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European research on group decision support systems : Introduction to the special issue

Ackermann, F. and de Vreede, G.J. (2001) European research on group decision support systems : Introduction to the special issue. Group Decision and Negotiation, 10 (1). pp. 1-4. ISSN 0926-2644

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Abstract

Group Decision Support Systems have been around for nearly two decades now, and have made considerable strides since the original systems back in the early 80's, being used in numerous organizations for a wealth of different purposes. As they have developed, through both laboratory experiments and field studies we have seen them used in different contexts,and situations and consequently have seen the development of a number of 'strands' or'directions' being taken. Initially these emphases could be detected in the origins of the work. For example, in the US, a large proportion has taken a fairly technical focus stemming from their development springing from Information Systems/Computer Science backgrounds - and due to the traditions of that academic community largely comprised positivist research. In Europe however, the emphasis has been more on taking a socio-political perspective and working in organizations and along with researchers adopting predominantly interpretivist methodologies. Neither of these is better than one another, both giving rise to interesting and useful insights, and enriching the field. Moreover, in the last few years we have seen the two 'schools' come together more, as each has taken on board particular aspects of the other - resulting in 'hybrids' that potentially outperform those systems developed in either tradition.