Types Of
Decision Making Styles


I have categorized a long list into four types of decision making styles to make it easier to get a sense of how they all relate to each other. These four types of decision making styles I have called:

  • Functional
  • Non-functional
  • Model-descriptive, and
  • Leadership styles

The functional ones

The useful styles are:

  • Flexible
  • Proactive
  • Deliberate

A flexible approach to decision making may mean that you not only have more alternatives but you also have different ways to gather information to make more informed choices.

Pro-active people are never afraid to make decisions. Firstly, they know that it may not be perfect. Secondly, it can still be effective even if it's not perfect. And thirdly, they're not afraid to make a new decision if the situation demands it.

A deliberate style means having a structured decision making process in place and making best use of it. Often they will make decisions before they need to, so that when the time arrives, the decision is already made and they are ready to take swift, effective action.

Non functional

As a standard way of going about things, these types of decision making styles will cause misery and upset. Of course, however, there are times when it may be appropriate to use one of these:

  • Spontaneous - little deliberation, only makes choices as they come up
  • Impulsive - very fast process, little consideration, very prone to making poor decisions
  • Procrastinating - endlessly putting off decisions, leads to many lost opportunities
  • Compliance - gives own power over to authority
  • Play it Safe - stays in own comfort zone, life is safe but can be very boring!
  • Fatalistic - 'whatever will be, will be'. Has no sense of freedom of choice

And these ones will just cause you trouble

  • Agony - agonising over the best choice, often leads to procrastination
  • Escape - may make different decisions, so as not to have to deal with the real issues
  • Avoidant - avoiding decisions often leads to more stress than making one, even if it's a wrong one!
  • Dependent - allows other people to make decisions. Ends up living other people's lives...

Have a look at decision making skills and decision making tips for the converse of these 'blunders'.


Model-descriptive types of decision making styles

  • Rational, analytical
  • Intuitive
  • Normative
  • Behavioral

These styles are more a description of the model being used then types of decision making styles. Rational, analytical models utilise a logical sequential process to reach a decision. Intuitive models use other than a rational approach.

The normative decision making is actually a description of how experts think humans should be making decisions. And behavioral decision making describes how humans actually make decisions.


Leadership style

Various types of decision making styles are used by leaders and the variation occurs in whether the leader makes a decision alone or includes the group, and to what extent the group is included. There's even a rational approach to deciding how this should be done. It's the Vroom-Jago decision model.

'How to' with style!

These are styles of decision making, but if you want to know how to make a decision...

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