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Decision Making Styles: Directive, Analytical, Conceptual and Behavioral

  • 0:05 Decision Making
  • 0:57 Directive
  • 2:06 Conceptual
  • 3:03 Analytical
  • 3:54 Behavioral
  • 4:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Every leader prefers a different way to contemplate a decision. The four styles of decision making are directive, analytical, conceptual and behavioral. Each style is a different method of weighing alternatives and examining solutions.

Decision Making

Employees approach decision making in many different ways. Decision making is the selection of a procedure to weigh alternatives and find a solution to a problem. In addition, certain situations will require different approaches of decision making in order to be effective.

To look at these decision making styles, let's follow the four real estate vice-presidents of Hearts Development, who have been given the task of finding a solution to a huge corporate problem. Each of the vice-presidents has a very different style in decision making, which consist of directive, conceptual, analytical and behavioral options. The firm has acquired a massive amount of undeveloped land right outside New York City. A decision has to be made regarding what the firm should build on the undeveloped land. Let's first take a look at John Dirt to see how he will approach the problem.


John Dirt is the most senior vice-president at Hearts Development firm. He prefers to make decisions using a directive style. This form of decision making relies on a rational and autocratic style that results in the employee using his own knowledge, experience and judgment to choose the best alternative. This type of leader is very rational, but thinks mostly about the short-term. John believes that a shopping mall is the best type of development for the land. He is going to present this decision to the CEO, based on the fact that he believes this is the best solution. He has built malls in the past, and will not consider any other options.

The biggest issue in this style of decision making is that rarely does the leader have all of the pertinent information to make an effective decision. John does not realize that if he had to ask for outside opinions, he would have discovered that one of their biggest competitors is also considering a mall nearby. This would have a drastic effect on the overall real estate revenue. Susie Steel is the only female vice-president on the team and her decision-making style is very different from John.


Susie Steel prefers to use the conceptual style of decision making in her job. She is more concerned with long-term results, brainstorming of alternatives, creative approaches to problem solving and taking higher risks. Susie gathered her team together and presented the issue of the undeveloped land scenario. She gave the team all of the key information she had acquired during her research.

Susie and her team spent the day brainstorming different alternatives for the plot of land and evaluated each one. No idea was eliminated, and the team decided to choose a higher-risk plan, which could result in a financial windfall for the company. Susie and her team will propose an amusement park based on a Mafia theme. The team made conceptual sketches of the Mob Hit Roller Coaster and the Cement Block Slides. Susie's coworker Arthur Numbers felt her idea was ridiculous, as there was not any data to support her risky decision.


Arthur Numbers is an extremely detail-oriented vice-president who depends on analytical decision making. He preferred to use direct observations, facts and data to determine the best outcome. The only issue Arthur faced using this style was that it was time consuming, since he looked at every possible alternative.

Arthur researched the land and tried to survey the area to determine what exactly would benefit the area. His research was not complete by the time he presented to the CEO, but he was able to support his idea with facts. Arthur thought that a planned retirement community with a clubhouse and golf course was the best decision. He based this on data that showed an aging population and the need for retirement homes. The last vice-president utilized a type of decision making that focused on negotiation.

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