Victor Vroom biography, theory and books

Victor Vroom - Toolshero

Victor Vroom (1932) is a professor emeritus of management and professor of psychology at the Yale School of Management. Victor Vroom is an expert in analyzing psychological behavior on leadership and decision making in organizations.

Victor Vroom biography

Victor was born and raised in Montreal in Canada and is the youngest of the two brothers he has. He was born during the Great Depression.

In that time, there was no guarantee for keeping a job, but his father managed to keep his employment at the Northern Electric Company, an electric supply and distribution company. He consequently was able to finance his brother’s education, who both graduated from McGill University but it was uncertain if he could finance his education in the future.

Free Toolshero ebook

Victor adores music since he was a child. Learning in school went easily for him, but he was not dedicated to pursuing his studies. In fact, Victor was passionate about playing various instruments his parents bought for him.

When he was about age 10, Victor Vroom received a clarinet from his mother, and later he also got a saxophone. His passion for music was ongoing. Vroom practiced his instruments for approximately ten hours per day, and if he did not play his instruments, he listened to his favorite music bands.

He played in a local dance band ‘Bleu Knights’ when he was fifteen years old. Together with the band members, who all went to college or almost had a successful career, he played at least two nights per week in numerous dance halls and nightclubs for about three years long.

In this time, Victor Vroom was quite naïve and his naivety made him thought that he could pursue a career in the music industry in the United States. However, he soon experienced the difficulties in obtaining a work permit or even finding a band that was seeking for a person like him, a seventeen-year-old boy who never lived away from home.

In 1949, Vroom’s father realized the lack of future planning by his son. For this reason, his father found a job as a teller at the Royal Bank of Canada for his son. Victor Vroom soon identified that he has more potential than only work as a teller in the bank.

As result of a former band member advise from the Blue Knights, he applied to Sir George College, which is now called Concordia University. Since his father early retired, he himself had to finance his education.

He participated in a vocational interest test which concluded that group musicians and psychologists were most in his interests, even though he had no clue what the concepts of psychology were all about. From this moment, Vroom spent more and more time into studying psychology.

His interests in learning were increasing. Victor Vroom later applied to McGill University, where he followed psychology classes from Donald Hebb, author of “The Organization of Behavior” (1949).

Victor next was elected to take a Master’s degree in psychology at McGill University and obtained his Master of Psychological Science in Industrial Psychology. He later followed a Ph.D. and got his major in social psychology at the University of Michigan.

His paper “Some Personality Determinants of the Effects of Participation” received an award from the Ford Foundation in their doctoral dissertation competition and would be published as a book by Prentice Hall.

During his Ph.D., Vroom’s teacher Norman Maier, author of “Psychology in Industry“, was invited to write a chapter on industrial social psychology for the 1960 Annual Review of Psychology but he was unable to deliver the result due to his busy schedule. Consequently, he wrote the entire paper and Norman Maier barely made adjustments, which consequently gave a boost to his career.

The development of the Expectancy Theory of Motivation

After his Ph.D., Victor started to work as a director in the Survey Research Center while simultaneously also work as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan for two years. During this time he personally created the Expectancy Theory of Motivation in 1964.

He later got offered to work for the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught introductory psychology, social psychology, and industrial psychology. In that time, Victor authored ‘Work and Motivation.

When his employment contract ended, Victor Vroom decided to teach at Carnegie Mellon University. In that time, top-ranked universities were not focused on psychology but more centered on business or management. In his class, he felt a strong intellectual association with two students, in particularly Edward Deci, with who he authored ‘Management and Motivation’.

In 1972, he left Carnegie Mellon University and started to work for Yale University, and within a few weeks, he was appointed to chair. In this period he developed a decision making theory, together with Phillip William Yetton.

However, five years later, he was diagnosed thought to be diagnosed with lung cancer, but afterwards, it seemed to be sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that can affect multiple areas of the body, including the lung, eyes, skin, and heart. Fortunately, the disease was treatable, and he is out of danger.

He currently still teach psychology and he is Director at The Chief Executive Leadership Institute, both at Yale University. He lives together with his wife Julia Francis in Guilford in the United Kingdom. They have two sons, named Tristan and Trevor.

During his spare time, Victor Vroom loves sailing, which he does since 1978.

Join the Toolshero community

Famous quotes

  1. “Motivation depends on how much we want something and how likely we think we are to get it.”

Books and Publications by Victor Vroom et al.

