Looking back on a framework for thinking about group support systems

Dörfler, Viktor; Kilgour, D. Marc and Eden, Colin, eds. (2021) Looking back on a framework for thinking about group support systems. In: Handbook of Group Decision and Negotiation. Living reference works (2nd). Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland. ISBN 978-3-030-12051-1

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Abstract

This chapter is an update to the thinking framework for Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) proposed by Colin Eden 30 years ago. As the source paper, this chapter is a personal take on the topic, however it is a personal take rooted in substantial experience in the broad area of decision making and modelling and in some specific narrow areas of decision support. There have been major developments in the broad context surrounding GDSS, including the improved understanding of decisions on the conceptual side, and many aspects of computer development, such as artificial intelligence and big data on the technical side. Considering the volume of these changes it is surprising how much the observations, arguments and conclusions offered in the source paper are still valid today. The most important component of any GDSS is still the facilitator, and the most valuable ingredients of the GDSS process are the participants’ intuitions, creativity, opinions, arguments, agendas, personalities, networks. The outcome of the GDSS process is only valuable if it is politically feasible. Today we have a better understanding of transitional objects and their role in the GDSS process; their significance is the second after the facilitator. Artificial intelligence can be useful for GDSS in several different ways, but it cannot replace the facilitator.