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Contrasting single user and networked group decision support systems for strategy making

Ackermann, F. and Eden, C. (2001) Contrasting single user and networked group decision support systems for strategy making. Group Decision and Negotiation, 10 (1). pp. 47-66. ISSN 0926-2644

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Abstract

The use of computers to support group work - as a Group Decision Support System (GDSS) - on strategy making has grown over the last decade. Some GDSS's have a facilitator managing the computer with the group viewing a public screen displaying the debate, problem definition, and agreements of the group as it negotiates strategies. Others involve members of the group in the direct input of data that forms part of the problem definition - data that is then used by the group employing electronic voting and other organizing devices. This paper discusses a real case relating to an organization seeking to reach important agreements about its strategy. The case involved the top management team and over 50 senior managers. The organization used a facilitator driven GDSS for some of this work, and a networked system for other parts. Some of the meetings were video taped, some were observed through one-way mirrors, and all of the participants were interviewed about their reactions to the different systems. This paper reports on some of the significant contrasts between the two approaches.