Group Decision Support Systems

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Introduction to GDSS
Group decision support systems (GDSS) are interactive, computer-based systems that facilitate solution of semi-structured and unstructured problems by a designated set of decision-makers working together as a group. A GDSS can assist groups, especially groups of managers, in analyzing problem situations and in performing group decision making tasks. GDSS include structured decision tools for tasks like brainstorming, commenting on ideas, and rating and ranking of alternatives GDSS is also known as Group Support Systems (GSS) or Computer Support Cooperative Work System (CSCW). It is a "silent partner" to improve the efficiency, reliability, and quality of group decisions in meetings. GDSS are in some ways hybrid systems or integrated systems combining (i) communication, (ii) computing, and (iii) decision support technologies to facilitate the formulation and solution of unstructured problems by a group of people. In short, GDSS is a computer-based system which supports groups of people and engages them in a common task through an interface of sharing environment. GDSS consists of (i) hardware, (ii) software, (iii) people, and (iv) procedures
Typical GDSS Meeting Characteristics:
* Organizational commitment/support
* Trained facilitators or may be user driven
* User training
* Anonymity
* Appropriate tasks
* Dedicated decision ro
Principal characteristics of a Dedicated Decision Room-based GDSS A Decision Room refers to the physical arrangement for using a Group DSS. In a single room, workstations are made available to participants. The objective in using a Decision Room is to enhance and improve the group's decision-making process.

Characteristics of a Decision Room include:

1) Each participant has a computer workstation
2) A leader (facilitator) coordinates the meeting
3) The room has a display screen that all participants can view 4) Computers are networked and client/server architecture is used 5) Specialized software is available to all participants

Typical GDSS Process:
1) Group Leader (and Facilitator?) select software, develop agenda 2) Participants meet (in decision room/Internet) and are given a task. 3) Participants generate ideas – brainstorm anonymously
4) Facilitator organize ideas into categories (different for user-driven software) 5) Discussion and prioritization – may involve ranking by some criteria and/or rating to the facilitators scale 6) Repeat Steps 3, 4, 5 as necessary

7) Reach decision
8) Recommend providing feedback on decision and results to all involved

GDSS Time/Place Environment:
Same-TimeSame-Place(Most widely used GDSS- computers with projectors, voting tools)| Same-TimeDifferent-Place(team room, tools, audio conferencing, screen sharing, chat)| Different-TimeSame-Place(audio/video conferencing, document sharing)| Different-TimeDifferent-Place(voice mail, email, bulletin boards)|

Unique advantages offered by GDSS
* Anonymity – drive out fear leading to better decisions from a diverse hierarchy of decision makers

* Parallel Communication – eliminate monopolizing providing increased participation, better decisions

* Automated record keeping – no need to take notes, they’re automatically recorded

* Ability for virtual meetings – only need hardware, software and people connected

* Portability - Can be set up to be portable… laptop

* Global Potential - People can be connected across the world

* No need for a computer guru – although some basic experience is a must

GDSS Experiences
The findings of case and field studies have assured the effectiveness of GDSS in practice. Field studies had consistently shown a positive result and nearly all "real world" users were extremely satisfied with GDSS applications. To sum up, the effectiveness of GDSS is ensured and it is agreed to be a powerful computer tool to improve the efficiency and...
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