Victor H. Vroom and Arthur G. Jago
Several scholarly disciplines share an interest in the decision-making pro-cess. On one hand, there are related fields of operations research and man-agement science, both concerned with how to improve the decisions which are made. Their models
of decision making, aimed at providing a rational basis for selecting among alternative courses of action, are termed normative or prescriptive models. On the other hand, there have been attempts by psy-chologists, sociologists, and political scientists to understand the decisions and choices that people do make. March and Simon (1958) were among the first
to suggest that an understanding of the decision-making process could be central to an understanding of the behavior of organizations—a point of view that was later amplified by Cyert and March (1963) in their behavioral theory of the firm. In this tradition, the
goal is understanding rather than improvement, and the models are descriptive rather than normative. Whether
the models are normative or descriptive, the common ingredient is a conception of decision making as an information-rocessing activity, frequently one which takes place within a single manager. Both sets of mod-els focus on the set of alternative decisions or problem solutions from which the choice is, or should be, made. The normative models are based on the consequences of choices among these alternatives, the descriptive models on the determinants of these choices.