Behavioral Decision-Making Style: Definition, Examples, and Pros/Cons

What is Behavioral Decision Making?

The behavioral decision-making style emphasizes interpersonal relationships and the feelings of individuals involved in the decision-making process. Decision-makers in this style value collaboration and actively seek input from others.

They prioritize team cohesion and aim to create a positive work environment, considering the long-term impact of their decisions on relationships within the group. This approach relies on collective insights and past experiences of team members, fostering a sense of inclusivity and shared responsibility.

Behavioral decision-makers often use participatory management approaches and place high importance on understanding and accommodating the emotions and opinions of team members. Their flexible and intuitive thinking style allows them to adapt their decisions based on the specific circumstances and dynamics of the situation.

Pros of Behavioral Decision-Making

The behavioral style of decision-making has several advantages that can lead to effective and harmonious outcomes within a team or organization:

Strong Interpersonal Relationships

Behavioral decision-makers prioritize building and maintaining strong relationships among team members. This promotes trust and open communication, which can enhance teamwork and collaboration. When people feel valued and heard, they are more likely to work together effectively.

Related: Analytical Decision-Making Style

Inclusivity and Diverse Perspectives

This style encourages input and feedback from various team members. It values diversity of thought and backgrounds, leading to well-rounded decisions. When multiple perspectives are considered, it can result in more innovative solutions and better problem-solving.

Positive Work Environment

Managers who employ this decision style are focused on creating a positive and supportive work environment. This can improve morale, job satisfaction, and overall well-being among employees. When people feel comfortable and appreciated in their workplace, they tend to be more motivated and productive.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The flexible nature of this decision-making style allows for adaptability to different situations. It recognizes that not all decisions can follow a rigid process and that circumstances may require adjustments. This adaptability can lead to more agile responses to challenges.

Read More: 4 Styles of Decision Making

Reduced Conflict

By involving team members in the decision-making process and considering their feelings and opinions, behavioral decision-making can help prevent and resolve conflicts. When individuals feel their concerns are addressed, conflicts are less likely to escalate.

Cons of Behavioral Decision-Making Style

While the behavioral decision-making style offers several advantages, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks that should be considered:


One of the notable downsides of behavioral decision style is that it can be time-consuming. Seeking input and building consensus among team members may slow down the decision-making process, which can be impractical in situations requiring quick responses.

Read More: 7 Steps of Decision-Making Process in Management

Risk of Overemphasis on Relationships

In some cases, the emphasis on maintaining relationships and seeking consensus can lead to decisions being influenced more by personal feelings and relationships rather than objective criteria. This may result in suboptimal choices.

Difficulty in Decision Ownership

Behavioral decision-making can sometimes blur the lines of decision ownership. With many people involved in the process, it may be unclear who is ultimately responsible for the decision’s outcomes, which can lead to confusion or accountability issues.

Potential for Groupthink

The desire for harmony and agreement within a group can sometimes lead to groupthink, where dissenting opinions are suppressed or not considered. This can bury creativity and result in poor decisions.

Ineffectiveness in Crisis Situations

Behavioral decision-making may not be well-suited for high-pressure or crisis situations that demand swift and decisive action. In such cases, the need for consensus and extensive collaboration may hinder the organization’s ability to respond effectively.

Read More: 10 Importance of Decision-Making in the Organization

Examples of Behavioral Decision Making

The behavioral decision-making style, characterized by its focus on relationships and people’s feelings, finds applications both in the workplace and in various aspects of daily life. Here are five examples that illustrate this decision style:

Workplace Team Building:

In a corporate setting, when a team is formed to work on a project, behavioral decision-making comes into play. Team members gather to discuss project objectives, allocate tasks, and define communication channels. Everyone’s input is valued, fostering a sense of inclusivity and trust within the team.

This approach ensures that each team member feels heard and that their contributions matter. It builds connections among colleagues, leading to better collaboration and a more productive work environment.

Read More: 3 Approaches To Decision Making 

Family Decision on Relocation:

When a family decides to move to a new location, behavioral decision-making guides the process. Family members share their thoughts and concerns about the move, addressing issues such as school changes, job transitions, and lifestyle adjustments. The decision is made collectively with an emphasis on maintaining family harmony.

This decision style helps families navigate significant life changes by considering everyone’s feelings and perspectives. It minimizes potential conflicts and ensures that all family members are comfortable with the decision.

Community Volunteer Project:

In a community organization, volunteers come together to plan a project that benefits the neighborhood. They discuss project ideas, roles, and responsibilities while ensuring that the project aligns with the community’s values and needs.

Behavioral decision encourages community members to collaborate effectively. It ensures that the project reflects the shared values of the community, promoting a sense of unity and ownership.

Read More:  Pros and 6 Cons of MBO (Management by Objectives)

Roommates’ Household Rules:

When roommates decide on the rules and responsibilities in a shared living space, behavioral decision-making is evident. Roommates hold discussions about chores, quiet hours, and shared expenses, aiming to create a harmonious living environment.

This approach fosters understanding and cooperation among roommates. By considering each person’s preferences and needs, it helps prevent conflicts and maintains a peaceful living arrangement.

Nonprofit Board’s Fundraising Strategy:

In a nonprofit organization, the board convenes to determine the fundraising strategy for an upcoming campaign. Board members share their insights and perspectives, taking into account the organization’s mission and donors’ expectations.

Behavioral decision-making ensures that the board reaches a consensus on fundraising approaches that align with the organization’s values and goals. It promotes a sense of unity among board members, enhancing their commitment to the cause.

Read More: Management By Objectives (MBO)

Situations When Behavioral Decision-Making is Effective

The following are some situations when the behavioral decision-making style is effective in the workplace:

  • Team Collaboration: Behavioral decision-making thrives when teams work together to solve complex problems or make collective choices.
  • Conflict Resolution: It’s effective in resolving workplace conflicts by promoting open dialogue and finding common ground.
  • Employee Engagement: Seeking employee input on policies or improvements, boosts engagement and morale.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: It ensures decisions consider diverse perspectives, fostering an inclusive environment.
  • Change Management: During organizational changes, involving employees eases transitions and reduces resistance.
  • Well-being Programs: It prioritizes employees’ emotional needs when implementing well-being initiatives.
  • Performance Appraisals: Evaluations, facilitates constructive discussions for goal-setting and development.
  • Innovation Culture: It encourages creativity and innovation by valuing diverse ideas and experimentation.

Read Next: Workforce Diversity

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