A framework for thinking about group decision support systems (GDSS)

Eden, Colin (1992) A framework for thinking about group decision support systems (GDSS). Group Decision and Negotiation, 1 (3). pp. 199-218. ISSN 0926-2644

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Abstract

Strategic problem solving in organizations is a social process that disturbs established social rela- tionships. Maintaining a negotiated social order is crucial to political feasibility and to emotional commitment from the participants in relation to a solution package. However, Group Decision Support Systems that attend overly to managing social order risk "group think" through "bounded vision." This may be avoided if emotional commitment is also encouraged through participants experiencing the problem situation from multiple perspectives and in relation to alternative solu- tion strategies. Commitment depends upon both "means/ends rationality" and "procedural ratio- nality." This acknowledges the balance in providing support to a group with respect to the nego- tiation of social order, with the more traditional group decision support for socially negotiating order out of the problem situation. This article argues that effective Group Decision Support Sys- tems must attend to both aspects of creating order. OR modelling methods and the support that canbe provided by modern micro-computers offer a new way forward--models can be toys that a group can play with together, enabling them to create knowledge as well as use it.