When we look at decision making, the style used will also vary depending upon the nature of the situation and the decision that needs to be made.
There are four essential styles of decision making:
- Directive: The group leader solves the problem, using the information he possesses. He/she does not consult with anyone else nor seek information in any form. This style assumes that the leader has sufficient information to examine all the relevant options and make an effective decision, but that is rarely the case.
- Analytical: When the leader does not possess sufficient information to make an effective decision, they will need to obtain information or skill from others. They may not tell them what the problem is; normally, they simply asks for information. The leader then evaluates the information and makes the decision.
- Conceptual: The leader explains the situation to the group or individuals whom he provides with relevant information, and together they generate and evaluate many possible solutions. This style tends to be have a long-term perspective and, as a result, will be more creative and expansive in their approach entailing a higher level of risk for the long-term benefit of the organization.
- Behavioral: The leader explains the situation to the group or individuals and provides the relevant information. Together they attempt to reconcile differences and negotiate a solution that is acceptable to all parties. The leader may consult with others before the meeting in order to prepare his case and generate alternative decisions that are acceptable to them.
While decision-making styles can depend on the situation, according to behavioralist Isabel Briggs Myers, a person's decision-making process depends to a significant degree on their cognitive style. For example, a manager who scored near the thinking, extroversion, sensing, and judgment ends of the dimensions would tend to have a logical, analytical, objective, critical, and empirical decision-making style.