Research: Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS)
Background: As noted by Turban (2020), during the 1980s, researchers realized that computerized support to managerial decision making needed to be expanded to groups, because major organizational decisions are made by groups, such as executive committees and special task forces. The result was the creation of the group decision support systems methodology.
Reference: Sharda, R., Delen, Dursun, and Turban, E. (2020). Analytics, Data Science, & Artificial Intelligence: Systems for Decision Support. 11th Edition. By PEARSON Education. Inc.
Assignment: Go to pages 624 to 625 and familiarize yourself with the contents therein. Go ahead and define what GDSS means, mention the major characteristics and capabilities of a GDSS. In addition to this, go ahead and mention the two options for deploying GDSS technology and describe briefly one of them.
Your research paper should be at least 3 pages (800 words), double-spaced, have at least 4 APA references, and typed in an easy-to-read font in MS Word (other word processors are fine to use but save it in MS Word format). Your cover page should contain the following: Title, Student’s name, University’s name, Course name, Course number, Professor’s name, and Date.
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Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS)
During the 1980s, researchers realized that computerized support to managerial decision making needed to be expanded to groups, because major organizational decisions are made by groups, such as executive committees and special task forces. The result was the creation of the group decision support systems methodology.
A group decision support system (GDSS) is an interactive computer-based sys- tem that facilitates the solution of semistructured or unstructured problems by a group of decision makers. The goals of GDSS are to improve the productivity of decision-making meetings by speeding up the decision-making process and/or to increase the quality of the resulting decisions.
MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS AND CAPABILITIES OF A GDSS GDSS characteristics follow:
The first generation of GDSS was designed to support face-to-face meetings in a decision room. Today, support is provided mostly over the Web to virtual teams. A group can meet at the same time or at different times. GDSS is especially useful when controver- sial decisions have to be made (e.g., resource allocation, determining which individuals to lay off). GDSS applications require a facilitator for one physical place or a coordinator or leader for online virtual meetings.
GDSS can improve the decision-making process in various ways. For one, GDSS gen- erally provides structure to the meeting planning process, which keeps a group meeting on track, although some applications permit the group to use unstructured techniques and methods for idea generation. In addition, GDSS offers rapid and easy access to external and stored information needed for decision making. It also supports parallel processing of information and idea generation by participants and allows asynchronous computer discus- sion. GDSS makes possible larger group meetings that would otherwise be unmanageable; having a larger group means that more complete information, knowledge, and skills can be represented in the meeting. Finally, voting can be anonymous with instant results, and all information that passes through the system can be recorded for future analysis (producing organizational memory).
Over time, it became clear that supporting teams needed to be broader than GDSS has beed supported in a decision room. Furthermore, it became clear that what was really
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needed was support for virtual teams, both in different place/same time and different place/different time situations. Also, it became clear that teams needed indirect support in most decision-making cases (e.g., help in searching for information or in collaboration) rather than direct support for the decision-making process. Although GDSS expanded to virtual team support, it was unable to meet all the other needs. In addition, the traditional GDSS was designed to deal with contradictory decisions when conflicts were likely to arise. Thus, a new generation of GDSS that supports collaboration work was needed. As we will see later, products such as Stormboard provide those needs.
Characteristics of GDSS
There are two options for deploying GDSS technology: (1) in a special-purpose decision room and (2) as Internet-based groupware with client programs running wherever the group members are.
DECISION ROOMS The earliest GDSS was installed in expensive, customized, special- purpose facilities called decision rooms (or electronic meeting rooms) that had PCs and a large public screen at the front of each room. The original idea was that only executives and high-level managers would use the expensive facility. The software in an electronic meeting room usually ran over a local area network (LAN), and these rooms were fairly plush in their furnishings. Electronic meeting rooms were structured in different shapes and sizes. A common design was a room equipped with 12 to 30 networked PCs, usually recessed into the desktop (for better participant viewing). A server PC was attached to a large screen projection system and connected to the network to display the work at indi- vidual workstations and aggregated information from the facilitator’s workstation. Breakout rooms equipped with PCs connected to the server, in which small subgroups could consult, were sometimes located adjacent to the decision room. The output from the subgroups was able to be displayed on the large public screen. A few companies offered such rooms for a daily rent. Only a few upgraded rooms are still available today, usually for high rent.
INTERNET-BASED GROUPWARE Since the late 1990s, the most common approach to GSS and GDSS delivery has been to use an Internet-based groupware that allows group mem- bers to work from any location at any time (e.g., WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, IBM Connections, Microsoft Teams). This groupware often includes audio conferencing and videoconferencing. The availability of relatively inexpensive groupware, as described in Section 11.4, combined with the power and low cost of computers and the availability of mobile devices, makes this type of system very attractive.
Supporting the Entire Decision-Making Process
The process that was illustrated in Figure 11.1 can be supported by a variety of software products. In this section, we provide an example of one product, Stormboard, that sup- ports several aspects of that process.
Stormboardstormboard.com provides support for different brainstorming and group decision-making configurations. The following is the product’s sequence of activities:
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For a video, see youtube.com/watch?v=0buRzu4rhJs.