  • 2007. The role of the situation in leadership. American psychologist, 621, 17.
  • 2007. On the synergy between research and teaching. Journal of Management Education, 313, 365-375.
  • 2005. On the origins of expectancy theory. Great minds in management: The process of theory development, 239-258.
  • 2003. Educating managers for decision making and leadership. Management decision, 4110, 968-978.
  • 2000. Leadership and the decision-making process. Organizational dynamics, 284, 82-94.
  • 1995. Situation effects and levels of analysis in the study of leader participation. The Leadership Quarterly, 62, 169-181.
  • 1990. Manage people, not personnel: motivation and performance appraisal. Harvard Business Press.
  • 1989. Management and motivation. Penguin.
  • 1988. The new leadership: Managing participation in organizations. Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  • 1987. A new look at managerial decision making. pp. 365-383. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
  • 1984. Reflections on leadership and decision-making. Journal of General Management, 93, 18-36.
  • 1983. Leaders and leadership in academe. The Review of Higher Education, 64, 367-386.
  • 1980. An evaluation of two alternatives to the Vroom – Yetton normative model. Academy of Management Journal, 232, 347-355.
  • 1978. Predicting leader behavior from a measure of behavioral intent. Academy of Management Journal, 214, 715-721.
  • 1977. Hierarchical level and leadership style. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 181, 131-145.
  • 1976. Can leaders learn to lead?. Organizational Dynamics, 43, 17-28.
  • 1974. Perceptions of Leadership Style: Superior and Subordinate Descriptions of Decision-Making Behavior. No. TR-6. YALE UNIV NEW HAVEN CONN SCHOOL OF ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT.
  • 1974. Decision making as a social process: Normative and descriptive models of leader behavior. Decision sciences, 54, 743-769.
  • 1974. Decision making and the leadership process. Journal of Contemporary Business, 34, 47-64.
  • 1973. Leadership and decision making. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.
  • 1973. The productivity of work groups. Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.
  • 1973. Leadership and decision-making. Vol. 110. University of Pittsburgh Pre.
  • 1973. A new look at managerial decision making. Organizational dynamics.
  • 1972. An overview of work motivation. Reading in industrial and organizational psychology.—NY.
  • 1971. The stability of post-decision dissonance: A follow-up study of the job attitudes of business school graduates. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 61, 36-49.
  • 1971. Relationship between age and risk taking among managers. Journal of applied psychology, 555, 399.
  • 1970. The nature of the relationship between motivation and performance. Management and Motivation. Tennessee: Kingsport Press Inc.
  • 1969. The handbook of social psychology. The handbook of social psychology, 5.
  • 1969. The consequences of social interaction in group problem solving. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 41, 77-95.
  • 1969. Industrial social psychology. The handbook of social psychology, 5.
  • 1968. Toward a stochastic model of managerial careers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 26-46.
  • 1967. Methods of organizational research. University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • 1966. Organizational design and research: Approaches to organizational design. Vol. 66. University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • 1966. Organizational choice: A study of pre-and post decision processes. Organizational behavior and human performance, 12, 212-225.
  • 1966. A comparison of static and dynamic correlational methods in the study of organizations. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 11, 55-70.
  • 1966. Some observations regarding Herzberg’s two-factor theory. In American Psychological Association Convention, New York.
  • 1965. Motivation in management. American Foundation for Management Research.
  • 1964. Work and Motivation. John Willey & Sons.
  • 1964. Employee attitudes. The Frontiers of Management Psychology, New York: Harper & Row. Publishers, 127-43.
  • 1964. Some psychological aspects of organizational control. New perspectives in organizational research, 72-86.
  • 1964. Division of labor and performance under cooperative and competitive conditions. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 683, 313.
  • 1962. Ego‐involvement, job satisfaction, and job performance. Personnel psychology, 152, 159-177.
  • 1961. Industrial social psychology. Annual review of psychology, 121, 413-446.
  • 1960. The effects of attitudes on perception of organizational goals. Human Relations, 133, 229-240.
  • 1960. Leader authoritarianism and employee attitudes. Personnel psychology, 132, 125-140.
  • 1959. Some personality determinants of the effects of participation. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 593, 322.
  • 1959. Projection, negation, and the self-concept. Human relations, 124, 335-344.

How to cite this article:
Zeeman, A. (2018). Victor Vroom. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 05/21/2018 | Last update: 07/02/2024

Add a link to this page on your website:
<a href=””>Toolshero: Victor Vroom</a>

Did you find this article interesting?

Your rating is more than welcome or share this article via Social media!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Alexander Zeeman
Article by:

Alexander Zeeman

Alexander Zeeman is Content Manager at ToolsHero where he focuses on Content production, Content management and marketing. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business school. Currently, in his study, working on the development of various management competencies and improving operational business processes.


Leave a Reply