If the decision were accepted, would it make an appreciable difference which course of action were adopted?
This question assesses the importance of the quality of the decision. According to Maier (1955, 1963), decision quality refers to the "objective or impersonal" aspects of the decision. There are many situations for which the nature of the solution is not all that critical. The leader should be indifferent among the possible solutions since their expected value is equal, provided that those responsible for carrying out the decision are committed to it. In situations where the nature of the solution may be critical, the need for a quality decision may be assessed in the following manner. First, a rough estimate of the number of employees, suppliers, customers, constituents, etc. who will be directly or indirectly impacted by the decision should be made. Second, the number of transactions and/or dollar volume involving the decision should be determined. Third, the anticipated length that the decision would be in effect must be considered. (Some decisions may be temporary in nature due to anticipated changes in the economy, business climate etc.) Forth, the financial consequences of the decision must not be ignored. Finally, the affect on other decisions should be assessed. If the quality of the decision is important and the answer to question_b (involving leader knowledge) is no then autocratic leadership styles are inappropriate according to the empirical research.
Does the Decision Maker have sufficient knowledge to make an informed decision?
This question assesses the extent to which the leader being analyzed possesses sufficient information/expertise to make a high quality decision on the leaders own. The most critical of resources is information. According to Kelley and Thibaut (1969) group decisions are likely to perform at the level of the leader when the problem is simple but may exceed the level of the leader when the answer to question_c (involving team knowledge) is yes and question_d (involving structure) is no.
Do team members have vital additional information relevant to the situation?
According to Vroom and Yetton (1973) this question is relevant only when the information available to the leader is deficient. It assess the extent to which team members, taken collectively, have the necessary information to generate a high quality decision. Necessary information for team members to generate high quality decisions includes the mission, vision, direction, and strategy of the organization as well as an understanding of the customers being served and the laws of the country(s) in with the organization operates. Before team members can be expected to contribute in the decision making process they must be given the necessary training and education so that a common language and a common set of tools can be used. According to Kelly and Thibaut (1969) the quality of the decision is likely to exceed the leader's when the answer to this question is yes and the answer to question_d is no.
Does the Decision Maker know exactly what information is needed, who possesses it and how to collect it?
The answer to this question is relevant in determining the efficiency of information collection activities. According to Shaw (1964) when the problem is complex, requiring the analysis of large amounts of information, it is more efficient to stimulate interaction between team members at a meeting, rather than to gather the information individually from each of them. This question also establishes the extent to which the problem is structured. According to Simon (1960) organizations typically have a process for handling specific problems. When these processes are known to the leader it would be inefficient to hold meetings for the purpose of interaction. This question is not relevant when the answer to question_e (involving group execution with out control) is yes.
Is acceptance of the decision by team members critical to effective implementation?
According to Ouchi (1981) a leadership style that focuses on consensus decision making can lead to dramatically higher productivity within a given context. This question is relevant, according to Maier (1970), only if the group is involved in the execution of the decision and the leader is unable to monitor behavior and reward or punish deviations. When acceptance of the decision is critical to effective implementation and the answer to question_f (involving the probability that the leader's decision will be accepted) is no, then autocratic leadership styles are inappropriate according to this model.
If the Decision Maker made the decision, is it certain that it would be accepted by team members?
This question assesses the prior probability that the leader's autocratic decision will receive acceptance. For leaders without a track record, French and Raven's (1959) legitimate power, expert power, and referent power, which allow leaders to "sell" decisions, should be analyzed. This question is relevant to the choice of method only where acceptance is required in order for the decision to be effectively implemented (question_e). It, in turn, determines whether participation in decision-making is necessary in order to attain that acceptance and the form of that participation (question_g - mutual interest).
Do team members share organizational goals in this situation?
According to Ouchi (l981) a style that focuses on a strong company philosophy is necessary for theory Z (participatory management). This question assesses the extent to which team members are motivated to attain the organizational goals as represented in the objectives explicit in the statement of the problem. Mair (1963) terms this "mutual interest" or the potential amount of trust that the leader can place in the team to solve the problem in the best interest of the organization rather than a subgroup. If the acceptance is critical, not assured by an autocratic decision, and if the group can be trusted, then use of any method other than total involvement in the decision-making process results in an unnecessary risk that the decision will not be fully accepted or receive the necessary commitment on the part of the group. "Total involvement" is a quality principle to empower employees at all levels to improve their outputs by coming together in new and flexible work structures to solve problems, improve processes and satisfy customers. Suppliers are also included. Because a group may agree on the common goal but disagree on the means of attaining it question_h (involving conflict) should be asked.
Is conflict among team members likely in preferred solutions?
According to Brown (1965) interaction among people tends to increase their similarity in attitudes and opinions. Members of a group with initially wide variance in individual judgments will tend to converge on a common position. This question determines the extent of participatory management. When conflict cannot be resolved through group meeting(s) it is necessary for the leader to make the decision rather than accepting and implementing the decision of the group.
Will the Decision Maker risk failure to gain efficiency?
Leadership style has been conceptualized in the organization literature (e.g. Cover and Slevin, 1988; Khandwalla, 1977; Miller, 1987 as comprising a number of factors including the management group's attitude towards risk. This question recognizes that a leader may not accept efficient methods when the perceived risk of failure exceeds a threshold. Select CF to indicate a threshold. On the Decision Maker CBT, select Yes to indicate risk insensitivity. Select No to indicate complete risk avoidance. The most efficient leadership style acceptable to the leader will appear on the report.
Is needed additional information to be found within the entire organization?
Is it feasible to collect additional information from out side the organization, prior to the need for a decision?
http://www.eskimo.com/~mighetto/lsquest.htm last update September 2, 1999.