It’s not my intention to give full information or an extensive discussion on every theory. This website is intended to be a starting point and the main difference with other websites is the visual representation of the theory, which I hope will help get to grips with the theory. There are also links it the bottom to get your further research started.
Decision Making Model
Tanya Arroba 1977
Arroba defines ‘style’ as “a way of approaching, responding to and acting in a decision-making situation” (Arroba, 1977, p. 150). Through empirical research, Arroba recognised that clients may use a different style of decision making depending on the situation they make the decision about. She recognises six specific styles:
- Hesitant: procrastination, hesitance and postponing my precede decision making
- Intuitive: inner feeling is an important factor in making choices
- Compliant: choices and decisions made in a passive way, dependent on others’ opinions and expectations but also self-imposed expectations
- ‘No thought’: these could be routine decisions and choices made with little or no thought. Choices can made through impulse too
- Emotional: choices and decisions are made on subjective feelings, rather than objective decisions
- Logical – selections and decisions are made in an objective way
Arroba recognises that these may not present themselves clearly segregated but that they may appear in clusters, or together. She recognised:
- Active – a cluster of logical and hesitant – recognising an element of extended personal time and effort expended in the process
- Passive – a cluster of emotional and intuitive – emphasising the intuitive. She recognised the ‘no thought’ style to associate with this group as well.
- Compliant’ appeared to be more separate.
From the illustration above, you can see that this is a useful way to categorise decision making but it’s not entirely clear how this can be used in our day to day practice. Let’s have a look to see how this can work
How can we use this in practice?
Watts et al. argue that Arroba’s findings can help determine what kind of help a client would need to mapping their assertions and what they say to one of the 6 decision making strategies and help them reflect on where they are and where their thoughts would fit in or come from (Watts et al., 1996, p.66).
In this sense, Arroba’s theory could be used through shared reflection with the client. It offers the opportunity to find out where their decision making is coming from for them and to get to know more about themselves and their decision making potential and style.
- Hesitant: procrastination, hesitance and postponing my precede decision making – what is their procrastination based on? What can you do to get around the procrastination that still fits in with their personality profile? Is there a hurdle causing the client to be hesitant?
- Intuitive: inner feeling is an important factor in making choices – Intuition is important, but what would the practical implications be if they went with their intuition? What would be the consequences for themselves and others around them? And how can they deal with those implications? What if their intuition proved to be wrong?
- Compliant: choices and decisions made in a passive way, dependent on others’ opinions and expectations but also self-imposed expectations – what are they compliant with? Where does the idea that they need to fall in line come from? How could you challenge the client’s sense that they need to follow someone else’s idea for them, if appropriate?
- ‘No thought’: these could be routine decisions and choices made with little or no thought. Choices can made through impulse too – You could bring routine decisions out in the open with the client and analyse them if and when needed. What is behind the impulse they make the decision on? What would the consequences be of their impulsive decision making and planning?
- Emotional: choices and decisions are made on subjective feelings, rather than objective decisions – What could the logical implications and consequences be of their emotional decision making? You could support the client investigate the logical sequence to ensure these don’t need to be taken into account.
- Logical – selections and decisions are made in an objective way – How do they feel about their logically made decision? Who would be involved in the consequences of their decision? Would they feel they had made a decision that didn’t take them, or the person they are, into account after a while?
You can see that this is a good tool for reflection and exploration with the client.
I mentioned already that this would be a useful theory to use with clients for targeted reflection and analysis. How good is it generally, though? Let’s see which questions can be asked to test this.
- First of all, is this theory broad enough so you can use it with everyone? Which clients would it be difficult to use with, if any?
- Do the six categories in your mind offer an all encompassing view of the different decision making strategies?
- Have a look at other decision making theories on this and other sites. How does it compare?
- Did you find any other decision making theories that stand on their own? In relation to that, would this theory be enough to use by itself? Or is this a tool to use alongside another model or theory?
- What would you do with the reflection or analysis with the client? Would this theory have the answer? Or would you need to apply something else alongside, instead or in succession to make this theory work to its conclusion?
References and further reading:
- Arroba, T. (1977). Styles of decision making and their use: An empirical study. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 5(2), 149–158
- Watts, A.G., (1996B) ‘Careers Guidance And Public Policy’ In Watts, A.G., Law, B, Killeen, J., Kidd, J., Hawthorn, J., (1996) Rethinking Careers Education And Guidance: London, Routledge