Decision-Making Style

Decision-Making Style

Activity: Decision-Making Style Assessment


This is an informal survey to look at one’s approach to making decisions. There are no right or wrong answers. As you think about how you make decisions, one or more of the categories will sound “right.” Assign the number values you think best represent your decision-making processes. Please don’t skip any items.


Each question has four possible responses. You may distribute five points over the four responses in whatever ways best suit your decision-making style. For example, in question one, if your approach to decision making emphasizes option a strongly, then you might assign a four to letter a. If to a lesser degree you tend to take one step at a time, then you might assign a one to letter d.

You may choose to distribute the points as follows:

  • I do this nearly all the time = 5
  • I do this frequently = 4
  • I do this more than half the time = 3
  • I do this infrequently or not at all = 0

When you assign less than a five to a given response, you then may assign the remaining number(s) to a second or third choice.

For example: A=3, B=0, C=2, D=0 A-4, B=1, C=0, D=0

When assigning numbers to choices, the total can never be more than five for each question.


1. My approach to decision making emphasizes:

a. _______ thinking about the decision, examining it from different perspectives, analyzing the alternatives, and selecting the most logical solution.

b. _______ looking beyond the facts to the broader picture, trusting my intuition in deciding what needs to be done.

c. _______ “getting in the middle of the decision,” finding out how I and others feel, and choosing an alternative that feels right and will be acceptable.

d. _______ taking one step at a time, relying on my past experience to guide me, and choosing an alternative which is pragmatic and down to earth.

2. As a decision-maker, I most value:

a. _______ flexibility.

b. _______ thorough analysis.

c. _______ diplomacy.

d. _______ decisiveness.

3. As a decision-maker in high-stress situations, I am most likely to get:

a. _______ so involved in the details that I lose sight of the big picture.

b. _______ carried away with new ideas to the extent that I ignore the immediate details.

c. _______ so involved in analyzing the decision that I fail to recognize interpersonal needs, my own and those of others.

d. _______ so enmeshed in my feelings, I may fail to think things through thoroughly.

4. When I’m making a tough decision I prefer working with:

a. _______ imaginative people.

b. _______ realistic people.

c. _______ intellectual people.

d. _______ friendly people.

5. As a decisio- maker, I tend to pay more attention to:

a. _______ logic.

b. _______ feelings.

c. _______ possibilities

d. _______ actions.

6. As a decision-maker, I’m more likely to be:

a. _______ quick.

b. _______ analytical.

c. _______ imaginative.

d. _______ emotional.


When scoring your responses, transfer the number you assigned for each question to the same letter below. For example, if on the first question you assigned a four to the letter d and a one to the letter a, it would look as follows:


1. d. ___4___ a. ___1___ b. _______ c. _______


Sequential Logical Global Personable

1. d. _______ a. _______ b. _______ c. _______

2. d. _______ b. _______ a. _______ c. _______

3. a. _______ c. _______ b. _______ d. _______

4. b. _______ c. _______ a. _______ d. _______

5. d. _______ a. _______ c. _______ b. _______

6. a. _______ b. _______ c. _______ d. _______

Total __________ __________ __________ __________

My dominant decision-making style is __________________________________

Based on this information what do you think is your boss’s dominant decision-making style? And how does that impact you?

Brief Descriptions of the Decision-Making Styles


Sequential decision makers need lots of specific information, the details of what’s being asked, instructions on the best way of doing things, evidence that particular procedures work best, and steps for doing the task correctly. The sequential decision maker might ask: “What are the steps? Who’s done this before? How do I know if I’m right? Where are the directions? What’s the end result supposed to look like?”


Logical decision makers want the specifics, but more than that they want reasons, defensible positions, and a clear understanding of the possible results of the different choices. They tend to balance off one set of choices in relationship to the others. They exercise objective and critical judgment in order to not make choices based on personal feelings. While they know no single choice is optimal, they try to make the best choices(s) from amongst the available options. The logical decision maker might ask: “Have we examined all the possibilities? Have we correctly defined the problem? Do we have enough evidence? Can we defend our choice(s) based on a critical analysis of all the data?”


Global decision makers want to explore all the possibilities. This process includes what exists as well as that which can be imagined. They need the specifics, but more than that they need a feeling of “fit,” of elegance, of an expanded and more inclusive view of what’s possible. They are not restrained so much by data as by exploring the possible. They feel the need to be more creative. Their decisions tend to be more inclusive and focused on what’s good for everyone. They think in images and express themselves artfully. The global decision maker might ask: “Isn’t there a better way? Have we explored all the possibilities? How can we visualize this? What new images need to be created? What’s an artful way to express this problem? What metaphors and visual devices do we need to express our decision-making processes and conclusions?”


Personable decision makers need lots of specific information, good problem definitions, and the sharing of other people’s experiences. But even more than that they need to explore their own and other people’s feelings about the decision(s) being faced. They look for ways to draw out their own and others’ values. They want the decision-making process to be collegial, cooperative, and sensitive to the individual’s needs. They decide best where the environment is relaxed, friendly, and supportive of individual needs. They need to talk extensively to make sure each person’s point-of-view has been expressed and heard. They need continual verbalizations of steps taken and conclusions drawn. They search for both consensus and a feeling of “group ownership” of process and conclusion. Personable decision makers might ask: “How do I feel about what I’m doing? Do I have all the specific facts as well as feelings? How does the process relate to my prior experience? Do I like (dislike) what’s happening? Is this a good decision for me as well as for others? Will this decision be difficult for others to understand and accept?” They tend to look for precedent, to benefit from the experience of others, to be somewhat precise about details and procedures, and to keep good records. Their approach tends to emphasize the practical and the doable.

Adapted from *Georgia Department of Education, Cox

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