationally. Depending on the culture, the context managers can adapt their styles to fit that context. For an Arab manager who is used to an autocratic management style, he/she would have to amend his/her style to fit an organization operating in the US or UK. Similarly, UK managers should amend their decision making criteria and take into account the time factors when conducting business in Brazil as decisions are made at a faster pace.

Hickson & Pugh demonstrate similarities and relevance to the above model in their analysis of management styles around the world. In the primary elements that issue of authority and power distance among nations is directly linked with the decision making process in terms of who participates in the decision making process and how well is the decision accepted within the organization. In western industrialized nations such as the US and Northern Europe, the power distance is considered to be low and subordinates do participate in the decision making process. If we take a closer look at the prescriptive model, we can clearly see a similarity of this management style and decision making to a Type CII or even GII.

On the other side of the globe we can find nations with high power distance such as the Asian, Arab & East European nations were decision are made at the top of the hierarchy and is brought down within the organization with little if no involvement by the subordinates. Such style corresponds with an AI and maybe AII management as described by Vroom & Yetton.

Based on my understanding of the Management Worldwide Book, I have derived the table below which evaluates the type of management/leadership in each region or culture using the questioning methodology developed by Vroom & Yetton.

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For simplification purposes I have omitted the GI & D as I believe that the GII includes this type. With regards to the D type there are hardly any organizations where the leader is not involved in the decision making, of course the original model does not reflect an overall policy in the decision making process, however to get my point through I simplified the analysis. Each question was given a weigh ranging from 1 to 3 depending on how relevant that point was to each specific culture. The scores are added up and final scores are linked to the types identified in the model.

Relevant Neutral Irrelevant
3 2 1

Decision Information Problem Acceptance Acceptance Subordinate Subordinate Total
Quality Sufficiency Structure Importance Probability Commitment Conflict Score
Anglos R N N R R I N 16
Latins - South America I I I N N N I 10
Latins - Europe R N N N N I I 13
Northern European R R R R R N N 19
East Central Europeans N R N I I N I 12
Asians N N I I I I R 11
Arabs N I I I I N N 10
Developing Countries I I I N I N I 9

A I A II C I C II G II
Score Range 7 to 10 10 to 13 13 to 16 16 to 19 19 to 21

The way Hickson & Pugh portray the element of managing relationships among cultures also is directly linked to the table above, in cultures where there are high familism we note that a Type AI, the more impersonal and low familism we note a tend more to the CI or CII type.

The model addresses the effects of the level of certainty of the situation when decisions are to be made. In Anglo cultures, it is becoming more of a custom to deal with situations of high uncertainty as managers tend to be more risk averse and are tolerant with risk. If we link that to the information sufficiency criteria we note Anglos give less weight on the availability of information to take decisions, whereas if we move a Northern European country such as Germany we see that decisions consume a lot of time in collecting information to try to reduce the riskiness of the decisions. Equally, the structure of the problem and the decision quality are linked as well to the riskiness of the decision. In risk averse nations such as Japan or Germany we find greater emphasis on having the problems structured and achieving optimal decisions. The more structured the problem is the quicker the decision is made as communication channels and rules and procedures are in place and the decision quality is anticipated. Unstructured problems are dealt with in a very slow manner and decisions take longer to be made as additional information is required to reach to a quality solution. On the other hand, nations such as Brazil, the structure of a problem is irrelevant to the decision making process. One of the points that are not mentioned in the Management Worldwide book that explains why decisions are made at a fast pace in such nations relates to hyperinflation. In such economic conditions, slow decisions would result in diminishing the value of a transaction due to the turbulent inflation situation.

When it comes to subordinate acceptance and the probability of the subordinates to comply with the decisions made by the senior management, we can clearly see how the Vroom & Yetton model works among different nations. For example, nations in Northern Europe tend to involve their subordinates in the decision making process as they believe in collective thought not to mention the technical insights the subordinates possess. We can clearly see a type CII and even GII in the decision making process. Moving to the other side of the globe in countries such as China or Japan, subordinate acceptance and probability is a given due to the Confucius imprint on cultural value that dictates the respect of the senior’s authority, therefore little weight is given to this criteria. This is reinforced by the table above conclusion that the management approach to decision making is more of an AI or AII type.
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