Decision-Making Style Inventory

Starter Kit for up to 5 Participants
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The Decision-Making Style Inventory (DMI) is an assessment for management development training. It identifies one's preference for one of four decision-making styles and then helps individuals learn how to use their style to communicate most effectively with others.

Recent research into decision-making suggests that the most effective leaders are those who are able to adapt their decision-making style over time as their roles and responsibilities change. The Decision-Making Style Inventory is a proven, easy-to-understand way to assess decision-making style. It identifies a personal preference for one of four styles: systematic-internal, systematic-external, spontaneous-internal, or spontaneous-external.

What makes The Decision-Making Style Inventory different is that it doesn't measure who is smart or dumb, right or wrong. Rather, it's about how individuals differ in the way they gather information, organize, and then process it. The assessment is a powerful tool that has many applications, including leadership training, coaching, and performance appraisals.

How It Works

The assessment approaches decision-making style on a two dimensional scale that includes two structural styles and two processing styles. Structural style refers to how a person seeks, organizes, and weighs information. A person's structural style can be either "systematic" or "spontaneous." Processing style refers to how people make sense of information. A person's processing style can be either "internal" or "external."

Four very different decision-making styles result when the two dimensions are combined:

  • Systematic-Internal
  • Systematic-External
  • Spontaneous-Internal
  • Spontaneous-External

Uses and Applications

The Decision-Making Style Inventory can be used as a self-study tool, a standalone assessment, or as part of a larger training initiative.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define the four primary decision-making styles
  • Identify one's preferred style of decision making
  • Understand the strengths and liabilities of each style
  • Learn how to develop the ability to flex one's decision-making style

Theory and Development

Detailed research shows that success or failure with executive managers is in large part a function of their ability to change their decision-making styles as they progress in their careers. The Decision-Making Style Inventory provides individuals with an understanding of four unique and empirically validated decision-making styles that emerged from hundreds of interviews with people facing career choice decisions. The styles complement most traditional organization development styles such as the Campbell Leadership Descriptor and the Social Styles Profile.

Product Type
Assessment and Workbook

Time Required
Scoring: 20 minutes
Workshop: 1 to 3 hours


What to Order

Initial Rollout: You will need to order one facilitator package per trainer, plus one self assessment and one participant workbook for each individual learner. Purchasing all of the participant materials you need at one time may qualify you for quantity discounts that can save you money and simplify ordering.

Ongoing Training: Each time you administer the assessment, you will need to order a new self assessment and participant workbook for each individual. Quantity discounts begin at 50 units per order. Additional facilitator guides are also available for individual purchase if you have additional trainers or require a new copy.


William Coscarelli is a professor of Instructional Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the former co-director of the Hewlett-Packard World Wide Test Development Center. He has been elected president of the International Society for Performance Improvement and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology's Division for Instructional Development.